‘OLD’ ISN’T A DIRTY WORD

Aging. Getting comfortable in your own skin. How exactly do you do that when it’s ever changing, and you don’t have a chance to get used to it before it shifts again? Why as 50 is intruding quickly upon me (21 months away to be exact) do I make comparisons between a threadbare, comfortable chair and myself? You know the one most of us have: A family heirloom you can’t part with, or one that is simply too comfortable and broke in by the shape of your ass it’s irreplaceable. Over the years you’ve cleaned it, covered worn areas with doilies, etc. Eventually relying on an entire slipcover to disguise it’s age. So too I feel kept and slipcovered: Shaped by my surroundings (people and places), and comfortable to those who know me. Slipcovered in anti-aging creams, age-defying makeup, under wire bra’s, and hair color. I can’t really laugh too loud at celebrities who don hair extensions, cram their asses in Spanx, get botox injections, tummy tucks, and face lifts. After all, aren’t what us regular women doing just a welfare version of the same?

     Other than the annoying task of upkeep, in a lot of ways aging isn’t too bad I suppose. It does have it’s perks: For most of us children are on their way out of the house or already gone, which leaves more you time. We’re wiser and hopefully more confident. Other women are less catty because you no longer pose a threat like you once did. You can generally speak your mind and it raises little eyebrow because you’ve now earned the right in the eyes of society to be a bitch. You’re almost entitled to be cranky now.

     You know the only thing that really bothers me about aging is looking like a sourpuss of sorts compared to those around me who are still in denial of the process we’re going through. They poo poo every gripe I have about it. They tell me they feel better than ever. I say, “Hey, that’s great. More power to ya.” They tell me they think they’ve never looked better. I say, “Hey, I’m glad you’re so confident.” They say, “You’re only as old as your feel.” I respond, “..er..what?” Oh, hell no! You’re not laying that on me, because I didn’t feel old until I was old.

     I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by saying, I don’t care how young you feel, the fact that you can’t pull off a school girl uniform any longer without looking like a complete looney-toon means your old. Not just old…DAMN OLD! I think it’s wonderful that your mind works differently than mine and you can convince yourself you’re still young, thereby making it easier to walk into old age with a smile on your face because your oblivious and in denial. Sorry, I’m a realist…and cannot. I’m going to dig in my heels and be drug by force, if necessary, because I understand what being old means; you’re closer to taking a dirt nap. Silly me, but I don’t see that as a reason to smile.

     I see no shame in admitting I’m getting old, making fun of myself, and having occasional bouts of pissiness over it. If it makes those of you who are clinging to your youth and the image you had of yourself ten, twenty years ago uncomfortable, how about keeping that opinion to yourself. Don’t try and coax me into your delusion. Don’t shake your head and try to make me feel like a pessimist. I don’t agree with you, but do I snicker to your face? Hell no, I have the courtesy to do it behind your back.

     What I want to know is, when did OLD become a dirty word? Both my parents got old. My sisters and their husbands, my brother and his wife; all in their fifties and sixties are old. Some of my most cherished friends, old..old..old.. Sorry, but I have and always will consider old after forty. That’s when the eyes start to fail you, the body starts to ache, gravity takes hold of you, and your mood starts to change. When your body is starting to tell you you’re old…well then your OLD, and you’d better start listening to it!

     I don’t think getting old is so much the culprit of your fear, as how you’ve been taught to view it. Let’s face it; Mom and Pop didn’t exactly set a standard for what growing old could look like. I remember my mother at my age: Polyester pants and house robes. Went and had her hair washed and styled once a week, and every morning on the off days would find her in the bathroom wasting half a can of Aqua Net trying to spray and shift the waves back into place. ((Ewwww!!! The horror of it!)) I shudder thinking about it even today. Wouldn’t that shit itch?

     I am my mother’s daughter in a lot of ways: I have her small frame and delicate hands. I have her warrior attitude and sometimes foul mouth. I was blessed with her generous side and forgiving nature. I am a nurturer like she was. That is pretty much where the comparison ends. You’ll never see me in polyester; I like tight-fitting, low-rise jeans. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find me in the summertime with my hair in a skull bandana, and a tiny, tank top slung low to show some cleavage and my tattoos, riding on the back of an old Harley. I don’t wear shirts that read, “World’s greatest MOM!” Mine have captions like, “ I have the Pussy so I make the rules!” My idea of an evening out is pitcher beer and pool, not bingo. I am my mother’s daughter, but I am also me. Getting Old shouldn’t be the words responsible for your fear. Acting Old should be.

     All of you continue to be sheep and stand on the assembly line of life being pushed forward with a smile on your face, completely unaware that time is passing you by, if that’s what you choose. Not me. I’ll be the one on the back of the scoot bitching about growing old, my loose skin flapping in the wind, flipping you off as I pass by.

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