Tuesday, May 8, 2012
I'm 51 today. I just nudged over the line past the half century of age. I'm officially IN the second half (because of COURSE I plan to live to be at LEAST 100). You would think that at this stage of the game, my habits are entrenched...I'm all I can be, I'm all I'll ever become. I don't think so.
If I know one thing, it's that change happens. Lordy, just a gander in the mirror and I can tell you it's true. My body frustrates me. I kept trying to hold it to the standards I had at 16 and 18. No matter what I eat or what I do, I'm "Rubenesque" and built like the Goddess images of old; full-hipped, round bellied and soft. It's not that I don't really care what I look like, but I care a whole lot less. I was once willing to risk and do nearly anything to maintain a socially defined essence of sexuality and beauty. It was easier to do then. For some reason I think I should have the same stamina, strength, coordination, speed and energy level I did then. My body is aging but my brain has been a bit lagging behind the reality.
My knees crunch and crackle and give me fits when I kneel in the garden....or walk. You know that old saying? "What I once could do all day (or all night) it now takes me all day (or night) to do". Yup. That about covers it. My back aches more, my neck aches more, I get more sore for longer after exertion. I'm trying to learn to ride a bike again and it is so utterly frustrating and embarrassing I want to have a good old fashioned meltdown. What happened? I thought I could jump on and ride like the wind.
My eyesight is dwindling. I have to wear dollar store "cheaters" to read a menu, or a book, or a food label or a vitamin bottle. That stinks. My memory has it's ups and downs. I'm riddled with hot flashes, headaches and fatigue. Most days, my get up and go, got up and went. I'm that person I swore I would never be...older. My hair is getting gray strands in it, and my eyelids are saggy...I have to wax my mustache for Pete's sake! My boobs are...well...just National Geographically sad. I don't garner second glances when I pass anymore, unless it is because I'm wearing mismatched sweats and haven't combed my hair. I've traded in my period pads for bladder control pads.
I used to wonder why old people didn't do something about their catfish mustaches, or the oddball hair growing from various places. Now I realize...from personal experience, it's because they can't SEE them. I had to buy a 7x magnifying mirror...and then I can't remember to USE it. My grandmother always used to say "Getting old is the pits." I think I understand now. She was still about 120 lbs all her life and she wouldn't allow herself to falter there...and she still dyed her hair blonde at least into her mid 80's. Appearances, on that side of the family were more important than content.
But you know what else? My attitude is changing, and my beliefs remain in flux and I take things slower and enjoy them more. Without the burden of trying to fit an ideal, I feel freer in my body and spirit. Once I fully am able to let that "beauty" thing go, I'll be so much lighter in spirit that I won't notice how tight my clothes are. I'm still learning. Still growing. Still eager and interested and curious. I still have my sense of humor and I'm working hard to temper it so that it is not cutting and hurtful. I can change, I know I can, just look at my body for Pete's sake if you don't believe me! I'm like those candles above, beautifully colorful and twisted, even if unconventional and a little saggy and melty.
I'm in the best relationship I can even imagine. No strife, no drama. It is comfortable, and secure, and fun and warm and sweet in ways I would never have been able to predict. I've been with this lovely man for nearly 23 years and I can't imagine my life without him in it. Oh sure, as I age, I occasionally have a mini panic attack about how awful it will be to have to say goodbye when one of us dies. But great grief is the price of great love, and I'm willing to pay that price. Besides, we've been together many lifetimes, and I have no reason to doubt we will continue on. Even in spirit, we will be rejoined eventually (and in my world, probably sooner rather than later).
I have a roof over my head and food to eat and simple indulgences here and there. For a Taurus, home and relationships and stability are about the most important things. I have no idea where my life is heading or what is on the path before me yet to come. I'll take it as it comes. Do any of us really have much choice in that? I worry less. I'm calmer. I'm happier than I've been at any other earlier point in my life. That's pretty cool!
Happy Birthday to me! For every downfall of aging, I can come up with at least 2 or 3 or 4 or more ways it is superior to being younger than I am. Or as my mom says...getting old sure beats the alternative.
Last but not least, it is also my 7th wedding anniversary to my Sweet Baboo. We've been together nearly 23 years. Best relationship of my LIFE. Maybe of ANY life. But I'm sure we've been together in many lifetimes and I have every hope we will be together in many more. And Mother's Day is Sunday and I will have been a mom for 28 years on the 23rd of this month. That has forever changed me for the better too. It's a darn good day to be alive...but then honestly, every day is.