Growing up, I’ve always heard from the women around me that getting older is a burden. Whether it was my mom or my tías, it became ingrained that aging isn’t something that I should look forward to.

But then, there is the marvel that is Jennifer Lopez ringing in 54. Someone who celebrates her birthday like the true Leo queen she has always been.

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It’s typical of women and femmes to pick themselves apart; it’s almost like a right of passage. But as we get older, it seems like many of our conversations center on how aging isn’t great. Among my friends, that was very much the same sentiment.

Now in my 30s, I hear comments that nitpick at the gray hairs they are growing. I also listen to statements picking apart how their body is looser and how they can’t eat or drink like before. For my part in this tragedy, I always travel with what I call my vieja pack: Lactaid and anti-bloating pills.

JLo has shown me that years are steeped in Gratitude

Jennifer Lopez is dancing on tables. She is dressed to the nines and plainly lives the life she has worked so hard for. She is surrounded by people who love her. People she laughs with. People who are more than happy to get a little loud with her. Why can’t we all be this unapologetic in our approach to aging? 

Now, I am wildly aware that I don’t live at her price point and that I may never get there. I am also acutely aware of the fact that la vida isn’t always un carnaval like Celia Cruz sang (she also another one that brought joy in a beautiful way).

For many people in this world, there are hardships they’ve lived that have made grand celebrations like the ones that Lopez hosts every year impossible.

But that’s not the point. Among all the celebrations, pomp and circumstance the Bronx diva has put forth every year, there is a lot of gratitude there. Gratitude for another chance to fulfill a dream or a goal. Another opportunity to laugh, spend time with her family and shower those she cares about with love.

How I’m choosing to “get loud” and embrace aging from now on

That’s what I want for myself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I love hearing colors after gleefully drinking myself into a hangover, but I kinda love getting older. I love seeing my friends triumph over their personal adversities. I love being able to laugh, love and eat (and boy, do I love to eat). 

Despite my sometimes stiff scorpio nature (it’s true, affection freaks us out sometimes), I love to love on my gente, but I also want to be in love with getting older and what adventures that will bring. My hope is that people like my mom, tías, and friends all fall in love with getting older.

These kind of gratitude is something that I’ve seen the Jennifer Lopez do her entire life, and while I will be doing it in a more fiscally toned down manner, it’s something I want to do for myself as well.