I can’t say I was shocked at the image staring back; maybe a more suitable word would be surprised. I can’t remember the last time I lingered in front of the mirror, perhaps it was summer when I’d tried on a bathing suit for the first time in years, and things weren’t looking bad so obviously they’re going downhill faster than I thought, gaining momentum as time slips by.
To put it bluntly, my skin is dripping, slipping, sagging, heading south and trying to leave the building like Elvis. For the past twenty years or so, I’ve seen cellulite accumulate and send ripples up and down the back of my legs but that’s pretty much a “so what”, nothing you can do about it and I’m not willing to do the grueling treadmill or a standing bicycle, crunches and stretches to win a losing battle. We gals are soft creatures, lack the muscle our male counterparts are blessed with, we turn to jelly over time and that’s okay, as long as we all do it. I’d hate to think my body was disintegrating while y’all keep looking buff. As long as were all wading in the same wrinkle pool I can live with it.
What surprised me was the rate things have been changing. A few months ago the front part of my legs were looking fine but now the skin is falling down like pants without a belt. Dripping down the insides of my thighs to land on my knees. As we age our knees get wider as all the skin ends up there and I thought whoa girl, I used to see this in the nursing home and knew it would happen eventually, but at 57?
The skin on my arms is looking pretty wrinkled as well. I’ve been getting a bit more sun exposure these days with the boat and I know tanning is hard on skin but I haven’t gotten that brown, maybe a shade darker than cream. I’m still strong like ox and don’t have bat wings and there’s a muscle in there that feels like a medium to hard-boiled egg. I could wrestle a small child and hand them a can of whoop-ass. All the work on the boat has offered up a nice set of biceps and of course cutting wool at the shop, and stirring dye pots, best workout ever!
I feel like a contradiction. I always say aging doesn’t bother me but perhaps it does or why am I writing this bit? I’m two years away from being 60 and that’s ten years away from 70 and only twenty years away from being 80 and we all know how long it takes to kiss twenty years goodbye. Guess I’d better pucker up. 58 years have whizzed by on the wings of a hummingbird so I can hardly expect the next 20 or thirty to go any slower.
I saw a video of Tina Turner at 79 in high heels and a mini dress, low cut at the chest exposing the sides of firm breasts. The dress sleeves were organza and you could see through it to arms that glistened, creamed up to show tight and firm. I know we all don’t have the same skin, some of us have a longer shelf life than others and for me, at 57 with only three days to 58, there isn’t enough spandex and grease to make me look that smooth and shiny. Go Tina!
Anyway, not sure why I’m writing this? I don’t want to make a big deal out of aging because I accept human fate and the inevitable. I’ve never valued the outside of a body as much as the inside. The person I am trumps what’s happening to my outer shell. I faced facts of aging the first wave of hair loss, it ain’t gonna be pretty! I wouldn’t go back for anything, unless of course I could learn to hook earlier, I’m very content and happy with my life. I am truly blessed.
I plan to go gracefully. No alterations, tucks or tweaks. If I do anything it will be the nonsurgical Spanx, it shrinks, sucks in and drops at least 10lbs, you just have to wrestle it up over the loose flab. It might rearrange the organs a bit but a small price to pay to look good on a special evening out, all tucked in with the feeling of firm that used to be natural.
Until a short while ago, the numbers of my age meant nothing; I barely gave it a thought. But you see this year is troubling. My mother passed away at 58. I was born in 1958 and in three days I will turn 58. Is this some sort of sign? Paranoia is tapping me on the shoulder. It feels like a bad omen, like signs leading to the Bates Motel where life expectancy isn’t on the list of recreational activities. At 58 I am only beginning to discover what I was meant for, there has to be more time. I mentioned my worry to a few friends and they said they felt the same way when a parent predeceased them and they became the same age as when they passed and then they try to brighten my day by saying I am much healthier than my poor mom had been and perhaps this is true. I hope it’s true! I can’t die yet….my pups need me and all my rug hooking friends might miss me…… Hopefully Sunday when I turn 58, it will be nothing more than a change of number, not the stars aligning to foil me.
Good lord, after all the backbreaking work I did on that boat, working my fingernails down to nubs and sweating like a leaking hose in the sweltering sun, I better live to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Thinking the next Mrs. Little will reap my reward is getting my knickers in a knot. I said to hubby one night on the boat as I was doing a last bit of waxing the cockpit in the dark with only a flashlight to illuminate the area, rubbing until my arms almost fell off, “You’ll be lucky to find another woman to do this kind of manual labour, working like a man beside you. He agreed. I have a whole year to worry about being 58 and if things don’t go well for me, you’ll have big shoes to fill wifey #3, and you’d better like poodles!