Aging Gracefully?


Cher

Cher at age 67

Ah youth. That time of life before gravity makes you it’s bitch and your skin still fits. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘aging gracefully’. In the past month I have been happily losing those ‘I quit smoking pounds’ thanks to a full-time job and a lot more walking. The down side of weight loss in your late 40’s, however, is that your chin starts to hang like mud flaps on either side of your jaw and your neck begins to pool just above your collar bones. It’s not a pretty picture. As Bette Davis once said, “old age is no place for sissies”. Middle age is no picnic either.

For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit that I have been getting yearly Botox injections for the past 12 years. It started as a preventative measure, foolishly trying to ward off the ravages of time before they became indelibly engrained in my face. I spent about $800 per year on Botox, which may sound like a lot, but it works out to just under $70 per month and, unlike anti-aging creams, lotions and serums that many women pay as much or more for, it actually works. This past year is the first time I have foregone my Botox injections (mostly due to financial reasons) and I find myself in an odd conundrum of sorts. Part of me is horrified when looking in the mirror and seeing the crows feet, the forehead lines and the sagging skin, while a new part of me is beginning to emerge… a braver part. This new voice is asking if maybe, just maybe its time to let go of some vanity and let nature take it’s course all over my face. I have been asking myself questions like, ‘if you are so strong, then why are you so cowardly when it comes to wrinkles?’. The reality is they’re just wrinkles and everybody gets them if you are lucky enough to live past the age of 40. Just because I feel 16 on the inside, doesn’t mean I should try to look 16 on the outside. I have done a lot of living and should be proud of the lines I have earned. But, then vanity rears its ugly head and I start craving that needle. It’s an odd seesaw to be stuck upon.

I find myself wishing for a happy medium between this,

Joan-Rivers

Joan Rivers at age 79

and this,

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Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson at the age of 54 (just 6 years older than I am now… eek!)

Perhaps, I am desperately seeking role models in this era of surgical enhancements that look great without all the nips and tucks. Maybe I should summon my inner strength and try to be my own role model. These are obviously quality problems that can only be found in a youth, celebrity and beauty obsessed culture. As I type this, I am realizing that there are women all over the world who are currently struggling with issues like freedom and basic human rights and it makes me feel small and petty to be worried about aging, which for those women is a luxury. I am thinking that I have fallen prey to the North American way of keeping a woman from attaining too much power… keep her insecure about her looks and distract her with the possibility of eternal youth in a jar (or needle).

Maybe the answer is to get more involved with causes that are close to my heart and move away from the mirror. So, from now forward, I will hold my head up high (with pride, and because it stretches the skin on my neck) and say goodbye to Botox and hello to more worthwhile endeavors. Maybe that’s what aging gracefully is really all about.

On the subject of dates.


For the past five years or so this is what I thought of when I heard the word date.

cluster of dates with leaves on a white background

Or, more correctly, this.

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But last week something interesting happened. I was asked out on a date… you know, the social interaction kind. I had forgotten they even exist. The even more surprising thing is that I found myself actually considering it. You see, whenever anyone asks me why I’m single, I usually laugh and say, ‘because it’s safer for everyone that way.’ (which is funny because it’s a little bit true).

But here I was, considering making dinner plans with a perfect stranger. As a matter of fact I was seconds away from sending him an email with my available dates (the kind found on the calendar) when I thought, maybe I should Google him first. (I use Google in general terms here, as the search engine I actually used was Yahoo, but I digress.) The second link down the line was very telling. It was a site where people air grievances about dates (or, more correctly the people they had dated). It looked to be run by a small group of young women and it read like a high school slam book written by the mean girls. There he was, with photos and everything, the guy who had asked me out. He was accused of all sorts of unacceptable behavior. Now I usually like to get to know a person before I begin to believe gossip and rumours about them, so I didn’t judge the man on the alleged misdeeds.

I deleted the email I was about to send him because he comes with a lot of young girl drama and I am too old to be dragged into that quagmire, thank you very much. I was likely saved from having to wade through a lot of crap because of these girls, so I suppose I am thankful that they chose to air their personal laundry in public. I also suppose that they are achieving their goal in some small way in that I chose not to pursue even a first date (the social interaction) with this guy because of something they had published.

Some small part of me is relieved that it didn’t go any further, but I have a feeling that I may be ready to unleash the havoc that is me onto the dating world (even those who eat dates while on a date on any date the calendar deems appropriate) sooner than later. I may have to question the sanity of this… just when everything in my life is settling down and going well, I’m ready to muck it up with the whole dating conundrum?! It might not be smart, but like Amy Farrah Fowler before me, I must follow my endocrine system… but this time my brain comes along for the ride.

endocrine

Working Girl


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In my opinion Melanie Griffith is one of the most over rated actresses in the history of Hollywood. From her ditzy voice, to the scary plastic surgery she’s had done, there’s not one thing I like about her. Yet… I owe her a debt of gratitude. As regular readers know, I recently moved across country and have been looking for work for the past two months. The good news is I just got a great job that I really enjoy, in a gorgeous hotel setting. The bad news is the job requires me to stand all day and even in comfy flat shoes my dogs are not only barking, but howling by the end of a 9 hour day.  It doesn’t help that I am still carrying 30 extra ‘I quit smoking pounds’either. My co-workers tell me I will get used to it soon. I find myself wondering when the heck soon might be. I walk the 20 minutes to and from the hotel. I never in my life thought I would be one of those women made famous by Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl, who wears a skirt and sneakers to go to work (I mean, I own 3 pairs of Louboutins for crying out loud), but they are the only shoes in which I can make the trek home without wanting to cut my feet off after walking a measly block.

If anyone out there is looking for a great pair of walking shoes, get thee to a Payless Shoes and pick up a pair of Champion walkers (priced under $40). They have air pockets in the soles and they are like walking on two little clouds. I may just be investing in several more pairs in the not so distant future.

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The shoes that are saving my life!!

I’d love to write more, but if I don’t put my feet up soon, I’ll never make it through the day tomorrow. So I will leave with a doff of the hat to Ms. Griffith for making it socially acceptable to wear sneakers to work.