Cleopatra’s Elixir of Youth Was Awesome, But This is Even Better

by Janelle Schroy

Cleopatra thought she found it. But she was wrong. Here’s the real deal.

The cascading white travertine pools of Pamukkale (Türkiye) seem to lengthen in the setting sun, and we dip our toes in — gingerly at first. The thermal water is delightfully warm, and soon we are immersed in the experience of standing on the edge of the world.

A storm passes in the distance. It proves to be a dream hour for me as a photographer with a dramatic sky and few other people in sight. As I work my camera, I watch my family laugh and play together in the shallow water.

I think how precious these five beings are to me — my travel companions, best friends, the treasures of my heart.

Queen Cleopatra favored swimming in these natural pools at Pamukkale, and she loved lathering the mineral rich white mud into her skin. She claimed it was the elixir of youth, and said it erased any wrinkles and eradicated skin blemishes. Still today, people come from all over the world to follow her example.

Now in my 40s, I see women my age trying all the hacks to change their appearance to look younger. For what? Approval, love, acceptance? I can’t imagine the time and cost it all must take.

But what if it’s our children who are our truest “Elixir of Youth?”

I have four little ladies ages 5, 8, 10, and 12. I’ve come to realize that its now their time to shine, and it’s my job to support that flourishing in my every waking moment––instead of obsessing over my own preservation of beauty.

Yes, it’s my great joy to spend all day, every day with my four little women. Here at this extraordinary natural sight in the middle of Türkiye, I am grateful for precious ladies — the elixir of my youth — in a little extra measure.

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