I will soon be sixty three years old. My first gift arrived early, wrapped in a red bow. I was surprised to say the least. It is not often that one receives this sort of gift upon turning this age. It is round and red and is situated right under the right side of my nose. A huge ZIT! Now, I ask, “Wouldn't you be downright flattered to think that you may still have some pubescent hormones lingering about, at sixty three?” The hormones I'll take. The zit you may have, gift wrapped like mine if you like.
Actually, this is not the first time I have been given such a gift. I usually receive one when important occasions arise and I want to look my best. I once told my friend that I was going to a really spiffy place and I said, “Guess what I got to wear?...a pimple on my nose!” She was not surprised at all, and laughed hysterically. Some friend.
It seems lately that I am reading many books and articles about the aging process. Just a few years ago I assumed I had finally reached “middle aged.” Not true. What was I thinking? I passed that milestone over two decades ago. That one piece of information made me undeniably depressed. I admit I loathe it when people say, “You're only as old as you think-- or feel or act.” When every muscle and bone in my body wreaks of pain, I feel ninety. And then some days when I literally bounce during my Zumba class, I swear I'm still that thirty five year-old dancing in “Jazzercise” like Irene Cara in Flashdance.
As far as thinking and acting my age, my mind says I'm still twenty, which helps greatly since I have many young friends. Acting my age depends entirely upon the circumstances. When playing with my dog, Daphne,I throw my age away, just as I toss the ball or Frisbee for her. When attending the symphony, I work hard not to readjust my undergarments in public.
Scanning the health aisle in a supermarket it appears there are hundreds of products proclaiming that by taking this or that supplement you can easily and permanently reverse the aging process. Rubbish! I know otherwise, because I've been suckered into trying many of them. They don't work. Period. But still I try to stave off the aging process. Is this vanity or fear of the Grim Reaper, who will some day claim my soul? Being a sexagenarian (for some reason I like that word!) is a great age, but it also brings more losses of people we love to diseases I don't have to mention.
I finally figured out not long ago the reason my hips don't look as big as they once were. My waist has gained a couple of inches! Which after forty years is not all bad, but depressing still the same. The sands of the hourglass do not run up!
One book I'm reading claims that the stages of life are: birth, initiation, exploration, demonstration, merging, attainment, and death. Accordingly, I have supposedly reached the stage of attainment, that being the time when feel we no longer have to prove anything to ourselves or others. We speak our minds and achieve a certain spiritual peace and acceptance. I think this stage is ongoing, having always spoken my truth throughout my life, and I believe that it has always served me well. Even when I lost a couple of jobs because of it, I still felt I had spoken appropriately, (e.g., when I refused to commit insurance fraud for a Dentist I worked for).
There are times when I still care what others think. Maybe this author thinks we should never care anymore, but I don't think anyone ever truly achieves “attainment.” Proving once again that God does indeed have a wicked sense of humor. He or she replaces youth and beauty with wisdom. Why can't we have both at once?
As long as I live I will do whatever I can to stay as healthy, as I can. I never want my family to feel they have to take care of me, even if and when I can't remember who they are. I hope before that time comes, I will have enough faculties left to go off into the desert, find a comfortable place to lie down on a cold and starry night, then go to sleep after sufficient shivering—perhaps with a good bottle of wine and a “sleeping aid” to assist--and let nature take it's course. Much like animals do when they know their time is up. I trust peace will then find me. And the buzzards and coyotes will happily enjoy initiating the recycling process.
© Christine Geery 2013