I’ve never posted on Craig’s List but if I did, here’s my want ad for the day: “Looking for the fountain of youth, a.s.a.p.!” If anyone really did find a fountain that would bring back youth, they would certainly build a resort around it and become a billionaire.
You won’t get me on the expensive surgeries that will restore a more youthful look (just yet anyway), but I’ve been a sucker for the beauty product infomercials that claim to have the one secret, key ingredient that will dissolve my wrinkles and bring back my youthful glow. Save your money! I can tell you, there is no secret ingredient!
As I approach the birthday that will qualify me to become a resident in an “adult only” community, I can’t help but have a few thoughts on this aging dilemma that I face. I remember my 30th birthday. That was the hard one for me and now I have to laugh at myself over that. Turning thirty was a piece of cake in comparison to what I’m looking at now. I can’t even bring myself to let the new number slip from my lips. It’s amazing to me how my definition of what I consider “old” has become older the older that I get. In my thirties, I considered where I’m at now to be classed as “old”. Now that I’m here, old is more like when you’re in your nineties, right!
It’s not fair that we don’t have a choice, but have to succumb to the aging process! But then, just when did life decide to play fair?
It’s just not right for an 18 year old to start getting gray hair. It wasn’t just a few hairs here and there. It was one spot on the front left side of my head. I was a brunette then and had this gray streak that wasn’t a pretty highlight that I paid big bucks for. When I was in my twenties, someone who didn’t know my name, described me as the “woman with the spider in her hair”. I bought my first bottle of hair color soon after that.
It’s not fair that I went into menopause at age 40, ten years earlier than the average women does. Of course, we’ve already established the fact that “I’m Not Average” in an earlier blog post. I did find some advantages in early menopause though. Hot flashes weren’t one of them!
What a shock it was when I got contacts for the first time. I had only been wearing glasses to read, so I never had them on when I was in front of a mirror. My first trip to the bathroom with the contacts was a literal eye opener. Where did all those wrinkles come from all of a sudden? I looked so much younger before I got contacts… So of course, the contacts had to go!
I learned by trial and error, never let anyone see your face if you have to bend over in public. I was in my late 40’s and happened to see myself in the mirror as I bent over to brush my hair. It was a horror show! Skin just hanging off my cheek bones! How and when did that happen?
In my Physical Therapy sessions now, there is an exercise that I have to do that really makes me swallow my pride. It’s called “Inch worms”. I have to walk on my hands and feet on the floor and my butt in the air. I’ve said what my face looks like upside down, but to have to see the skin hanging from my arms and around my knees and knowing everyone else that can see that too is torture! I’ve begged the Physical Therapist to not make me do this exercise, but to no avail…
It’s not fair that body parts succumb to gravity and head south! The word “perky” is no longer in the description of any body part. “Tube socks with golf balls in the toe”, is a more fitting description and the rounded hips, well… the cheek and thigh tend to meld into one continuous mass. Enough with the disgusting word pictures!
I took up running to try to slow down the aging process, maybe even reclaim some of my lost youth. Running has improved the appearance of some body parts and I am much healthier than I was a year and a half ago. I probably am healthier and more fit than I’ve been since my early twenties, but in spite of that, my body still betrays me. I still spend more time with medical professionals than I would like. It’s so not fair!
In a previous job, I spent a lot of time working in retirement communities and with clients who I considered to be “old” compared to my stage of life at the time. It was quite sad actually. Some were very healthy, but they had let themselves become “old” in their minds. They saw themselves as “old”; therefore, they were justified in living the stereotypical, “old” lifestyle. They let their age determine their level of activity and there are just certain things that they just couldn’t do because of it. The reality was that there was much they could do if they applied a little effort.
Of course, there are always exceptions, but I found that the general mindset was that they were now retired, so for many that meant the end to “accomplishment”. They would no longer be expected to accomplish anything and any unfulfilled dreams could be let go of. They no longer nourished those dreams and their dreams were allowed to die. The reality was that they now had the freedom and more time to realize their dreams.
As I now find myself in this new place, regardless of how old I live to be, I always want to be useful, to have a purpose. I want to always be doing something to better myself and to help others. I still want to work toward those unfulfilled dreams. I’m choosing to not become “old” in my mind; therefore, I think I have found the fountain of youth. You’ve heard it said, “You’re only as old as you think you are”. It doesn’t matter how old my outer shell gets. (Ok, so I admit it’s still kind of hard to say that last sentence.) I’m young in my mind. Life isn’t fair and even though my body may betray me, I’m determined to make the best of this aging process. Like fine wine, I too, will become better with age, so I raise my glass and say, “Cheers!” and “Happy Birthday to me!”
I choose to die living, not live dying. Who wants to celebrate with me?