I have to admit something I never thought I could ; I am terrified of getting old. Not older. Old. Just old.
I see myself in the mirror these days and I don’t recognize the loose skin on my neck or the saggy lines around my eyes or the ropey veins on my hands. The gray hair I’m used to. I’ve had that for over 15 years. My grandmother’s hair turned completely snowy white by the time she was 35-years-old so I come by that naturally.
No, it’s more the over-all effect of seeing myself growing old almost overnight. It seems that way to me. I seem to have hit some sort of genetic time-line or something whereby my body betrays me in multiple ways every day now.
The irony is I am probably in as good as/or better shape than I was 10 or even 20 years ago. I have been keeping my weight to a decent, workable number even though at any given time I can afford to lose 15 to 25 lbs. (It’s usually the latter after the holidays.) I work out more. I get more exercise by biking, kayaking, hiking, walking, and working outside. I stopped smoking about 6 years ago. I have a boyfriend who keeps my other parts in shape and makes me feel good about myself.
So now that I’m in such a good place physically my body decided for unknown reasons to kick up the wrinkles and the sagging. Oh, come on! NO FAIR! I hate that jowl! I hate seeing my eyes all crepey. I started getting nose hairs FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! WHY???!!?!?
The other day I was blow-drying my hair upside down and I saw these weird baggy things around my knees. AAGHH! It was my thighs!! As I was lying beside my lover in bed one night recently I raised my arm up and abruptly lowered it again when I saw the skin on my upper arm. It was like over-stretched crepe paper!! My toenails are growing thick so that now when I cut them I must make sure I have showered first so they have softened somewhat. Otherwise the flying shrapnel could put an eye out!
I moisturize and
defoliate exfoliate, and massage and even bought this very expensive cream prescribed by a dermatologist designed to “reduce the signs of aging on skin.” Nothing is slowing the rapid rate of the aging disease. I am on the road to Wrinkle City!
I shouldn’t mind, I know, to show the signs of a life well lived but dammit, just when I’m gettin’ it all together it all starts to fall apart.
I wonder if I’m destined to be one of those vain old women who, at 85 or 90, act as though they are thirty and everyone laughs at them behind their back. I don’t want to be that pathetic. I can almost accept being the old woman about which people say “my, she looks beautiful, even at her age!” But I am more afraid that I’ll just look like my poor old grandmother when she was old. She was a human Sharpei!
Vanity, thy name is Boomer.