First of all, I am not 18 or even close. I am 50 "something" but when i was 17 - going down south meant going to Florida and when I was 18 going down south meant.....never mind.
And now? Well now it means my entire body is going down south and I am pretty sure I am slowly shrinking (which is disturbing given I am only 5'1" and I don't believe in "hemming" jeans however I do believe in taking a pair of scissors and cutting them crooked).
I use to look in the mirror and the reflection was average to good. Now I look in the mirror and hear my late, great, grandma Mary saying "OYE" (which is Yiddish for "Oye").
Do you want to hear the truth? Sure you do - here it is...
You look in the mirror. If you gained weight - you will look heavier. If you lost weight - you will look thinner. If you rarely sleep, you will have bags under your eyes. If you took too much sun you will have lines and freckles on your face. If you have smoked your whole life, you will have red vessels popping like veins and yellow teeth and bad breath.
If you took care of yourself and worked out and ate right and got your sleep - you may look good although lots of people who do all of the above actually look tired and spent and too thin.
If you have good genes and your 81 yr old mother looks like she is still 66 - well then you have it made.
The thing is - you look the way you look - your body is a result of the way you treat it and beyond that - there is the "gene thing" going and there are the various stress factors that life throws your way.
So how about focusing less on the physical stuff and focusing more on the fact that you have made it to middle age while many of your friends and family have not been so fortunate.
What are we middle aged women supposed to do?
Accept and love ourselves for who we truly are and all that we have accomplished - being a great life partner to your soul mate - being a great mom or step mom to your children - being a great dog or cat parent - making a living when it is so hard to do so out there - getting through the most painful experiences and the toughest of times because you persevered - taking care of your aging parents and being by their sides when they left this world - laughing your ass off at yourself - caring for a friend in their time of need without asking for anything in return -holding a door open for someone in back of you - letting someone switch lanes in front of you -
And if the pants that use to be loose are too tight - get another pair - if the bra that use to hold up your boobs no longer holds up our boobs - get another bra - if you have lines on your face or bags under your eyes - get out the Preparation H and start rubbing - if your hair is turning gray - go pink or green - that's right - be a rebel - if you are a nervous wreck obsessing over everything and unable to relax - have a glass of wine or two - read a book in complete silence - take your dog for a walk at sundown and find a place to sit while the world stops spinning; bless the day you just had especially if it ended with everyone you love in one piece.
And when you finally get under the covers at night whether you have a husband or wife or dog or cat next to you in bed or even if you are going through a period where you are alone and scared - remember that you are middle aged - meaning you are in the middle of your life and you got yourself there.
It's the place you stop to hear the spirit of a beloved one whisper in your ear: "The middle is in-between the beginning and the end. And if you turn off all the noise in your head and you are conscious of the moments that pass; you will realize the middle is the best place to be."