Today I turn 43. I have the pleasure of celebrating my birthday in Mexico with some of my closest friends. We’re actually gathered here for a birthday that’s not my own, but my friend’s. She’s turning 40. There are 12 women here in Cabo San Lucas, between the ages of 35 and 47. Fun, delightful women of all shapes and sizes. And guess what – we’re all wearing bikinis.
Looking back decades, to when I was a teen with a blossoming body…a young woman in my 20s…a childbearing, childrearing woman in my 30s…Rarely have I been comfortable with my body. I think few of us ever are. But from the vantage point here in my 40s I can say it just doesn’t matter quite so much anymore.
It’s not that we women of a certain age have given up; in fact, many of us, including myself, are taking better care of our bodies than we ever have. And maybe that’s where the acceptance comes in. No, I have neither six-pack abs nor buns of steel. But I am stronger and more fit than I have ever been. I can count on my body to not just get me through the day, but to keep me feeling good and capable, whatever activity I undertake.
I embrace these beautiful women all around me in their bikinis, with all their shapes and mounds and bulges and jiggles. We are lounging, we are laughing, we are eating and drinking, we are having fun. We are alive, we feel good, and we have our bodies to thank.
Young women: do not fret about your body. Life is too short and your body will NEVER look like that woman on the cover of Shape Magazine. That woman’s body doesn’t even look like that—it’s posed, it’s airbrushed, it’s touched up.
You are not. You are authentic, strong and beautiful. My wish for you today is that you will wear a bikini on your forty-third birthday.
Thanks for the great post, Stacy. When I got to a certain age – I think it was 11! – I stopped wearing bikinis completely. Even on my honeymoon in Italy, I wore a one-piece suit. (I’m sure the Italians thought I must have been a burn victim or something. Very sad.)
At some point, I realized, “As imperfect as it is, my body is not likely to EVER look better than it does right now. So, unless I’m good with never, ever wearing a bikini in my life, I’d better get started.”
Wearing a bikini is not as horrifying as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s fun to flaunt the imperfect bod that I’ve got. I’d thought I lacked the confidence to pull it off, but it turns out that simply wearing the bikini can bring out my confident, playful side. I hope that I’m still wearing a bikini into my 40s, and beyond!
Can’t wait to go back to Italy!
Fantastic post, Stacy. I wish I was still in Cabo, wearing my bikini and celebrating my birthday with my closest friends. But I’m glad to be home and, more importantly, to be happily comfortable in my 40-year-old skin.
Thanks for being there and for proudly showing off that bikini body!