Friday, June 15, 2012

When Did I Get Old?

When did my legs start to look like my grandmother's legs?

There I was, catching a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror in our suite at Canyon Ranch, asking that question out loud. 

"Did you ask me something?" TBG called from the bed down the hall.

I suppose I did... but it was more of a question to the gods in the ether, the ones at whom I direct my rage when the ground squirrels nibble up all my portulaca.  I know why it happens... I'm not looking for facts.... it's my younger self exclaiming that it's not fair.

It's not that I didn't like my grandmother's legs. They were just as wrinkly as her chest is in this photo of me rejecting ginger ale from a straw in the summer of 1952. 

She was in her 60's then, but to me she was just old.   I thought her wrinkles were the prettiest wrinkles anyone ever had.  They were everywhere, as I recall, on her arms and her legs and her bosom.

Looking at this picture, I see that she was less crinkly than I'd remembered.  Is there a lesson there?  At the time, they looked sunny and healthy.  My grandmother loved the beach, and her skin showed it.  She and her sisters and brothers took bungalows at the shore every summer, carting children, swimsuits and lounge chairs and not much else.  Daddooooo described it as two-suits-and-pajamas summers.  They needed nothing more. 

As a child, visiting my paternal grandparents always involved sand and surf.  In the winter we bundled up and brought our kites, in the summer we'd run back to the half-a-house they shared with the landlord for snacks between swims.  My grandmother was at the stove, creating the world's most delicious hamburgers ("Sure, they're delicious.... she uses ground steak," was always G'ma's reply) and always willing to accept a hug... a hug around those wrinkly legs.

Now, they are my legs according to that mirror and I want to know whose idea aging was, anyhow? 

I don't want a face lift.  I want a leg lift.

Fifty, for me, was the downhill slide of life.  Anyway I look at it, it's at least half over.  That's neither sad nor surprising nor a cry for pity or help.  It's merely a fact.  I can handle mortality.... it's the mirror that's giving me trouble.

The concept of good years has always troubled me.  G'ma's idea of a good year isn't one I'd like, at least now.  But she is happy in her recliner-which-she-refuses-to-recline, watching The Weather Channel and Law'n.  Will that be a good year for me when I'm nearing 90? Who knows.

I remember being appalled that I'd be 48 in the year 2000.  That was nearly 50.  Mr. 9. back when he was Mr.7, remarked with horror that in two years I'd be 60.  The urge to shield me from such a fate oozed from his every pore. 

I know, age is a state of mind.... I'm doing great for any age let alone being 60 and having been shot three times.... 60 is the new 40..... I know.... I know.....

For right now, though, I still want the answer to my original question:
When did this happen to my legs?

8 comments:

  1. Not sure, really.

    I moved from South Florida to northern California in 2000 and didn't see my legs for over a decade as we did our version of global cooling here and didn't really experience summer so much as hear about it when others had wildfires. Long story short, it finally warmed up and i pulled on a pair of shorts a few days ago-not for long, folks, I took one look at those wrinkly appendages and went diving for lightweight leggings promising never to try bare-legged-ness again. I totally get now why the women here wear leggings under everything, bathing suits included. i love this place!!!!

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  2. I just asked myself the same question yesterday. For some reason, the wrinkles on my face didn't bother me all that much, but those on my legs just tick me off!

    p.s. am still loving your blog...gotta have it with my morning coffee.

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  3. This is perfect - two readers agree with me and I haven't even had my yogurt for breakfast yet1

    NoCal was wonderful in the summer... leggings made it seem that I was always coming or going from the gym (which was usually true) and they do hide a multitude of sins, Lynda... tho I never saw them with swimsuits.

    What is it about those legs, Sharon? MTF said the same thing to me 2 years ago and I sluffed it off.... and now it's happened to ME!
    a/b

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  4. Actually, my legs are one of my more favorite parts of my body. They don't look like I've had three children. Unlike my tummy. :(

    Sorry I've been MIA. I've been in bed for four days with a sinus infection. Uggghh. I've missed my favorite blogger.


    Megan xxx

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  5. My calves are still ok, but the thighs! Oh good grief. What happened! But it's ok as I seldom wear shorts that hit above my knee. And I never wear short skirts any more. That 60 birthday is only a few weeks away. I haven't decided how I will handle it. It's coming so I might as well be joyful about it. I'm going to start saying that so it might just be joyful when it arrives.

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  6. I wore short skirts all the way through my 50s but sometime in my 60s, it wasn't working anymore. Probably it should not have in my 50s but I didn't care then. I thought my legs looked tonedm went without pantyhose and enjoyed the feeling of tanned legs and freedom. Now though it's capri or cut off jeans that hide the thighs and once again I don't have to think about it. The funny part is it was in my late 20s that I looked at my legs and thought-- they don't look like a young girl's legs anymore. I asked my husband and he agreed with me which was upsetting and now I try to think what were young girls legs supposed to look like that mine didn't. I continued wearing short shorts and have some very attractive photos in them with a pair of high heeled sandals when I was sketching in the desert. What was that all about? Sometimes my old photos of me embarrass me more than the current ones ;)

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  7. In the 1980s when I worked for a police department I had a sargeant who was amazing at estimating peoples' ages.

    He finally told me that he did it by looking at their legs just above their knees. He said that people could wear makeup, color their hair, exercise their upper arms/butts/etc...but they just couldn't do anything about that little wrinkly saggy spot just above the knee!

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  8. ANd there it is... the knees are what do us in, ladies. I wore short skirts, too, Rain.. and now, at 60 and 6 months I am wondering whether I'm just a tad too old for them. Megan, you are younger than we are... just wait, honey... just wait :)

    The beauty of embracing my cronehood is that I can be peeved and yet love them.
    a/b

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