As a health coach deeply immersed in the intricacies of natural health, I’ve often pondered society’s fixation on youthful appearances. From a tender age, my perception of aging has always diverged from the mainstream. I remember being 8 or 9, captivated by the older individuals around me. Their wrinkles and lines were not signs of degeneration; they were stories etched with years of experience and wisdom. I would catch snippets of their conversations and tales from different eras, and found myself daydreaming about the wealth of knowledge and insight that would come with growing older.

To my young mind, age was a privilege. I wondered why some people lived much longer than others, and growing older seemed like an adventure. I imagined I would become more interesting as I aged, just like the older adults I admired. I looked forward to getting older as I watched myself and those around me mature. Growing up as a Gen Xer, I was bombarded with images and messages that glorified youth and shunned aging. I vividly remember the Oil of Olay commercials that promised to ward off the dreaded wrinkles. To me, these advertisements seemed strange. Why were we so afraid of something as natural and inevitable as aging?

Aging is not something to be feared, but rather embraced. It is a journey that enriches our lives with depth and character. Each wrinkle is a testament to our life, the heartbreak and pain we have overcome, and the wisdom we have gained. I prefer to embrace this aging process, always encouraging myself to see the unique beauty in every stage of life.

Recently, my thoughts on aging have been profoundly influenced by my 92-year-old grandmother. She has lived independently for as long as I can remember, but due to some mysterious neurological issues, she can no longer safely reside alone. The decision to move to an assisted living facility has been incredibly challenging. She has had to part with many of her material possessions, and losing her independence has been difficult. This transition is challenging; it feels like a societal admission of her ‘old age,’ a label she has always resisted.

Despite these setbacks, I am thrilled she will now live close to my mother and me back home in the desert. Being with her during this transition is an honor I hoped would be possible. I’ll cherish spending more time with her, learning from her resilience and strength as she navigates this new chapter.

As I continue aging, I find inspiration in the women who came before me. My grandmother and mother are forging a path I am proud to follow. At 51, I look in the mirror and love every wrinkle on my face. I feel more youthful, vital and alive than ever, knowing that age has nothing to do with it. I embrace who I am, celebrating my journey and finding beauty in every stage of life.

Let’s celebrate aging as the privilege it truly is. After all, the lines on our faces are not marks of time lost, but lives fully lived.

Stacey Michele Blackwell, owner of Barefoot Balance Holistic Health, is a certified health coach specializing in integrative nutrition, digestive and hormone health. She can be reached at (760) 401-1568 or through

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