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Maturity Brings Beauty (and Ugliness) to Light

Today, I had an oceanfront lunch at The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As I sat in front of the glass wall looking upon the beautiful Grand Strand seascape, I couldn’t help but take several deep breaths and wonder, how could I have ignored the beauty of the ocean for all these years.

Here’s the thing, I grew up in North Myrtle Beach, a mere 10 miles north of the hotel that I’m staying in this week. But I don’t remember anything of this vast beauty from my childhood. Did the seagulls just choose today to start crying out as they run from the rolling waves? Is today the first day the sea breeze decided to blow? Did the sun wake up this morning for the first time and decided to glow over the horizon? Surely not. Then why is it that, at the age of 37, am I just recognizing the true beauty of the ocean as if it has never existed before?

There is something about maturity that makes you see beauty where you’ve never seen it before. One of my fb friends said that now that he is older, he sees how beautiful the relationship his parents had was. “They really worked as a team, feeding off each others strengths and covering the other's weaknesses.”

Another fb friend said now that he is older, “I am glad I take time to know a person and to see that he/she is so much more than the physical being.”

Here are a couple more things that are beautiful that I didn’t recognize when I was younger: the blooming of flowers every spring; waking up refreshed after a good night’s sleep; getting a clean bill of health; having someone to confide in completely without fear of judgment; fresh peaches from the tree in my front yard; red wine; a simple, genuine smile from someone you admire; getting an apology you felt you were owed, rendering an apology that you owed someone.

Remember that person that you hated to see coming your way? There was something about them that just didn’t appeal to you. They were square; had no style; just plain boring. Now that you are older, you recognize beauty in the ordinary. You are not impressed with the flash and glitter. You’re just glad to have the calmness and stability that you need.

Remember that old car that was too loud; the one that you didn’t want to be seen in? Today, you’d be happy to drive a car that’s not very pleasing to the eye, but only takes $25 to fill up the tank, $220 a year in insurance, $13 in property taxes, and $0 in monthly payments.

Remember the huge, fairly-tale wedding that you just had to have? The one that cost you thousands of dollars to put on? Eight months later, now that you and your spouse are separated, you privately envy your friend who go married at the courthouse, has a wonderful marriage and is still in love.

Just like beauty, there is also something about maturity that helps you see ugliness where you never have before.

Remember that person that you admired and looked up to? The one you wanted to be just like? Now that you know them, you use them as an example of who not to become.

Remember that man/woman that you made you glow just to be in their presence? The one that you wanted so desperately to acknowledge you? Now that you know them, you wish you would have just admired them from afar because you see their confidence was a huge façade for their deep insecurity and neediness? They just ain’t the person you thought they were.

Remember that coveted career that you deserted your friends and lovers for? Now that you’ve reached your goal and have no one to share it with, you wish you could trade in a peg or two for the comforts of friendship and a family.

Growing up is funny, isn’t it? All the things you valued when you were younger, you find out have little value at all. And the things you took for granted are now the things that hold the most value. I guess maturity helps you see beauty in the simple things. It also helps you realize that everything that glitters ain’t gold.

Question: What object of beauty (and/or ugliness) did maturity reveal to you? Feel free to answer anonymously. If you are feeling bold, answer both questions about yourself!

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1 comment

I have to say that I realized that my attitude towards myself had so much to do with others attitudes' towards me. I had friends and was well liked but i had no confidence in myself and was absorbed in self pity. I learned as I grew older that I had to believe in me for other people to do the same. If I thought I was unworthy of love then others were gonna feel that way too. I became happy with who I was (although far from Perfect) and I saw that others seemed to see that happiness too. Delete Reply

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