47 Years Of Thankful

 

47 Years Of Thankful…

I am 47 years old. Wow. I can feel every single year lived through the molecules in my blood and the marrow in my bones. I have 47 years of living each and every day as me. Every age… every stage… of this lifetime. Every single step I took toward something or someone. Every single step I took away. It’s funny how every memory is sewn right into the very fabric of who we are. It’s fascinating that my mind can sometimes flash open hard drives of childhood and adolescence and young adulthood, awakening parts and pieces of me that bring me back to that very day, that very moment, that very emotion.

It’s extraordinary how we age, isn’t it?

Today, I am going to celebrate the very art of aging. The true gift of living.

I stepped out of the shower and took a long hard look in the mirror. I gasped as I often do, at the lines, the grays, the bulges, and flaps. And as I got dressed and began to put my make up on, it occurred to me that every mark and mole, every ounce gained and elasticity lost, every sun speckled wrinkle and dimple has it’s time in my own timeline of hours gone by…

Filled with living.

My Eyes- Crow's feet
My blue eyes have seen 47 years. For 17,155 days, I have woken from sleep and opened them to see. I figure I have used them about 16 hours of every day, so my eyes have given me vision for 274,480 hours. I reflect on the majestic landscapes, the precious faces, the atrocities and the victories I have been witness to in my life every moment of each hour. I smiled and squinted and sobbed with these eyes. I marveled and raged and cheered wide-eyed with wonder and dismay. I have rolled them and winked them and stared deeply into someone else’s eyes to find new souls before me.

Wow.

  My Lines of Laughter

I am guessing I have probably laughed and smiled for a total of five hours every day, which means I have smiled for 85,775 hours in my lifetime. That big grin that contorts my face has seemingly been a fierce force of joy in my days. I think back on the most hilarious memories, the greatest stories lived and told, the entertainment and giggles from shows and jokes. The unforgiving goofy ways I have of cracking my own self up. Oh the laughter… it still lingers in those lines.

Wow.

Flabby Arms

 I have held babies and children, teens and adults in my arms roughly three hours a day, averaging the parenting of my babies into that as well. Three hours a day for 365 days for 47 years totals 51,465 hours my arms have wrapped around another soul. There is nothing sweeter than a full embrace of another. I have been the recipient and the giver of the most tremendous means to connect with someone in each of those hugs, those holds, those carries.

Wow.

Cellulite Leg

 I have walked and stood and moved with my legs for an estimated 10 hours a day, which means I have used my legs for 171,550 hours in my lifetime. These legs have moved me to new cities, up mountains, down streets winding through places new and old. They have bent and knelt and kicked and pushed through life’s vigorous waves of mobility. They transported me to serve and travel and push my babies in strollers for miles. With my freedom to move, I can accomplish anything.

Wow.

Grey Locks

 I was born with blonde hair that grows an average of 6 inches per year. My hair has been budding new strands with a length of 282 feet of locks to cut and groom. I have only given 10 of those inches away, and I pray there is a precious blonde out there that survived her need to wear it. What a gift it is to have what many merely wish for. A form of beauty and grace and identity, my locks have served me well.

Wow.

  Mother's Womb

I have grown two children in my womb and these gifts have filled 11 years of my life. I will assume 24 hours a day (moms, you get that right?), which means 96,360 hours I have reaped the reward of child bearing. My skin has stretched and molded into a mother’s belly leaving behind the remnants of what was created within. Threaded of worn bands that fail to keep it in place, it swells to remember what was once inside.

Wow.

  My Hips Bulging

My hips have shifted to fit those babes, and hormones have charged them wider… My hips have changed, and rearranged dramatically in my menopausal years of ending a season of womanhood and gathering grace for the next. The layers of years added on to my bone have slowly increased my girth. Expanding as never before, reminding me that I am more of a woman now than every before. Empty of parts, but full of residual physical traits that accentuate its splendor. I have been a woman every hour of every day for 47 years… Which means I have celebrated the unbelievably relentless and most extraordinary existence of my gender for 411,720 hours.

Wow.

 I don’t see my crow’s feet. I see the miracle of my vision.

I don’t see those laugh lines. I hear the laughter.

I don’t see these flabby arms. I feel the warm embraces lingering.

I don’t see the cellulite. I remember where these legs have taken me.

I don’t see the gray hair. I measure these locks to give again.

I don’t see the gut anymore. I cherish the vessel that gave me my babies.

I don’t see the bulges anymore, I realize the fierce and beautiful woman I am.

I will celebrate the undeniable blessing of being alive for 47 years, 17,155 days, 411,720 hours…

THIS is living deeply and deeply living.

47 Years Of Thankful…

47 Years Of Thankful

 How many years of thankful are you?  Cherish every year, day, hour.

