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9.01.2020

Go Down Hard vs Do It With Grace

I couldn't contain my inward thoughts much longer. Though I was listening to every word she was saying, my internal monologue was firing. [What in the world!  How is she 63? There is not one wrinkle on her forehead, her skin is smooth. That seems to be a Botox texture forehead, but who the hell cares - I would take that forehead in a heart beat. It does look a little like Joe Biden's forehead in the first Democratic debate earlier this year. She must have a tanning bed as her skin is the crayon color woodland brown. My skin is sun kissed for sure, but her tan is a quasi not natural color enhanced by some chemical. Oh how is it she looks better than me and she's 10 years older!  Can I evoke the powers of Dolly Pardon?!]

We were waist deep in conversation about COVID 19, the state of race, the prognosis of humanity, the goodness of God, you know all the big issues currently swirling when, in mid societal issue, I blurted out, "What the hell! You have no wrinkles on your forehead and virtually none on your face! What are you using and can I get a 50 gallon drum to dip myself in?!".  She smiled, without a facial line on her forehead and said, "Botox, right here", pointing to the space between your brows where nearly all of us should have furrow lines by a certain age. 

Speaking frankly to the tenth power, I do not like what age does to my body - this massive gravitational decline of all cellular activity and a cease and desist order on the production of all youthful buoyancy. I much prefer what aging does to our spirit, mind and heart. Our culture, and my own thoughts, are far too centered on the seen and less on the unseen. 

What is it that makes coming to grips with the changes in my body and face so difficult? I definitely do not want to be held captive by my own constant negative or overly consumed thoughts. Over the years I have asked lots of women, ahead of me in the gravitational pull line, if they reached a point in their lives where they stopped thinking about age or their looks. Though there have been a myriad of different responses, there were several overlapping and constant undertones.

I was too critical of my younger self. I thought I was too fat when, looking back, I looked great but didn't even know it! They voiced regret over not enjoying what they had before it wasn't anymore! They voiced a sense of irony that there is an allusiveness to not loving ourselves wherever we are at that is an unquenchable monster.

The mirror betrays me but doesn't show how I actually feel  inside - still young and with many of the same thoughts I had at age 19. They reminded me that looking in a mirror as we age can startle us, but also highlight though outwardly we change and weather, we are still ourselves inside!

I made as much peace as can be made with the changes in my looks and age when I embraced that all of it is by design.  They said a light bulb slowly brightened helping them to see we are all mortal and finite. We are given a life that includes both youth and old age.  It is unchangeable, and though we can fuss and fight and be negative, it is reckoning in its cycle.  Move on to things that don't fade.

Life moves faster the older we get.  They realized less is before them than is behind so they wanted to enjoy and be content with what they have and even, what they didn't have.

I was there. Fighting over unchangeables. Getting frustrated that all the things I used to do to get a result just couldn't keep up with the natural process of aging like they once did.  Unless I wanted to spend tons of money for a temporary never ending chase that still would take me to the same place one day, I needed to find gratefulness in it all. 

Age is God's constant reminder to me that I am not in control. And, since I easily think I am the great Oz, I need the curtain pulled back to see I am not. Often I say to my sisters, youth is wasted on the young!  It is true indeed as you do not even have even the slightest awareness of that gift while you have it.  

My sisters always told me growing up that I would be a horrible old person and would go down fighting. They were right, I am horrible at being old ER. It's not a war I can win though. There is possibly a need on my part for a white flag surrender or, at the very least, an armistice.



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