Last week, I wrote an article about Elizabeth, an 86-year-old yoga instructor, who’s beautiful both in body and spirit. She has been practicing and teaching the discipline for over four decades and I was inspired after the interview. I could’ve made her my mentor, and she is definitely a poster child for the slogan “You are only as young as you feel.”
The idea of getting old sails through my mind every now and again, but just as quickly it drifts away into the mist of unwelcome thoughts. I guess I just never gave it permission to linger, but this time, I gave it a hall pass and it stayed. I’ve been walking around for days avoiding mirrors and asking myself “When did middle age sneak up on me?” I know the battery is low and achy some mornings, but age seemed to leap in my lap from out of nowhere. Maybe not. There were some milestones.
I remember the first time I was addressed as “Ma’am.” I was depressed for days and wanted to go back to the store clerk and demand a reasonable explanation. Then there was the first gray hair. I went racing to my stylist with foreboding thoughts of my mother. Then it was, “What’s that?” I found an age spot on my hand, then another on my leg, then another… When I went skiing this year and fell, I couldn’t get up, struggling like a turtle that’s been flipped upside down. The rest of the day I could barely move my arms.
For some reason these things bothered me, but their shelf life was short. This time, the reality of getting old has hit me like a train on the tracks. My husband tells me I look great but is he just blowing smoke? This week I found myself not wanting to get out of bed in the mornings. I turn the thermostat up, climb back in and obsess over beauty products online. I texted a friend to ask how much a few shots of Botox cost her. Call me superficial, but I know all about the power of youth and beauty, and I’m way past my beauty nirvana.
I spent this week keeping track of how many guys gave me a second look. There are a few guys at the gym that seem to give me the flirting eye. You know, the old ones with the nose hairs and knee socks with the rings around them. I need to stop going to the gym mid-morning when the seniors are there, because it’s just getting me crazy. I’d like to go in the evening when all the young, fit, athletic types are there, but I don’t think I can stay up that late.
I’m still, as is said, young at heart and there are some distinct advantages to getting older. I’ll get all those cool $2 senior discounts. If ever in a hostage situation, I’ll be the first released. And most of all, I’ll have gained all that valuable life experience to be more balanced, confident and empowered. In other words, with age comes wisdom. Unfortunately, today’s wisdom, yesterday’s body. Can’t have them both.
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