On the eve of my thirty-ninth birthday I’ve been reflecting on the revelations I’ve had about aging. Lord knows we women are constantly barraged with ads telling us we need to worry about slight blemishes and grey hair and weight gain and now whether our arm pits can face the world. Geez, you’d think every woman on the planet was a hairy ape with no concept of personal hygiene or a mirror.
Granted, I still get upset when my favorite shirt suddenly fits a little snugger around the middle or I find a new zit after indulging in too many Cadbury eggs after Easter. But I’ve started to realize that me stressing out about my weight or my looks is helping make it worse. I recently had pneumonia and between the coughing, fever and general lack of energy and appetite I lost 7 pounds in two weeks. It was good timing in a way because we had vacation planned for the next week and my jeans fit comfortably.
After vacation some of the weight came back. But not all of it. And I started analyzing what changed. I had stopped eating when I was bored. I stopped eating a bite or four of everything that was brought to work. And truthfully I’ve stopped caring to a certain degree. I’m not saying I’ll become one of those hairy apes without a mirror. I’m just saying I’m tired of wasting the time worrying about it. I’ve got crows feet from smiling and laughing. So what? People will hopefully realize that I’ve had good times in my life. I’ve got wrinkles in my forehead. Means I’ve had things and people in my life important enough to care and worry about. And in the last two years I’ve had 4 grey hairs pop up. I used to dye my hair. I have what I would call mousy brown hair except in the summer when I get red and blonde highlights. But I’m not going to dye it anymore. I’m hoping I can rock the grey like Helen Mirren and Stacy London. And the grey hairs have names; the Ricardos and the Mertzes. I’ll continue naming those grey hairs until I lose track. I’ve earned every one of them and refuse to be ashamed of getting older.
Once upon a time, age was revered for it’s wisdom. We as a society have become more worried about our appearance rather than how we appear. And yes there’s a difference. If I have to choose between time at the gym and time learning, I’ll choose the learning every time. Call me old fashioned, call me a rebel but I’ve finally reached the point where I’m comfortable enough with myself to basically give Ms. Clairol the one fingered salute and say adios. I just hope that others can be as comfortable, and ultimately as happy, as I have become with aging. Slainte! Here’s to another thirty-nine years of aging.