Back in March of this year, I was digging around in one of the many bins I have containing fragments of my life. I’m a saver. Maybe it’s because I love to embrace the new while still appreciating the old. Our history is what has defined us. And yet, the aging of our bodies is something that’s especially difficult for women. It’s not easy to appreciate the new changes that come with age because we’re always lamenting the way we once looked.
Once day, while feeling especially nostalgic, I came across one of my old photography assignments from college. Back in the days of Tri-X Pan film and darkrooms, I took a photography course with an assignment to create a self-portrait. It wasn’t a particularly good photo. It was a bit grainy and dark. But looking back at my freshman self, many decades ago, I realize it was a bit accurate. My life was a bit dark and grainy. I had no idea who I was or who I was going to be.
So I created a new self-portrait with the idea of embracing the change and showing who I really am now – some that is still evolving. And I challenged other women over 40 to do the same. To not look back wistfully but to look back and see how far they’ve come. I invited other women to create a self-portrait that showed who they really are and who they are proud to be today.
Celebrating Elizabeth Flora Ross
I’ve known Elizabeth since the early days of blogging as we grew online together. But we are kindred spirits in another way. We share the same birthday! On November 30th, we both celebrated – Elizabeth hitting a major milestone and me edging ever so close to the same milestone. Admittedly, it’s one that has me a bit frightened so I especially love hearing her perspective.
I share a birthday with Fadra, but this year I will be reaching a milestone a little bit ahead of her – the big 5-0. It is interesting; I vividly remember dreading 40, and even 30. Those milestones freaked me out, and even depressed me. But I have fully embraced and am excited to celebrate 50. I love being middle aged. Perhaps it is the sense of self-awareness and confidence one gains with age. Or the fact I am the most comfortable in my skin I have ever been. Regardless of the reason, I am ready to rock 50!
As my milestone birthday approached, I told my husband I wanted to take a trip, and that I would plan it. The first destination I thought of was Carmel-by-the-Sea. It is a place near and dear to my heart, filled with memories of loved ones and fabulous times. Visiting for the first time in over 20 years, I was overcome with emotion. Enjoyed a wonderful walk down memory lane, taking my husband and daughter along for the ride.
Since we were traveling all the way across the country from Florida, we decided to stay for two weeks and add Yosemite National Park to our itinerary. That is a destination I had not visited since I was a child. And watching the amazement and joy of my own daughter as she experienced the majestic beauty of the High Sierras was something I will always cherish. The trip was amazing, and the best present I have ever given myself.
Photography is my passion. I particularly love capturing nature. For now, as the homeschooling mom to an almost 10 year old, photography has been pushed a bit to the back burner. I take pictures when I can, and I have an Etsy shop where I sell prints. But I will have plenty of time once we are empty nesters to indulge my passion. Travel is definitely in the plans, too.
Turning 50 is not only a major milestone, it is an opportunity to reflect on where I have been, as well as where I want to go. And, most importantly, to celebrate where I am right now, in the present. I am excited to be turning 50. I love where I am in my life right now. I fully embrace my 50 trips around the sun!
Are you a woman over 40 looking for the inspiration to really look at yourself? I’d love to have you join me. Check out my inspiration to start the project and learn how you can get involved.