 

Also linked up with these fabulous parties:  Pour Your Heart Out and A Little R and R Wednesdays and Thoughtful Thursdays!

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Comments

  1. says

    This has to be one of the most amazing posts I’ve ever read. You’ve taken aging and turned it into a beautiful experience. I love this! I’ll be thankful for 57 years this October. Happy upcoming Birthday to you. Have a great one!

  2. says

    Chris, I am 10 years behind you exactly and I need this reminder, because somedays I am not going to lie that I feel a bit down knowing I am getting older by the minute, but still you are so right that all that makes for an interesting tale and story – my story and I am so very proud of it and all I have done (well for the most part, but still). Thank my dear friend for that reminder indeed and from the bottom of my heart appreciate it!! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks so much Michelle! I have seen, felt, hugged, laughed, cried, and so much more. We all have lived deeply haven’t we? I’m just writing what we all experience…really. Some just appreciate it a bit more, I think. I figure we could ALL be a bit more grateful for what we got! 🙂

  3. says

    Oh friend, you are beautiful and inspiring. How you approach life and living and celebrating and birthdays – you remind me to focus on my blessings!

    • says

      It’s really amazingly powerful to dive deep and find SO much we can treasure in our lives- the days-the hours really. Those of us that are healthy and alive with all our parts- shouldn’t take any of it for granted, ya know? We are SO rich with life. Sometimes we just don’t see it, know it, or feel it. 🙂

  4. says

    As the amazing late Lauren Bacall said, “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

    And in your case, Chris, your whole life shows in every part of your amazing face and body. I love your positive, happy approach!

  5. says

    You are amazing , my friend! Want a wonderful, wise perspective on body image and aging – something I struggle with continually. You are absolutely beautiful inside and out. Wishing you a birthday that is as fabulous as you!

    • says

      AW!! Thank you SO much Lisa!!! I’m so grateful for YOU, my friend. I hope you can take this in for yourself. I so strongly believe we are as beautiful as the life we live. YOU are more beautiful than you know… <3

  6. Melissa Charlton says

    This post could not be more true of the human you are!! I have loved you for the last 8 years and the only photo you missed in the blog is one of your heart! In that picture you would see scars and healing. It would be larger than most because they say the more love you give the more you have.

    You are one of the most heart lead person I have ever known! The only reason I ever get upset with you is because you are so UN-selfish! You have lived an amazing 47 years and I am blessed you are MY friend. It is my belief God will say to you, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”

    Happy Birthday Pea!!

    • says

      I’m sorry, did you say you LOVE my pictures? My lovely little phone pics of my grossness? Did you just call me a beauty? I’ll take the words. LOL

      Thanks love. You are way WAY too kind!! I can applaud the life behind the bod. How’s that? 😉

  7. says

    You are beautiful And amazing, just like this post. Wow.
    Have a wonderful birthday my friend! May you add a lot more laughter to that smile of yours!

  8. says

    Well, happy birthday a couple days early!!
    I love the way you found the positives in each and every feature!!! You are beautiful!

    • says

      Well, I really need to look deeply at this stuff. I mean, wrinkles shminkles. Arm flaps, smarm shlaps. I don’t think it matters much when I look at the important things in life. I do however, need to take better care of this vessel. THAT is important! I’ve slacked. (Obviously!!) But for all the right reasons really. Priorities shifted. That’s okay. They’ll shift back soon. 🙂

  9. says

    WOW!

    I love how you did this. It’s fabulous. And so are you 😀

    (though as I want to be difficult, it’s alleged that each cell in our body is renewed periodically, so *really* you might only be about 7 years old in your oldest bits 😉 )

    Love you x

  10. says

    This is one of the best things I’ve ever read. If only more women would see themselves through those eyes…through those experiences…instead of through the lens of the media.

    Happy happy birthday! (Early because I won’t be near a computer on Monday.) May you have many more of the wonderful things that you listed here that made you the beautiful person you are today. I just stinking love you, that’s all.

    🙂
    XOXOXO

  11. says

    Happy birthday on Monday. I’m a few years older and it does pay to keep all the positives of aging in the forefront. Most of all — that I’ve been given 51 years. A lot haven’t. Thanks for the uplifting reminder.

    • says

      Exactly Jamie! “Some haven’t.” And I keep thinking of others who have, but don’t have all their physical capabilities to live as richly as I do. Lots of gratitude to be had, that’s for sure!!

