New definitions of beauty

I was effortlessly beautiful in my twenties. Sometimes it’s a struggle to realize that those days are behind me. Then, I see a young woman – beautiful by traditional standards – yet her beauty is overshadowed by her youth and her uncertainty about her place in the world. That will change.

me, 2000 looking over shoulder

There is beauty in impermanence. Sand castles, clouds, icicles, ocean waves… everything is transient on some level. Even the grand mountain, the venerable tree and galaxies change. We live, in part, in memories and photographs. Touchstones of continuity to help us assimilate the pervasive transientness.

It’s a good thing that beauty is simple and instantaneous. It doesn’t need explanation, only noticing.

I see beauty in the eyes of an elderly person who feels the wisdom of their years and is comfortable with themselves. There is beauty in an aging face, of wearing one’s frequently sampled expressions. An emotional bellcurve documented in skin. A confession of a life.

There is beauty in imperfection and delightful quirks as one’s self-actualization unfolds.

There is beauty in trying to do one’s best, regardless of outcome. Beauty in doing what one can do improve oneself, in reaching inward and outward, testing the boundaries, and finding a deep well of peace.

A small and imperfect gesture of love is beautiful. It’s everything it needs to be, and so is perfect. A stone is beautiful and always the perfect size.

There is beauty in working hard, in creating expressions of love for others. There is beauty in short nails and rugged hands. Strong but gentle. The curve of fingers. Rough skin, wrinkled by long use. There is beauty in the story spoken by hands.

weathered hands

There is beauty in thinking deeply and seeking connectedness and explanation. Beauty in realizing that things that hold the most meaning can be unexplainable. Beauty is knowledge and experience. Beauty in faith and exploring unknowingness where it leads.

There is beauty in silent conversations across a crowd. A subtle smile. A knowing nod. A recognition and an intimacy.

I reflect on these things and realize I am more beautiful than I was before, and will keep improving if I stay on my path.

In The Little Prince, Antoine de SaintExupéry writes “What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well.” I would add that it takes years to find the well and to know how to draw from it. Beauty deep as the well.

11 thoughts on “New definitions of beauty

  1. “There is beauty in silent conversations across a crowd. A subtle smile. A knowing nod. A recognition and an intimacy.”
    I love that. Thanks for a great post.

  2. What absolutely beyond beautiful words.

    Thanks for writing them down. Thanks for seeing the beauty, your beauty. Thanks for being so beautiful and bringing that beauty into my life. xoxo

  3. Beautiful post Kat!

    “There is beauty in an aging face, of wearing one’s frequently sampled expressions.”

    I love how you merge the the terminology of a scientist with the thoughts of a poet.

    1. Thanks, B! I’ve been thinking about how difficult it can be to separate science and poetry, the deeper you go into the science. It’s often referred to as the elegance of nature, but I think it’s more than that. We’ve both felt it. The epiphany, the exhilaration the “Aha” moment when you glimpse connectedness in a greater understanding…I think there’s poetry in that. :)

      1. Totally agree. I’ve always thought the most wonderful time in science is when you first make the discovery and you know that you’re the only person in the world who understands this small little part of the universe.

    1. Thanks, Amanda! I think it’s a way to have aging become a thing of beauty. Aging as a blooming and a coming into one’s own.

  4. Love how you put your thoughts together to make the most abstract of topics so tangible. I can feel all the beauty you described with your touching words. I love the book ‘The little prince”. There is so much wisdom in that little novella. I always maintain, 30s is a coming- of-age, age. I have experienced so much beauty in all the new knowledge that comes that way and excites me and also the subtle beauty of letting go.

    1. I agree with you about the 30s. It was really a transition time for me between letting go of some things so I could stand more firmly in my own space.
      I could read The Little Prince over and over. I love that Sunboy is old enough to start reading it (even if he doesn’t understand it yet). Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Anita! :)

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