Hope I Die Before I Get Old
Posted by wendiwendy
Well, I was going to write about how the world didn’t end today, but that seems a bit Five Minutes Ago now. Instead we’ll tackle the always beloved topic of aging.
I started thinking about this when I was shaving my legs this morning, and tried to wipe away what I thought was a hair on my leg. (An aside: It’s pretty dark in our shower and my bifocal contacts don’t work well in bad light. It’s hard to see things close up so shaving is always interesting.) After a couple swipes, I looked closer and saw what I thought was a varicose vein. !!
It’s always startling to get these unavoidable signs that we’re getting older. Some things I’m used to – gray hair, for instance. I think I was 17 or 18 when I found the first gray hair nestled in with the rest of my very dark brown curls. Over the years the gray is overtaking the brown, but I still color my hair so I can pretend it’s not happening. The need for reading glasses/bifocals cropped up when I first hit my 40s, so I’m used to it now although it gets a little worse every couple of years. The best thing I ever did was get multifocal contact lenses, which helped do away with the reading glasses and gives me the illusion of having young eyes again. As long as I have good light, that is! And obviously, I have the hearing loss thing down pat. 🙂
But with every birthday that passes, I find myself thinking more about being older. It’s hard to believe in only two years I’ll be celebrating my 50th birthday. I like to think I’ll handle it with grace and good nature. Turning 30 was no big deal to me; I was so preoccupied with newborn Paige, who came into the world exactly two weeks before my 30th birthday. Turning 40, though, was a tough one. I kept doubling my age and thinking, “I’m halfway to 80! Oh my God!” Once you get to the point where you’ve probably lived more of your life than what you have ahead of you (going by standard life expectancy, that is…who knows what could happen tomorrow?) it’s hard not to be a bit introspective.
I don’t really have many wrinkles and usually I look in the mirror and like what I see. I could stand lose a few (er, many) pounds but in general, I don’t think I look too old. Then I’ll see myself in a photo and think, “Good God, is that what I look like?!” Even though my weight hasn’t changed in many years, I can look at a photo of myself from 3 years ago (same weight) compared to now and think that I just looked so much better back then. Recently I saw pictures we took over the summer and told Dave sadly, “I have jowls.” He looked at me like I was crazy and I continued, earnestly, “Really, look at me. I look like a troll now.” As I fought back tears, he laughed and told me that I never see myself the way others do – I’m always too hard on myself. But it’s enough to keep me behind the camera rather than in front of it, or with as much of myself possible positioned behind someone else in a group photo.
I know we all get old, and it’s what’s inside that counts, and all that good stuff. But I still remember so well what it was like when I was younger, and it’s hard to believe so much time has passed. I remember on my 25th birthday thinking, just out of nowhere, that someday I was going to wish I was this age again…old enough to not be dealing with teenage angst, young enough that my youth was enviable. I can remember being in junior high, when the teacher had us all calculate how old we’d be in the year 2000. When I realized I’d be in my 30s, it seemed so far, far away…like it would never really happen.
Ah well…time marches on, and every day I accept the changes in my aging body a little bit better. And 50 is the new 30, as they say. And Dave swore what I saw was not a varicose vein, and after I Googled it I had to agree with him. Guess I’ll live to fight another day!