‘I’m 10 years older, and 20 pounds heavier. I carry tweezers in my car to pluck chin hairs. I still have acne. And I refuse to apologize for it.’

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“I’m 10 years older, and also 10…orrrrrrrr 20 pounds heavier.

I have wrinkles now. I have sun spots and age spots and scars.

I have more supportive, more practical under-garments. They’re made from cotton and special magic materials that smooth back fat.

My jeans are higher-waisted, and not because that’s what’s in style, but because my love handles do not love hanging over the edges of my pants like a cake pouring over the edges of a pan.

I found my first gray hair. And then my second gray hair. Followed quickly by my fourth and my fifth and my fiftieth.

I carry tweezers in my car in case I need to pluck a chin hair.

I don’t lay out in the sun anymore. In fact, I straight-up hide from it. I shield and sunscreen and dodge it like Taylor Swift sneaking away from the paparazzi.

I still have acne. That hasn’t changed. Awesome. Super cool. That seems totally fair, God.

So yeah, I’m 10 years older.

And I refuse to apologize for it. In fact, I openly embrace it with widespread arms and a happy heart, because I did what we are supposed to do as humans — I aged.

I changed.
I evolved.

I friggin learned.

I learned to love myself. I learned not to compare. I learned to compete, but not with the girl standing next to me, but with the girl I used to be.

I learned that to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.

I learned that it’s okay to get rid of things that don’t fit you anymore, whether that be a pair of Seven skinny jeans, or a relationship that’s run its course.

I learned to love my family. I learned to cling to Jesus.

I learned that prayer doesn’t have to be fancy, or in the right words, and it probably shouldn’t come from someone else’s heart, but that it should always come from mine.

I learned that time is valuable, and that the next meeting isn’t a given. Today is a treasure and it deserves to be treasured. Give the hug. Say the nice things. Answer the text. Squeeze in coffee. Schedule a vacation. Say “I love you” out loud and often.

I learned to go to bed grateful, and to wake up believing that anything is possible.

I learned to go for it, because why the hell not?

I learned not to be scared of being myself, but to be scared of missing out because of insecurity.

I learned that I’m okay if someone doesn’t like me, but I’m not okay if I don’t like myself. I learned that I don’t have to be everything to everyone and that we all need a massive amount of grace to get through.

I learned that worry doesn’t change anything, except my level of energy, and the amount of room I have in my head for happy thoughts.

I learned that hard things don’t have to harden you, and they usually become the very foundation on which you will build your house. I learned that I can survive, and that the sun is always shining behind the clouds, no matter what it looks like on the ground.

I learned that strong women stumble, and even stronger women ask for help when they need it.

I learned that joy is mine for the taking, but it takes effort to reach up from the mud and the murk and the mess and take it.

I learned that education doesn’t stop with a diploma, and the best thing you can ever do for the world is to be exceptionally kind to your neighbor.

I learned not to be afraid of the light in me, but instead to let it shine like mad crazy in this dark world, and that there’s no need to apologize for it.

I learned that those aren’t laugh lines on my cheeks. Those are the marks of a million moments of pure joy that deserve to be appreciated. I learned that those aren’t wrinkles on my forehead. Those are the marks of a girl becoming a confident woman and that it’s okay to show them off. I learned that those aren’t stretch marks on my stomach. Those are the wounds of a constant worrier becoming a warrior and bringing life into this world, and that they don’t have to be hidden.

So yes, I’m 10 years older.

I’m also wiser.
I’m also tougher.
I’m also gentler.
I’m also more humble.
I’m also more sure.
I’m also more steady.
I’m also more secure.
I’m also more free.

And I am thankful for the girl I was 10 years ago. I am in love the girl I am today. And I am hopeful for the girl I will be 10 years from now.

Jesus has me right where He wants me, and I celebrate in that victory, and every victory it took to get me here.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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