  12. Candice says

    What a beautiful way to look at the inevitable aging process. Good for you! Have a wonderful day celebrating you!!! xoxoxo

  13. Christine says

    When I was younger, I would look at wrinkled, stooped married couples and think about how much I wanted Bryan and me to be like them someday. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I’d rather have the wisdom of an 80 year old but without the aging body bit.:).
    Aging is inevitable, unless one doesn’t get the chance. We absolutely need to embrace it and see it for what it is. You have written a fabulous post about how to do just that.
    Happy birthday you wise woman, you!

    • says

      “Aging is inevitable, unless one doesn’t get the chance. We absolutely need to embrace it and see it for what it is.” Yes this Christine. Exactly!! 🙂

    • says

      Ain’t that the truth Serins? Really- aging gratefully is the best way to go. How can we not be grateful for those lines that were cause by such a rich life? 🙂

  14. says

    I love you so much!
    And I love people born on the 25th! I’m July 25th so we’re ALMOST twins. Just off by a month and maybe a few years.
    All I see here is beauty, Chris.
    Just a little mad at distance that I couldn’t take birthday photos of you!

    • says

      AW!! *Maybe a few years* You’re so cute!! LOL And what I would GIVE for you to photograph me!! But I would be SO nervous… cause I am not at all photographic. I never look natural and I HATE that!! (Anxiety I’m sure)

      25th Birthdays rule. 😉

      I love YOU so much T. So so so so so so……

      Much.

  15. says

    Oh, wow Chris this post is just amazing!
    I love how you finish this post, from, “I don’t see the crow’s feet anymore. I see the miracle of my vision.” And onwards. Just wonderful.
    And the way you’ve worked out all those hours of smiling and laughing. Oh wow.
    I love, love it.
    I’ve had 56 years, but I can’t honestly say I was thankful for all of them – there was a time that I didn’t feel much thanks for life at all. I’m glad to say that’s not so now, and I feel thankful for the tough years too, because I did learn a lot from them.
    Such a great post Chris, I’m sharing it everywhere!

    • says

      Oh Yvonne! I’m SO glad you really get this post and can appreciate it!! Girl, 56 years? Holy hibiscus I had no idea! 🙂 YOU are beautiful my friend. And oh do I get those ‘fallen years’ that were dark and hard and well, lost. But you are SO right about them. Lets cherish them for the person we became through them, and embrace that we got HERE. Our bodies have lived a rich life, and perhaps we are all the more blessed because of it all.

    • says

      Thank you so much Sandy!!! 🙂 It’s been a ride… and I am going to make sure I cherish every hour of it. Even the tough times… this ol’ body got me through it all. And? I’m going to cherish it as I should. XOXO

    • says

      Exactly Kristi! We moan and groan over our parts that aren’t perfect, and really? They are put to amazing use every day. Why not cherish them? 🙂

  16. says

    A beautiful post…from a beautiful woman. Inside and out. Happy Birthday. May you experience no less18,250 more days of spreading encouragement and joy to others.

  17. says

    We just simply, flat out ADORE you Chris Carter!! You are THE BEST ever!! Hope that you have an amazing 47th year and continue to celebrate every single part of you that is awesome…p.s. that is all of you, by the way! What an excellent way to show your gratitude for being alive! Happy Birthday!-The Dose Girls

    • says

      LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!! Ain’t this the TRUTH? I mean, how blessed are we to live a life with ALL our parts and pieces and be able to have such abundant lives worthy of gratitude? I am so RICH! I will never look at these flaws the same way again… and I really really hope all women can look at their bodies this way. MWUAH!!!

  18. says

    Happy happy birthday friend! I’m so proud and impressed that you can see all of God’s gifts through your changing body. You’re an inspiration. Thank you for the reminder to see the good in ourselves.

    • says

      It really opened my eyes to something different… this new perspective is absolutely how I want to look at myself from now on!! We are blessed if we have all our parts and pieces to live abundantly, yes? 🙂

    • says

      I am bold, perhaps. Praying through my pride with this one! I mean, it took some nerve to post these pics, yes? Oh my… But hey, the message is SO WORTH IT. And I am blessed that it HIT me just in time to celebrate 47 years of living. 🙂 PS: I somehow caught the stomach flu and I puked all day, but hey- it’s still worth celebrating!

    • says

      I KNOW right??!!! Why don’t women look at their bodies like THIS? I know, I am totally guilty of not- I am on a new quest with this post. It hit me HARD and I need to not only OWN my body with the value that is holds, but CHERISH it for all the life I have been privileged to live! BIG difference, when we look at our ‘flaws’ that way. Somehow, they aren’t our flaws anymore. 🙂

      PS: Been praying for you BIG time. <3

  19. says

    Happy Birthday!! I’m right there with you.. and feeling the love of these words today. We have so much to be thankful for. I feel like I should plaster your final phrases up on wallpaper:)

    • says

      That’s not a bad idea Seana!! I need to do that too!! 🙂 We need the constant reminder… to grow old GRATEFULLY. I must always look past the flaws and deeper into the life behind them. Join me!! XO

  20. says

    BY FAR MY FAVORITE POST EVER!!! You are amazing! I just turned 40 this year; didn’t really mind but find myself being negative about my looks. This post is brilliant and I will look back on it frequently to remind myself if the strength this body has and the things it has done and seen. Ps I hope I look this great at 47!

