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We might be in different stages of life, but don’t allow our differences to separate us.
No matter what age and stage, most of us have flaws we would prefer to hide, body image issues, and everyone eventually gets old. The life lessons I’m still learning at 70-something may be timely for you, too. Just in a different way.
Unlike my other articles, this one is not a plea for world peace (although it remains my primary passion), and it’s not about the healing power of nature, spreading love, opening our chakras, relationships, my scare with melanoma, spirituality, creativity, a kinder humanity, the pandemic, or the good parts about insomnia and tinnitus.
Silly as it may sound on the surface, this article is about the unwanted birth of an extra flap of skin on my neck cruelly dubbed by society as a “turkey neck.” It’s also about my continual journey toward self-love, inner peace, self-acceptance, and letting go.
Initially, my newest physical “attribute” pushed me over the edge. After all, I can barely tolerate the drooping changes of my other body parts—but because of its blatant visibility, I found it even more difficult to accept and tolerate this surprise.
In my opinion, it is the single most telltale sign that I’m not only aging, but I’m now in the “she’s very old” category. The nerve of life’s ebb and flow. I’ve arrived, and I’m not sure I like the destination.
You see, six months ago, I looked in the mirror, and there it was. My mother’s turkey neck was flapping on me now, and because I’m a realist, I knew that it would be a permanent part of my outward appearance from that day on.
It seemed to appear as quickly as an unexpected hair on my chin, but sadly, it couldn’t be plucked away to oblivion. Or could it?
I started researching possible solutions. I googled “how to get rid of a turkey neck” and discovered the world of facial exercises, weight loss tips, expensive neck lift surgery, Botox, ultrasound to lift and tighten skin (Ultherapy), Kybella injections, fat freezing (Coolsculpting), liposuction, radiofrequency micro-needling, fillers, and laser skin resurfacing.
After weighing the ease, possible side effects, and the price of each modality, I leaned toward Ultherapy, found the place and person to do it, and waited for their call to set up an initial consultation.
Here’s the kicker. The nurse called this morning to tell me that I’m past the age where it would be productive to try any nonsurgical or surgical procedures.
So, that’s that. Talk about rude awakenings.
This stage in my life feels similar to the clumsiness of puberty, middle school, being cut from a sports team, or not having a date to the prom, and, like many of those emotionally challenging threshold moments, if we are open enough, our internal struggle can ultimately push us toward a new level of self-understanding and personal growth.
My body image dilemma evolved into a higher message from the universe, and because an attitude adjustment was necessary, it may have been the only way to remind me about the value of self-acceptance, self-love, and letting go. To transform myself from inside-out, I needed to finally accept all parts of my aging process, wrinkles, age spots, shifting body parts, and yes, even this turkey neck.
When we write out our feelings, it often leads to increased mindfulness and self-healing, and this article has been no exception. I started out by sharing my tale of woe about my appearance from an outside-in approach, and the stimulus for writing this piece was initially directed by the deep hurt that ensued by being told that I was past my prime and I was too late for the party. It was also directed by sadness, shock, anger, and the mourning of my youth.
The good news is that it wound up evolving into a growth experience, and the rejection that I initially felt shifted to a new level of inner peace and a renewed commitment to honor my body “as is.”
Miraculously, my negative lens has permanently shifted to a positive one. In fact, I think the playful part of me may even give my turkey neck a name and make her my friend. Every day when I look in the mirror with kinder eyes, I’ll say, “Hello beautiful. How about strutting out in the world and spreading the spirit of love to someone who needs it right now?
Whatever stage and age you’re in, please take these self-love and self-acceptance messages to heart:
>> Claim and name at least three qualities a day you like about yourself and flaunt them loud and proud.
>> Accept yourself exactly as you are.
>> Know that you are enough just for breathing and being.
>> Breathe in a continual state of gratefulness for all the big and small miracles of life.
>> Shoo away your inner critic and judge and fly them first class to another planet.
>> Embrace your strengths and find a silver lining to your limitations.
>> Flow with your aging process.
>> Always hold your head high and honor your innermost truth.
>> Accept the ebb and flow of life with grace.
>> Be kind to yourself.
>> Give yourself the gift of compassion and empathy.
>> Focus on what you like about yourself.
>> Once a month, write yourself a love letter.
>> Feel the joy in just being alive.
>> Don’t wait for the right time to actualize your dreams. The time is now.
>> Surrender to the timetable of the universe.
>> Let go.
>> Never be too old to tap into your playful inner child.
Nothing can take away your butterfly spirit. No matter what, stay strong, courageous, confident, and filled with starry-eyed dreams. Remember that other people may have it much worse than you do. Get out of your own way and take time in your day to send positive thoughts of light, love, and healing to every living being on this beautiful planet of ours.
Including and especially old people.
Most of all, whether you’re 20 or 99, love every inch of yourself from outside-in and inside-out.
For dessert, here are my favorite self-acceptance and self-love affirmations:
I am my breath. I am love. I am enough. I am.
I accept myself exactly as I am. I am beautiful.
I stand in my full power.
I stand in my light. I am proud of who I am.
From the book, Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity, and Dreams No Matter What.
A couple of photos of me:
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