For those of you who are also middle-aged or in a later season in your life, that doesn’t seem old at all. You who are young, in their teens, twenties and even maybe their thirties, it may seem old indeed.
I don’t feel old. Of course, I see and feel the effects of aging, and yearn for some of the changes that accompany the process, but a lot of the changes are at the least humorous and at most frustrating.
At the humorous end of the spectrum are the changes in hair: color, texture, and where it grows. Just when i think I’ve found and removed all of those pesky chin hairs another pops out, literally. While the hair on my legs seems to have thinned out greatly, it seems to have migrated upward to my chin area. My tweezers, of which I invested in a quality pair (highly recommended for this age), get a good workout. Since I am a natural blonde, even if dark at times, my eyebrows are light colored so I was spared decades of plucking (and eye watering pain). I think I am making up for all of those years feeling smug that I didn’t need to worry about my eyebrows with all of the chin hairs growing from my chinny chin chin. I am not so smug now.
On the plus side are the grey hairs. Blonde hairs are more numerous but finer than their brown, brunette and black counterparts. For years I had highlights added that not only brightened my hair but provided a little more body to my soft, straight hair. Now I get the highlights and body for free! Yes, my grey hair looks like highlights (at least in my imagination) and the body is welcome for sure.
Because I am not thin I have few wrinkles. Well, genetics plays a part in this as well. Women on both sides of my family just don’t seem to get many wrinkles. I don’t know why this is, but I’ll take it. In my case, my lack of facial wrinkles might partially be attributed to my aversion to the sun. I am fair skinned and burn easily. I gave up sun bathing a long, long time ago. Now when I go out in the sun my freckles pop quickly and by the end of the summer nearly connect to give the illusion of a tan, a connect-the-dots kind of tan.
Then there is the skin on my arms and hands. Overnight it seems to have become like crepe paper. My hands have always looked old, but not like this. Now even the skin on my arms looks fragile. The other day my two youngest sons and I were building a raised bed for our garden. Twice boards scraped my left hand and wrist area. I didn’t even feel the scrapes but noticed them when they started bleeding, one profusely. My skin not only looks fragile, it IS fragile. Darn. I really don’t like this part of aging.
I will spare you some of the rest of the issues we face when we grow older. Honestly, everything else seems to be working well (apart from my Chronic Lyme symptoms). Maybe the symptoms of aging are masked by my chronic illness. I don’t know. Arthritis pain is common for people my age. I have always had arthritis in my knees, or least since my early 20’s when I injured both exercising. In spite of the damage, my knees work fairly well as long as I don’t kneel or try to squat (I just can’t get back up — it is really embarrassing).
I welcome aging. I have never been one to look back and wish I could return, do it over, or just relive it. I love that tomorrow is available to me even if it means I am a day older. I want to be one of those old ladies who has lots of cats, one good dog, a lovely garden that keeps me active, and kids and grandkids that come visit at least once or twice a year. When I’m not gardening I hope to be reading, writing, or creating something, even if it is just a loaf of bread. I hope to always be active in politics and community issues. I think some wisdom would be most welcome in those two arenas.
Not all changes from aging are physical. There is the psychological aspect of feeling comfortable in your own skin. I am what I am. Yes, I hope to continue to grow and mature (I hate that word), to learn and stretch (mentally), but I am comfortable with who I have become since taking control of my life (that is a long, long story). I like making my own decisions even if some are wrong. That is called being human. Success or failure, freedom to make decisions should grow easier with age, not harder. If decision-making has become more difficult it is probably because of fear. I am not a fearful person, so I don’t have that issue to contend with. And I am so glad about this, and this realization. This is something I can like about myself. Oh, there is that. If you don’t like yourself by the time you reach your 50’s my guess is that it will become more and more difficult to achieve. I hated myself and my life in my late 40’s. I had to make some really big decisions to change that. I am so glad that I did.
There is that. Was it a mid-life crisis or had I reached the point where I didn’t care so much about what others thought? Actually, I believe it was both. I even wanted a sports car at one point (I would have bought one, too, if I had had the means — I really like to drive fast). Being older, especially for women, means we are not chasing the glamor thing. Okay, some women do, but most of us gave that up in our 40’s. I want to look nice, but I can’t even wear most makeup now (it really bothers my sensitive skin). I have never enjoyed shopping for clothes so I rarely do so. That’s okay. I am comfortable with those realities.