October 23, 2012
The Art of Aging
I’m in a bit of a panic over this year’s birthday, which arrives tomorrow. The agonizing number? 44. 44 facking years old. What da fuq? 45 is rounded to 50, that’s what. This is my last birthday being closer to 40 than 50, in my warped, anti-aging, don’t wanna get old, please-God-I’m-so-not-finished-being-young mind. I’m feeling kind of panicky.
I don’t want to hear that I ‘still look young.’ That I ‘still act young.’ Or even be grateful that I ‘still feel young.’ Nope. To hell with that. I want to be young. I’m rather sorry I didn’t embrace the beauty of it all more, when I was young. Why didn’t I live in a bikini and date ultra hot guys and just own the world? Oh, right. I did! I sort of forget the awesomeness of my youth because that was like 20 years ago. My brain doesn’t even go back that far, now. Sometimes I meet women and when I find out how old they are it freaks me out. Because I was assuming they were way older than I am. Nope…in their button up, flowered tops and their Capri pants, and their short, curling ironed hair, they are my age.
My kids laugh when I suggest to them I am old. They have this new thing, where they act ghetto and say, “Girrrrl, you cray cray!” and tell me I drink too much coffee. Recently I refused to carry little darling up 18 stairs while I was also carrying my purse and some groceries. My excuse, even though I carry him half the time…”I’m too old!” His response, while sobbing on the bottom step, “Mommy cray cray!”
Lately when I’m driving I can’t stop looking at my hands, because they look old on my steering wheel. Like, whose freaking hands are these? Apparently all these potions and lotions and burn-y, sting-y things I slather all over my face must be working, because I should have been slathering them on my hands all along too. I look in the mirror in the morning and I just laugh. Suddenly I have puffy things under my eyes. When did I start getting that? I keep saying to the muthas, “My hands, do they look old?” But they just curse me out. They yell, “Oh fuck you, who cares about your hands, look at my neck, my eyes, my lips.” This is what we do. We stand in front of mirrors and push our skin up with our fingers, just a tiny bit, and say, “This, you see this, this is all I need. Just a little pulling up here of this skin. What do you think that costs?” Then someone ruins it and screams, “Oh you can’t do that, they have to pull your whole facking face off and re-tack it into your skull with staples.” Oh bullshit, another mutha yells, you can get the life lift, or whatever the heck it’s called. We know damn good and well none of us is getting cut any time soon. We are too busy trying to solve the problems with potions and lotions and concoctions that burn the shit out of you. Not to mention the odd needle. These muthas really don’t look their age. I met a gay guy not too long ago who humored me for a few minutes talking about the muthas in our area. He leaned in close and said, “This is a haven for beautiful women. You girls rock it, what is the secret?!” “We’re moms,” I said. We do 400 things at once all day. It keeps you young. That, and we still dress hawt.
I’m trying to be grateful for what is good now. I have fabulous, beautiful kids. Friends who love me. I am so much wiser. I don’t worry or stress quite so much. I have LIVED. Survived a hell of a lot. It’s been a wild ride. A lot of fun. Some hurt and heartache and mistakes mixed in. I wouldn’t change anything. Well, of course, the one thing. I would change that. I wouldn’t let him die. And then who knows, I might be living with a deranged drug addict right now. Or probably in the process of divorcing him. There is the chance I would be angry and frustrated and wanting right now, instead of feeling mostly peaceful and happy and resilient. I wasn’t feeling very resilient in the end. I was quitting….leaving. Or rather, telling him to leave. I had no idea he would leave in the most dickhead of ways.
I received an email from the sister of a new suicide widow this week. “He broke her!” she hissed. Indeed, he did. Dave broke me too. The scars will always be visible. But they don’t have to remain so ugly. I’m reminded of the Japanese art of Kintsugi. When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.
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