I want to grow old gracefully. Really; I do. Who wants to grow old UNgracefully? But, damn. It’s harder than I thought it would be.
Maybe it’s because I’m fighting a cold. Maybe it’s because I’m not getting enough exercise. Maybe it’s because my husband put one of those magnifying mirrors in the bathroom and now I’m aging in 12X. All I know is a year ago I wasn’t really A-G-I-N-G. I mean, I was getting older; sure. But I still had a waist. My knees were higher; so was my butt. And my cleavage wasn’t in my back.
Then I had a hysterectomy. That seemed to kick-start menopause. Now I have hairs on my face and not under my arms. I realize my cheeks and boobs CAN get longer. I have knee-thighs, and they know each other intimately.
This is only the beginning! Is this what I’m in for? Lately I’m compelled to talk to my younger, toned — and therefore better-looking? — friends only on the phone or through e-mail. I seek out people older than me and hopefully in worse shape. Then I see those women on TV shows and ads with their cat-like eyes and their motionless smiles talking about how wonderful the fifties are, and I want to throttle them. “AGE GRACEFULLY, you hypocrite!” I yell at the screen. “Show us it’s REALLY okay!”
Give me Jamie Lee Curtis and Katherine Hepburn and Diane Keaton any day. Show me that that’s what aging gracefully is all about. Quit pushing Pilates, jogging, gyms and fad diets on me, and instead tell me about yoga and meditation and relationships and acceptance. I haven’t done this before, you see. I need guidance from real people who haven’t just come from their plastic surgeon to tell me how life can, in fact, start at 50.
I know you’re out there. Please get to me while I still love my laugh lines.
No one ever told me, though, that laugh lines can go all the way down the neck.