Its inevitable people. No amount of preventative methods can stave it all off, at least not permanently. I am talking about the aging process of course. We all find ourselves participants willing or not. My grandmother, who happens to be turning 98 in a week, said something like this about aging. “There is something certain about aging. We will spread, shrink and sag.”
As true as that statement is, and I’m ahead of the game in the spreading portion, its still more then that. We also discover things on our bodies that we swear weren’t there last week, like age spots, or a tiny little fold by our eyes.. Then there is the whole hair issue. Men disover that it can leave the top of one’s head only to be rediscovered in amazing quantities growing out of one’s ears. For women, we do lose some hair, not usually as much as men, and spend the last half of our lives tweezing away chin whiskers. Well until our eyesight completely fails us and we can’t see them anymore. That is when we coerce our daughters into the task.
We also lose pigmentation in our hair, some of us sooner then others, well, that which actually decides to stick around. That for me led to recent unhappy discovery, a grey hair. Not on my head, I’ve been seeing those there since my late 20’s and have kept them well covered, until recently. I’m allergic to a host of hair dyes. As a result, I am trying to decide between letting it all grow out, or suffer the itching, and major headaches a little while longer. This hair, this interloper onto my formerly youthful body, was much further south then the location at the top of my body. For some reason, a white hair on a part of my body that isn’t prone to frequent unrestricted viewing (never publicly), really bothered me. I know its a very natural thing, it happens to all of us eventually, but I didn’t like it’s presence one bit. I remember one of my cousins telling me that you really know you are getting older when you find your first one. I found myself , at the time, mentally shivering at such a horrible thought, figuring that day of reckoning was decades away. It was actually only 8 years later for me.
I thought about tweezing it out, but being a complete pain phobic, quickly axed that idea. Tweezing chin and uni-brow hair is one thing, tweezing hair in a location with all that soft tissue and nerve endings is quite another. Besides who’s going to see it? And of that VERY short list, who’s going to care, besides me? Besides my angle of view is not all that great.
Then I started thinking. Why do we fear getting old, other then the end game we find ourselves moving towards? (and is that all that bad?) Why not embrace that we are survivors, that each stage in life is built on the last, that the belly fat, cellulite, crows feet, aching backs and albino hairs are medals that we’ve earned for living? That, with age, actually comes a little less responsibility, as we see our kids move on to adulthood and independence no longer needing our constant care or supervision? That with a few extra years and pounds, we don’t have to stress out over some of the thing that plagued our younger selves? Like zits, finding that first sparkle in your locks, that wondering if having a baby will give us stretch marks, and varicose veins. We’ve done all that and it really wasn’t all that horrible. We don’t fret over going bra-less and the risk of “headlights”. Bras are a given for those of us spiraling towards life as a retirement recipient. We wear them to help stem the tide of the inevitable “sag”. We don’t care as much that our shoes are sensible rather then fashionable, or that we’ve foregone the belted tucked in look for elastic waistbands and long tunic styled blouses. We are free to embrace comfort, if we want, knowing that we still can look neat, and attractive.
Oh we care about this whole getting older thing. We wish we were you younger people. Ok, lets be honest. We are jealous of your younger bodies, knowing that ours are much closer reaching their expiration date . We want to retain the myth we tell ourselves that we are still young. That’s the myth we whisper to ourselves while we are trying things on in styles or sizes once familiar, or attempting a once easy feat, only to realize that we look utterly ridiculous, or that that left shoulder is a horrible prankster.
We also know, often begrudgingly. that what we are and what we will be, are persons of a maturing nature; that we can’t turn back the clock, or the numbers on the scale. We finally accept the inevitable, and many eventually delight in it. It’s a trade off actually, and despite the aches and pains, the body parts with less then pristine working conditions, or appearances, we gain experience, memories, more freedom to do what we want when we want, ( it doesn’t have to involve anything kid friendly, unless grand-kids are involved) and hopefully a little wisdom.
I will accept the new sign of my rapid approach to my fiftieth birthday and beyond, knowing that there will be more to come. I decided some time ago, that I would be somewhat non-conformist during my final decades on earth. I warned my children that I’ll likely embarrass them with my antics possibly recruiting their kids for assistance. If becoming old is my future, and I plan for a long, long, future, I might as well have a hell of a lot of fun with it.