“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”-Gabriel García Márquez
I was looking at my hands a few minutes ago and I thought, Wow…they look older somehow. And when I look in the mirror, I feel the same way. I can’t always quite pinpoint what it is, but something is older. Something doesn’t look so youthful. The lines in my forehead which use to be non-existent, are now firmly in place. The line around my mouth that use to only show up when I was dehydrated seems to have moved in.
What is it about aging that is so scary? And there’s an assumption in there…for me, aging has been scary, in a way. A lot of the time, I feel so young. And people tell me that they think I’m young. Younger than I actually am. I’m not a grandma at all, but at this stage in life, 80% (this figure is purely a guessed percentage thrown out there!) of my friends are married, with solid jobs, have children and are quite settled in their lives. I am single, with a job that fluctuates, no children and do not feel settled in my life.
However, now I’m starting to feel the aging…I’ve grown up largely resting on the laurels of my pretty fast metabolism, but now I’m seeing areas that use to be tight, are now hanging and loose. For example, about a year ago, I was waving goodbye to somebody when I noticed…my arm…MY ARM…my arm was wobbling. It…there is fat where my tricep muscle might be and it really wobbles when I wave. Also, my thighs touch…like, not from pure muscle in my thighs…but because I have this soft, loose fat on my thighs that touch. Not to mention the flattening butt and inflamed gut. Oh, and then there’s my face: besides the lines on my forehead, there are also lines around my eyes…blossoming crowsfeet that I never use to have. Also, GREY HAIR. Before it seemed to be just a few strands, but now a whole colony is forming. In the last 10 months, I feel like I’ve aged so much.
I am finding it difficult. I sent an email to a bunch of female friends, asking them how they feel about aging and particularly in relation to romantic relationships, but generally as well. Many replied that they felt quite good in themselves, even with the aging. For me, I find it scary. In our society, it seems that youth is revered and since I am “losing” my physical youth, how will I find a partner? This question is genuine. I notice that many men are interested in women 10 years younger than me. Unless, they are men that are 10-15 years older than me. It is rare that I meet a man around my age that is interested in me…that is interested in more than sleeping with me, that is. <but this is a whole different post, now isn’t it?!)
One of the biggest things is my body functioning differently: feeling more tired, not being able to drink much alcohol without feeling incredibly hungover, my once beautiful hair falling out and thinning, my eyesight…my precious perfect eyesight after laser surgery deteriorated and now I’m back wearing glasses, because even contact lenses can’t correct the astigmatism accurately…and the list goes on. This part is the hardest for me. I mean, the outer appearance going downhill is uncomfortable, but the body not functioning quite as smoothly as it use to is REALLY uncomfortable. Then I look at my grandparents who are having so many physical challenges and I think, How can I help myself minimize this? Answer: exercise and eat well.
This post seems to be quite a few quotes:
“Age is a terrible thief. Just when you’re getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse.” -Sarah Gruen
I would love to be carried away and inspired by the quotes above and enjoy every wrinkle that I get and earn. However, it seems like it is a bit of what Sarah says above. As soon as our minds start to mature enough that we enjoy who we are, our bodies are deteriorating. I’m still at an age that if I were to make the effort and have the discipline, it could look pretty good. Not 19 year old good, but pretty good.
Next step: find the consistent motivation to do so! xoxo