How I’m Shifting my Fear of Aging

mirror mirror on the wall

It was my birthday at the beginning of the year.

This was the first birthday in 4 years in which I was neither pregnant nor breastfeeding.

Up until last summer, I had been for 4 consecutive years, on a continuous hormonal roller-coaster ride of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, overlapping second pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

I loved every minute of it. Mostly.

But also: my former super hot body is now not as… well…hot. I no longer have that I-slept-10-hours-straight glowing firm skin, and if I get close to one more nursing bra or have my tits leak, I think I’ll have a meltdown.

Basically, I hadn’t had my brain or my body to myself in years.

So, for my birthday, I checked myself, alone, in a luxurious private resort tucked between the Persian Gulf and the desert of Manama. I knew I needed to look in the mirror and face myself. Literally.

So I sat, stared at my face in the mirror and started speaking to myself.

The heavy issue that was pressing on my birthday joy was threefold: “I’m not as young, beautiful and thin as I was in Hollywood. It’s the end of my world”.

I decided to play a game. Rana, I told myself, if you didn’t care about being young, beautiful and thin, what other three attributes would you care to be?

I replaced young with “creative”, beautiful with “free” and thin with “courageous”.

birthday breakthrough note retouched

Now Rana, I continued, how about we replace: “Oh no! I’m not as young, beautiful and thin as I used to be” with “Oh look! I’m more creative, free and courageous than ever before!” How would you feel about that?

A tingling sense of bliss and relief overwhelmed my body.

Since, I decided to start focusing and celebrating these new empowering attributes of creativity, freedom and courage rather than focusing and sinking into the despair of loosing a little bit of youth, beauty and slimness (which by the way is inevitable, and that’s ok).

It dawned on me that contrary to youth, beauty and slimness; I never have to loose my creativity, freedom and courage. They are mine to have and keep forever. As a matter of fact, I can expand these attributes and keep pushing their boundaries!

Then and there, I had a birthday breakthrough.

Now don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean I don’t care to be beautiful, youthful and slim. I work out with a personal trainer 3 times a week, do Hatha yoga, swim and dance 5 Rhythms. I eat healthy, ingest probiotics daily, get a facial and peel every month and I’ve just booked my first spray-tan session. Some of the greatest joys of my existence come from painting my lips a femme fatale red, seeing my ass shrink and tone and slipping perfectly pedicured toes into a pair of Aquazzura pumps. Also, don’t rule out botox from my future. Taking care of one’s wellness and looks is a substantial part of Self-Love. I just choose not to base my sense of self-worth and fulfillment solely on these characteristics.

Will you play that game with me?

Leave a comment below and let me know what old attributes YOU would like to let go of and replace anew.
Break them down to specific adjectives, three old ones you no longer want – or don’t want to focus on – and replace them with three new ones.

Aging is beyond growing or looking older. Every birthday is the privilege of deciding who you want to be from now on.

The birthday itself is the gift. The gift of Re-Invention.

I cannot wait to hear how you want to reinvent yourself.

Happy celebration.

