Man, we’re obsessed with this, aren’t we?! Of all the things we might want to discover in our older years––but this, apparently, is the conundrum that most distracts us. (Proviso: I know many people, women included, who do NOT focus on this at all, or have made peace with it. If you’re reading this, come along for the ride anyway, and please feel free to leave tips and thoughts in the comments section.)
Okay, now for those of us who have thought about it—even a little—here’s my latest aha moment. Aging? You get used to it. No, really. You just think you’re constantly worried about those sags, bags, and lines. Aching bones and weak eyesight. But the truth is—like adolescence and parenthood and renovation hell and debt—you get used to it. Sure, you might obsess for moments at a time that you’re not doing the right thing or the best thing (or anything) to combat it. Sure, the latest unflattering change can be surprising or depressing. But, think about it, it’s just a matter of time before that new reflection in the mirror is as familiar as, well, as an old pair of shoes.
I know that at 47, I’m on the upswing of the road of major aging changes, but I remember vividly my shock and dismay at finding (ten years ago) that the smooth waist I’d kinda taken for granted was suddenly resting comfortably on top of my pants’ waist. Or (seven year ago) when I realized that my mouth was beginning to turn down at the edges and two neat lines were forming between my eyebrows, both conspiring to make this normally upbeat, positive gal look dour and angry no matter how happy I feel. (My husband routinely asks me what’s wrong when all I am doing is calmly, relaxedly, even happily reading a book.)
Each time something major has changed on my body or face, I've panicked. Oh, it's been just a slippery, slippery slope and I've been flailing and desperately grasping for any tether around me. What can I do to stop the carnage … how really, really bad is it going to get … will I ever be able to make peace with it???
Let me take this minute to remind us all that we do get used to it. We do. We wake up one morning and we don’t begrudge those lines and sags anymore. We hardly notice them. They just are. And our reflection is simply that: our reflection. Ourselves. Let me get hokey: our beautiful selves. And instead of berating Diane Keaton for advice, we should hold each other’s hands in solidarity and remind each other that we will all get used to it at some point. Maybe not at the same point, and maybe not for good (there are bound to be regressions for every triumph), but we can be here to remind each other of that. You know, like we did with labour pains: “Don’t worry, the pain doesn’t last long and pretty soon you won’t remember it.”
Deb: Barb, you have no idea how great this concept is. You are right. It does grow on you. And for me, after the bombardment of aging surprises that accompanied menopause and post-menopause, everything else is lame. Like, hey, new liver spot. Already have two. So ... whatever. Hello, new grey hair. That ship already sailed.
So I truly agree that it is a wonderful thing––which I shall be adopting––but it is also a slippery slope of acceptance. There is always that day when you meet someone you went to high school with ... and they don’t recognize you. BAM!
Barbara: And that’s when it’s their turn to get used to it.