    • says

      YAY!!! Oh Kerry, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE that you GET/GOT/GOING TO GET THIS!! LOLOL Girl, you of ALL people are blessed and use YOUR body to embrace SO much!!! Cherish every spick and spack of it!! (Not sure what those words really mean, but they’re kinda cute aren’t they?) And really? I mean COME ONE… you are absolutely drop dead gorgeous anyway. So there’s that. (Not that I should be focusing on the superficial beauty of things, oh dear I should NOT be doing that here!!) But you are…

      MWUAH!

  21. says

    Oh my! I wish every woman past 40 could read this! This was seriously an amazing ode to womanhood and the beauty that is gained throughout the years of it. 🙂

    • says

      Thanks so so much Brittnei!! I even think anyone at ANY age can embrace their bodies like this- because lets face it, no one is perfect and surely many women are so hard on themselves! If we could only see our body like this. It changes my perspective completely… but perhaps that comes with age too!

  22. says

    I can’t even begin to express how much I appreciate your honesty and pictures, Christine! You are awesome! I’m 45 and it seems like the last 3 years have aged me more physically than the 42 previous combined. I really needed to be reminded what my body does for me and not obsess over what’s looking back at me from the mirror. Love, love, love this. Thank you :)!

    • says

      Oh Candace!! I’m SO glad this post speaks to you!! YES YES YES! I get it. I get you. It’s so hard to look in the mirror and see how things are “changing”… but really? With this perspective, we can embrace every part because they have served us WELL. Thank you SO much for coming by and I pray you can believe and keep LIVING out your life focused on these things versus the ‘other stuff’. That is my intention for sure!! 🙂

    • says

      Brave YES! lol Well worth the humility to show these pictures in order to share this message, I think. How grateful I am and how grateful we can all be really. 🙂 Thanks so much love, for your beautiful encouragement!! XOXO

    • says

      AW! Thank you so much Kristi!!! There is surely aging going on, but I’ll take what it gave me!! And I’ll take 47 years more of it if I can get it!! XOXO

  23. says

    So. Completely. Amazing. You are so beautiful and I love every word you said. What an example you are to me and to all! Hope you had a spectacular day!! xox

    • says

      Thanks so much Leah!!! It was pretty bold of me to post these pictures!! BUT- I swear it just HIT me hard, and I felt it was worth the message here. XOXO

  24. Tammy says

    Oh Chris, this touched me in such a deep place! I am sitting here in tears and I don’t even know why. This was just so moving, touching the deepest part of my soul. I love your perspective. I love the pictures. I just love you.

    • says

      AW… Thanks so much WPB!! I’m SO glad it touched you so deeply… I really had that ‘aha’ moment, ya know? Oh, how we have so many hours to count in our incredibly BLESSED life- that is reflected in our flawed bodies. 🙂 It surely changes my perspective… I’m so glad God opened this insight to me!

    • says

      Thanks Shell. I didn’t actually- I puked all day. Sigh. But hey, it’s not really about that day but the year that passed. And I can surely say it was fabulous!

  25. says

    This was BEAUTIFUL, absolutely beautiful. I LOVE the way that you see your body now. And I love, love, LOVE that you are CELEBRATING your beautiful 47 years. Don’t you love that with our age has come the wisdom to love and celebrate life.

    Yes…this is indeed living deeply and deeply living.

    Happy belated birthday, my beautiful friend. xo

    Writing on the wall of life,
    ~Topaz (Celebrating 50 beautiful years)

    • says

      Oh Topaz!!! I’m SO glad you came by to read this one! I believe it’s one of my favorite posts… for obvious reasons! <3 I know you get this, my friend. Lets keep living deeply and deeply living, shall we? 🙂

  26. says

    How in the world am I just now seeing this? You seriously are amazing, courageous and inspirational!

    I just love you, Chris! Thanks for the gift of your words!

    • says

      AW!!! What a beautiful thing to say, Stacy!! I’m all teary… I adore you, and I’m so grateful for our friendship!! Thank you for reading this one. It’s one of my faves. <3

    • says

      Rusty, I’m so glad you came by to read this one! It really is one of my favorites, if I were to be honest. It’s really wonderful to connect with you, and I look forward to reading YOUR post!! 🙂

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