With love,


4 thoughts on “How I’m Shifting my Fear of Aging

  1. commented on June 2, 2015 : I love the intelligence of your reframing Rana, I truly do! thank you for the inspiration. Herewith mine: Slim turns into Elegant Youthful turns into Raw Humour and Beautiful turns into Presence
    1. commented on June 17, 2015 : <p>Franca darling, I'm so happy my experience resonates with you and that you find this perspective-shift on ageing inspiring! I have to say I am the one feeling inspired and moved by your own beautiful new attributes. Yes: Elegance, Raw Humour, Presence are actually more attractive and timeless than Slim, Youthful, Beautiful. As I visually browse all the attributes and create mental pictures, I am so much more captivated and engaged by the new ones. These are gems I would be drawn to in any human being really. They are mesmerizing and ageless. Just like you.</p>
  2. commented on June 2, 2015 : Dear Rana,<br /> <br /> Your entries are honest, intelligent, and fun to read. What a bright, free, and original spirit you are. You’re also unaffectedly beautiful, and talented, and at any age thanks to your open, and humble nature.<br /> <br /> I feel that youth, attractive features, and hot bodies are gene-related attributes to a large extent. Unfortunately they can be deceitful, and weight heavily on teens, especially young girls, and woman in Western or pro-Western societies. Most things considered stylish, hot, cool or modern in the media, music, film, and fashion industry offer a fictional parvenu dream based on money, power and sex. To be powerful is to feel rich, to have money is to feel sexy, to be sexy is to feel powerful… Poor people, older commoners as well as your average Denise, Debbie or Dibeh are all but excluded. Porsche men, who power lunch at smart French restaurants and lust over a gorgeous youth with a killer bod to bed, mostly define desirable beauty ideals and norms.<br /> <br /> Physical attributes are superficial, relating to the surface and the external. But superficiality, and artifice have played a detrimental role in our evolution as well as that of all living species since the dawn of time, by way of natural selection. It is as simple as 'It looks better'. And I’m just as superficial as your next sharp, sensitive, and fashionable urbanite artist. Botox on the list…<br /> <br /> In Lebanon, at age of 32, I felt I looked better than at anytime in my young life, and throughout I was considered handsome, and charismatic. That spring I fell terribly ill, and in the space of 3 years lost my health, good looks, and hot body. As to my self-esteem, it suffered severe hemorrhage. I took a serious beating, physically, and mentally. I looked sickly, over a decade older, and felt undesired. For some I became a threatening ghost. My body turned into a feeble shadow of its former self, my youth, a tale of epic romance, poetry, adventure, and vagary, tailing behind this vagabond alike a straying haunt.<br />  <br /> When you enter a hospital your dignity, and autonomy are first to go into free fall. Your low immune system grapples with a new system immune to comfort. You feel vulnerable, small. I had to make a conscious decision putting many of my bad character traits, and defaults aside, and hopefully doing away with most of them. It was essential to learn how to be calm, patient, modest, positive, and trusting in order to retain reason, and sanity in an environment where delusion, and madness run high.<br /> <br /> I remarkably came out alive, eventually looking, and feeling better. This thanks to the warmth, strength, generosity, courage, confidence, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, intelligence, creativity, spiritual enlightenment (not religious) and determination of a handful of people I was so blessed to have around me at the time. They found it in them to love, and accept me unconditionally as what I am, not who I am, no identity. Their trust, and support was unfailing. But more importantly, I realized that the good attributes, qualities and virtues they possessed were intrinsic to my being. And we all made them through when it mattered. I decided I was done with lies, blame, deception, and games, and not necessarily my own. And so it was. The best qualities I had came from a deep, but genuine place long buried in me. They manifested themselves tenfold as best healing medicine when I applied them right, and lovingly. Sometimes, it is much wiser to ignore common sense, and stop making sense all together. It is not about reasoning, apprehension, estimation, calculation, and appreciation. If you wish to trust your thoughts, and decisions, have faith in your intuition. It is your birthright given wisdom. It is truth, pure and direct.<br /> <br /> Shortly after when I began to recover from this rich, harrowing and most cathartic episode in my life, I started realizing that my health wasn't lost. It had gone through a long and dramatic change mostly inflicted by wrong choices, and feelings of guilt, and victimization on my part. When my body pained, it gave out alarming signals I then chose to ignore. I began trailing the source of bitter-tasting rivers, not just wrestling some excruciating pain, damning debilitating diseases, or surrendering to a pathetic state of being. In the hospital, I didn't fight some illness solely based on a possible impact of a virus. I tried understanding the purpose and message in its present manifestation of being. That's how and when the healing started, and it involved a re-invention of every cell of my body, every pulse in my heart, every brain-cell. My spirit clearly saw what generated cause and effect, and why, leaving nothing to false assumption, and fate.  <br />  <br /> No thanks to fate, I’ve amassed heavy attributes on dark turns along this great journey. For the most part, they’re too old to be effective. Still, I wish to lose every bit of them. Begone egotism, susceptibility, and shame. Today, and on a brighter turn, I seed attributes of discipline, forgiveness, and humility. Everyday I am thankful for three attributes that characterize me best: courage, creativity, and originality (by originality I mean my queer, bohemian, authentic, eccentric, funny, absurd, silly, smart, nonconformist, unrepentant characteristic). It is mostly with these three attributes that I paint the present. The present is open, and curious, similar to my positive, and esoteric outlook on life. It is a place in time and space that is timeless, and spaceless. It is real, and imaginary, specific, and non-specific, covering past and future, rejecting both. I wish that very breath were purer than the one before it, so that my whole reaches a higher vibration, and higher awareness.  Be it in life or death, I dream of realizing enlightenment, and self-fulfillment.<br />  <br /> Every day is my birthday offering the greatest gifts I could wish for. I’ve chosen to live my life fully, loving and embracing myself completely, and unconditionally as I am.<br /> <br /> This I realize is a long account on my behalf. Not a game I partook in, but some confessional I suppose. I loved your challenge, and started writing. This is what translated.<br />  <br /> Thanks Rana,<br /> I wish you, Elie and your children love and light.<br />  <br /> Sami
    1. commented on June 17, 2015 : <p>Sami, I am in awe of the brilliant essay you just shared with me and all of us. This is not just a comment! I've had to read it around 3 times to unvover more meaning, layers, references, intelligence and soul within it. You are right about the trinity of Sex, Power and Money ruling over our sense of sucess, happiness and worth. It is a trap which is so easy and appealing to not just fall into, but to get completely swallowed by. Clarity, self-knowing and the courage to not be liked, admired or valued are key in saving us from mind control. That being said, I am all for consciously choosing what tools to use to maintain our youthfulness, looks, sex appeal and mostly: our self-confidence. That is the pillar to everything else.</p><p> </p><p>The account of your harrowing journey is a sheer descent into hell. I am so impressed that you made it to the other side without irreversibly self-destructing like many other people do. Not because they are bad or week. But because such a life experience is so brutal that it can damage a person's psyche, morale and self-worth like a tornado rips trees from their roots.</p><p>I met you when you were 32 and I can attest that you were one of the sexiest, charismatic, humorous, brilliant and flamboyantly life-affirming and festive human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! I haven't seen you since but despite what your bodily transformations may have been, I have a hard time imagining that in essence, you are not still all of the above. Am I right?</p><p>I am looking at your old/new attributes. Very powerul shift. If you feel you are succeeding at making this shift happen, please share. Because if so, you're our hero.</p><p>*Egotism, susceptibility, shame.</p><p>*Discipline, Forgiveness, Humility.</p><p>A small fun exercise I like to do myself: can you identify 3 simple daily actions that you can undertake to feel Disciplined, Forgiving and Humble?</p><p> </p><p>Can't wait to read more from you...</p><p>Lots of Love from the Alamuddin-Karam tribe!</p><p> </p>

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