4 days to 41

Last Monday, I blogged about my countdown to my 41st birthday:
What 40 years taught me… a countdown to Monday! « Rica Rants & Raves.
For the whole week preceding my birthday, I am sharing, everyday, what I have learned in the past 40 years, what I believe, and what may shape the rest of my life.

Today, I am celebrating TRUE BEAUTY.

Vanity and materialism is a reality I struggle with everyday. More so when I was much younger with a lot to prove, mostly to myself.

I’m still vain, taking a good chunk of time deciding what to wear, hoarding countless shades of eyeshadow and lip color, and obsessing with my hair. There’s no doubt that my last moments on earth will include trying make myself look much closer to what I see when I look in the mirror – pretty much a glamorized version of reality.
I’m not kidding! My own grandmother refused to leave her bedroom for what turned out to be her last hospital visit until she was pleased with her make-up, hair extension, mani and pedi!
It’s genetics.

But, having seen so much ugliness the past 40 years, myself included, I started questioning what it means to be beautiful.

Being beautiful is a notion that has been marred by commercialism, by media icons, and just pure stupidity.

I will not disagree that Grace Kelly, Natalie Portman, a Chanel bag, Harry Winston jewelry, Christian Loubotin shoes, a rose gold Rolex watch, a Jimmie Martin chair, or a Baccarat chandelier is beautiful. I would be overjoyed to be even remotely resembling the likes of Grace Kelly and Natalie Portman and to own these things!
I disagree, however, that being as beautiful or having any of these trappings makes one truly beautiful inside – unless you have an immense strength of character and impeccable integrity.
It isn’t easy, but I choose to believe that it’s possible to beautiful inside and out.

I choose to dig deep, past the “it bag”, the perfectly made face and crowning glory, the glutamaxed complexion, the fabulous shoes, the fancy watch, and all the expensive trappings.
Is there even anything inside?
Perhaps there is.
Or, perhaps there is just a big ugly ego sucking up all the empty admiration for what’s mistaken as a reflection of who the person really is inside.

I refuse to be defined by the monetary value of anything I own.
No, I don’t renounce whatever beautiful things I have or will have later. I know that I worked myself to the bone for those. Blood money. My blood.

I love my beautiful things. No argument there.
But, I choose to find beauty and define it as such…
Random acts of kindness
Thirst for knowledge
Courage to seek the truth

It’s not going to be easy to live by these virtues all the time! But, to know and try are the first few steps to getting there.

“We are not what we think or what we say or what we feel. We are what we do.”
“Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart” by Gordon Livingston MD (2004)



  1. Bravo Rica!! Ostentatiousness is not luxury, simplicity is elegance, and less is more 🙂

    • Hey Winnie! I knew you’d agree 🙂 I’m lucky to have friends who exude the qualities that truly matter! It’s still a struggle for me though, being a self-confessed “maximalist”! And, I still have “I want more” moments.

      But, like I said, these things do not and never will define me. Even when I get everything I want, I know that I will feel hollow inside if I somehow turn cruel, rude, dumb, vindictive, narcissistic, crass, egotistic, unforgiving, and dishonest. If I ever turn out to be that – as a friend, I know I can count on you to knock sense into me. How lucky I am to have courageous friends who care about me deeply!

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