Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Like Fine Wine

[I don't want to come off as smug in this post, so I’ll start by saying there are a lot better people in the world than me, both older and younger. I’m not making any claims of perfection here, but rather, I’m talking about improvement.]

So...I’m very fortunate to have genes from my dad’s side that have always caused me to look young. It used to make me really angry that I could get into drive-in movies for being under 12 when I was actually 16; now I am of course thrilled that I look ten years younger than I am. 50 will do that to you.

A few years back I was really struggling with the whole middle-age thing. Rather than be thankful for looking 35, I wished I were 30. I really got pretty obsessive about it. There was some upside to that, in that I kept up exercising, watching my diet, and taking good care of my skin. But at the same time, that attitude really hurt my self-esteem. Because no matter what I did, I wasn’t going to make myself 30, nor stop the process that daily took me further from that age.

You may think part of my problem was that I write about sex for living, and in our culture, females aren’t usually considered to be sexy past the age of 40. Actually, my “I’m not young and sexy” phase preceded my taking up writing erotic romance fiction. In point of fact, my success with my writing was a large part of the cure.

I was doing something I enjoyed and had a talent for. I began to see myself in a new light. And in the years that have transpired, I’ve noticed more and more that there are things I give to the world that mean more than mere physical attractiveness ever could. You know what? That kinda makes a person feel sexy.

Last week my dear mom passed away after a long illness. For the memorial service my daughters and I prepared a little booklet that contained a written tribute and photos from Mom’s life. In reflecting upon what my mother gave to those around her over the years, I was reminded again of some of the lessons I’ve learned personally in the past three years. There is so much value to a woman’s being that is only enhanced by age.

When I compare myself now to the Diana at 30, I am amazed at the change. I’m so much stronger, so much wiser, so much more content, so much more capable. I would never in a million years trade all that for smoother skin. And I hope to continue to grow as a person so that someday when I pass to the next life, my family can be proud and grateful for who I was.

So, sex remains my specialty, but you see now why I look at it in so much deeper and broader terms than the physical. Physical beauty is a wonderful thing to be enjoyed and celebrated, but spiritual, mental, emotional beauty matter even more. And while physical beauty fades over time, these other sorts of beauty grow richer every day, every year. I’m sure as the years pass, rather than leaving the erotic behind as I age, I will understand it better and better.

And will certainly continue to blab about all I learn to you!

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