Gwyneth Paltrow will soon light up candles for her 50th birthday, but until then, she's reflecting on what this milestone means to her.
The Iron Man actress posted a black-and-white bikini photo on Instagram on Sept. 22, which she linked out to a lengthy personal essay about self-acceptance. As Paltrow approaches her own special day on Sept. 27, she said she's feeling the weight of the moment as a time of growth and reflection.
She reflected on how aging has changed her body, including the "silver hair and fine lines."
"My body, a map of the evidence of all the days, is less timeless," she wrote. "Scarred from oven burns, a finger smashed in a window long ago, the birth of a child."
Paltrow, though, said she's accepted these signs of age on her body.
"And while I do what I can to strive for good health and longevity, to stave off weakening muscles and receding bone, I have a mantra I insert into those reckless thoughts that try to derail me: I accept," she wrote on Goop, the website of her wellness and lifestyle company. "I accept the marks and the loosening skin, the wrinkles. I accept my body and let go of the need to be perfect, look perfect, defy gravity, defy logic, defy humanity. I accept my humanity."
Besides reflecting on her external appearance, the Academy Award winner is internally reflecting on her past, writing that the next chapter of her life requires "owning my mistakes" and "praying I have learned from them all."
"Accomplishments (or things I did), though known and quantifiable, feel part of this linear past, less relevant," she wrote. "My errors, which live in the shadows, slippery and dark, are harder to define."
Paltrow, whose divorce from Chris Martin was finalized in 2016, is aware of her previous wrongdoings, and she hopes that she can be forgiven.
"I have hurt people, never intentionally, but I have done so just the same. I have let people down by not being who they needed me to be," she added. "I have betrayed myself to keep the peace. I have crossed lines, the thoughts of which sometimes rip me from sleep and suspend me into the hollowness of shame for a long, dark night."
She notes that her "lasting mistakes" come from a place where she didn't stand "fully in my truth and speaking from it, come what may."
"Saying the words that could have spared seasons of heartache and repercussions," she continued. "No. This does not feel right to me. Your expectations are not appropriate. Your behavior is not appropriate. This relationship is no longer right for me. This project is not right for me. You are no longer right for me."
The Shakespeare in Love actress writes that she doesn't believe going back in time to fix mistakes because "every one of those sleepless hours that came from one of these transgressions against myself or others has led to something." But what she wants for herself in the future is to "slow down" and "retreat a little bit."
She then shared how she wants to bond more with husband Brad Falchuk.
"I would like to make my circle smaller. I would like to cook dinner more. I would like to see misunderstandings become understandings," she wrote. "I would like to continue to open the deepest part of myself to my husband, even though it scares me. I would like to sing more, even if it's just in the shower. I would like to tell anyone that had a negative experience with me that I am sorry. I would like to fully acknowledge myself."