First let me start by saying that I love my life. I have a wonderful family. I have no life-threatening health issues. I have a job. I have a nice home, plenty to eat, and a lot to be happy about. I have my share of problems, too. Nothing is perfect. I also firmly believe that there is dignity with age and that it is a privilege to grow older.
That being said, the reality is that aging is not always graceful. Sometimes, it can be baffling, confusing, irritating, frustrating, depressing, and weird. And I think women have it harder (sorry men!). But I do. The expectations are different. Our society has not yet evolved to the point where a woman’s appearance is not judged against unreasonable standards. It hasn’t. Too often beauty and desirability are associated only with youth and even then it’s tough to measure up.
But I digress. This post is not meant to be serious. This post is meant to take a brutally honest look at the downside of aging, at least for this woman. It’s always better to find the humor than to wallow in self-pity. So, without further ado, these are the facts as I know them-
- If you’re out in public and you catch a man under 60 staring at you, it is likely because-
a. You have something in your teeth
b. Your shirt is on inside out
c. You remind him of his mother/aunt/elementary school teacher/ex-wife.
d. You are with one of your adult daughters, and he is looking at her.
- If you glance in the rear view mirror in broad daylight, you will see things on your face that you wish you hadn’t seen because otherwise you can pretend they don’t exist. Dim lighting is your best friend.
- You have hair growing in places you don’t want it; you have hair thinning in the places that you do want it.
- Parts of your body are shifting and try as you may to move them back with the use of shapewear or other supportive undergarments, they do not want to budge without a fight. And they win 99% of the time.
- If you drink wine, eat bread or pasta, or consume lots of sugar, you may as well ingest them by way of a valve that leads directly into your abdominal cavity because that’s where they will sit and form a mound that will quickly, right before your very eyes, turn into fat that won’t budge for weeks.
- If you drop something, it might hurt to pick it up.
- Some days you are like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz–your joints could use an oil can.
- It takes twice as long to put on makeup that covers less than it did before.
- You suddenly find that you have more in common with your parents because you have ailments/aches/pains to talk about, too.
- You can often fool yourself into thinking that you look like you did ten years ago…until you see a picture of yourself from ten years ago.
- You casually mention to one of your kids that you find a certain young, male celebrity rather attractive. And they tell you to never say that again.
- You insist on wearing high heels and fashionable boots even though you have a bad hip and a bunion.
- You refuse to acknowledge that you have a bad hip and a bunion.
- It’s true–you are smarter and wiser than ever before. Unfortunately, when you most need to remember the name of something or someone, it will be completely erased from your mind.
- You may as well have a baby at home because you get about as much uninterrupted sleep as you did way back then.
- Reading small print becomes more trouble than it’s worth. You just skip the small print and hope for the best.
- You feel no different inside than you did when you were in your twenties, so you wonder, occasionally, why the guy at the liquor store doesn’t card you.
- You do get carded at your favorite restaurant–for your AARP discount.
- You go to bed at 9:00–often.
- You gain weight by simply being in the presence of food.
- Your kids are surprised/amused by your pop culture references and your taste in music, which ranges from Lady Gaga to the Lumineers to Bruce Springsteen to Bon Jovi to Jessie J.
- You come to the realization that if you were an actor you would now be cast in the mother/odd best friend roles rather than as the romantic interest.
- You are neither shocked nor offended by Fifty Shades of Grey and you understand the appeal. However, you mostly think about how the story would be completely different if Christian Grey were old, poor, and wore “mom jeans” instead of those low-slung pants.
- Your kids don’t want to think about you reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
- You start getting called “Ma’am a lot.” However, a respectful “ma’am” is a lot better than a condescending, “young lady.”
- You face the fact that you are not getting any younger.
- You face the fact that you will continue to get older.
- You hope the best really is yet to come.
- You feel a pang of loss for your youth, at times.
- But you wouldn’t trade youth for what you’ve gained to takes its place.
Oh, and this-
I may be aging, but aging is one thing; getting “old” is another.
And I am not getting old without putting up a fight.