Wrestling with 60
"Sometimes you start with the outside and you get it right. You tend to the spirit through the body. It's polishing the healthy young skin of that girl who was just here a moment ago, who still lives inside." Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
In five months I will be sixty years old. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.
There are definitely some blessings and I try to remind myself of them.
- It has been seven years since my last bout with cancer. I give thanks for my continued remission, and for the good health I am now enjoying.
- When I turn 60 I will be eligible to take classes at the senior center. There was a time in my life when I would be embarrassed to admit this but, hey, they have some great offerings at a reasonable cost.
- I will be allowed to pay the senior price for a movie ticket. And get a discount at our local grocery store on Tuesdays.
- I am more comfortable in my own skin now then at any other time in my life.
- I still have all my hair, all my teeth and my original hips and knees.
For all of the above reasons and more, I am grateful. If you were to ask how many years old I feel inside, I'd respond about 25. I feel young inside. The voice I hear inside of my head is a young one, one who still gets excited over Christmas and new adventures and is still curious about so many things.
But then I look in the mirror. And I see the signs of aging.
I see the dark circles under my eyes and the myriad of age spots that I pretend are merely freckles. The furrow between my brows formed from years of being a worrier. The laugh lines around my mouth that deepen each year. I know hidden beneath my dark brown hair is a full head of gray and my hearing is not what it used to be.
When I look in the mirror I feel old and I understand a little bit why so many women resort to aids such as botox and chemical peels to fight off the advancement of their years.
Aging isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I hate to admit it, but my self-image has taken a hit this year. I'm discouraged by the reflection I see looking back at me. The thing is, I don't want to be this way. I want to be that woman who lets her hair go gray and walks with a confidence that she is beautiful just the way she is. I want to view my more rounded curves as being lovely, not a sign of my weight gain and I want to dress in soft fabrics that drape and comfort me rather than try to fit into a pair of the latest skinny jeans.
What I need is an attitude adjustment, but before I can embrace a new outlook I also know that I need to allow myself time to miss the younger, youthful me. Because transitions can be difficult to navigate, especially the transition into our older (yet wiser) years.
And when I am through feeling sorry for myself, I need to be thankful for the following: that my laugh lines were caused by many moments of merriment and joy, and the dark circles can be lightened by a good concealer. That the furrow between my brows is evidence of how much I care and worry about the people I love. I need to remember that whenever I smile I look ten years younger and, luckily, I smile a lot.
As for letting the gray show? Well, one step at a time.
“Intelligence, goodness, humanity, excitement, serenity. Over time, these are the things that change the musculature of your face, as do laughter and animation and especially whatever peace you can broker with the person inside.
It’s furrow, pinch and judgment that make us look older — our mothers were right. They said that if you made certain faces, they would stick and they do. But our mothers forgot that faces of kindness and integrity stick as well.”
— Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
Sending a little love your way,