“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford
“Thank God we are the beholder.”
I tell my wife she looks beautiful all the time. She knows I have one bad eye, which is why she usually follows up my compliment by asking, “out of which eye?” She also doesn’t believe me because when I call her beautiful, she’s usually in sweats or wearing her pajamas, usually with a ten-pound robe wrapped over that, which is then covered with an apron that hasn’t been washed in five years. It’s an interesting look, compounded by the fact that her big toe sticks out from a hole in her slippers. I don’t think Women’s Magazine will be calling anytime soon.
But even when she’s showered, dressed up and genuinely attractive, she still eyes my compliment with the same skepticism. “This is as good as it gets,” she grunts. She says this because she is self-effacing and would never see herself as beautiful, or as she puts it, “I’m cute on a good day.”
Don’t let her fool you. She is beautiful. She is the new beautiful.
Sure, the wrinkles on her face are more defined, as you’d expect for someone 57. The smoothness of skin has faded, and her posture has changed. She is all those things that happen when years turn into decades.
But beneath the imperfections of her body is a woman who, from the moment she wakes up and puts on those holey slippers, brings joy and purpose into her world. She is a simple mother, wife, teacher, and there is no fanfare to her life, no press releases on what she does in a day. You won’t notice her when she’s filling the car with gas, or pushing a cart out of Target. No one’s whistling at her from the street. But if you knew her—which is the real secret to finding beauty—or you followed her around in her 2001 Honda Odyssey, you’d start to see something special in her smile, and the easy way she laughs, and how quickly she is to reach out and help someone when no one’s looking. It wouldn’t take long before you’d come to know how deep her understanding of life is, and how grateful she is for the things in life that really matter.
And of course, I could fill a book with all the small and big ways in which she turns her life into art. But examples aren’t the point. Her beauty is deeper than that.
It is a beauty that comes from living with purpose. It is beauty that comes from being awake and conscious.
It is a beauty that comes from an acceptance of knowing who you are, being who you are, and expressing who you are. And, I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing sexier than that.
My wife is definitely as good as it gets—and like all of us—she is living proof that we are only beautiful because of how we choose to live our lives.
Now, if I could just get her to buy a new pair of slippers.