Thursday, July 1, 2010

Looking Old

Over at Time Goes By, Ronni Bennett is talking about looking old.  It's worth a click to read the whole post, but if you are short on time, here's an excerpt as she is looking at a picture of a SharPei, imagining
what she will look like in five years. Or ten years. Or less. Who knows. But she wishes she didn't care. Two things about this:
  1. Crabby Old Lady doesn't like looking that old.
  2. She resents she has been brainwashed to dislike it.
Kinda sorta exactly what I think every morning, of late.  Suddenly the puffiness around my eyes doesn't dissipate before breakfast; it's still there when I brush my teeth after lunch.  My "I can't believe you just said that" look has taken up permanent residence in the grooves on the side of my mouth.  Tweezers and cleansers and emollients can keep me presentable without hospitalization, but fixing anything else requires needles and knives and I'm not that unhappy.  I'm pissed.

I'm pissed that I don't live in a culture where cronehood is exalted.  I'd like to be applauded for the wrinkles I've earned as I've raised two children and counseled many more.  I'd like someone to hold a door for me, not because I am decrepit, but because my grey hair has earned me that honor.  Living long enough to begin to feel that I've seen most of it before, whatever it is, should entitle me to give my opinions to an admiring audience, don't you think?   Don't trust anyone over thirty?  Bah, they're still children until they are as wrinkly as I am.  When did I get so cranky?

I've resisted coloring my hair, mostly because I get nervous just thinking about sitting in the salon for hours every few weeks.  I can barely wait til my nail polish dries before I am on my way.  I gave up wearing make-up when I gave up paid employment, except for a few notable afternoons at Nordstroms having a free make-over at the cosmetics counter.   I'd walk past a mirror on my way out of the store and wouldn't recognize myself.  Glamorous?  Almost.  Smooth and polished?  Definitely.  Me?  Not a chance.  

But, like Crabby Lady, I don't like looking this old.  I want my flesh to stop creeping closer to my chin.  If there were exercises to restore the tautness which is vanishing at such an alarming rate from my facial area I would do them.  I promise.  I really really would.  But the electro-stimulator we bought in our 30's didn't make much of a difference then, and our skin still had much of its childhood elasticity then.  

That's really the core of the issue, isn't it?  Elasticity..... going with the flow but returning to a neutral center...... without damaging anything along the way.  I'm more certain that I'm right on many (ok, on most) things, but I'm also more willing to let others try to convince me.  I'm a more adventurous eater, but I'm thoughtful about everything I put into my mouth.  My body is a temple, but sometimes we open it up for a party...... the clean up gets harder and harder every year.  The ability to bounce back is aided by having a more secure center, but the tendons and ligaments are beginning to show their age.  Outwardly, it's crevices on my brow.  Inside.... well, I'm still working on that.

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