Sunday, November 7, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

We are all gonna get old. This is a reality I cannot contend with, but I don't have to like the effects of it.  As I sit here and bemoan my looming fate, I realize getting older is not really what I have a problem with. At thirty-seven, I feel as though I have physically reached the crescendo of my youth. All facets of my personal wherewithal are working together in perfect harmony--health, beauty, youth, wit, drive, intelligence and chutzpah. Maybe thirty-seven is not even my summit but its a great plateau! I've actually not felt more secure with my looks, style, personality, spirituality and relationships than ever before. For the first time in all my life I feel like I, at last, have the confidence and perspective to achieve anything I put my mind and hands to do.  I want to keep this feeling and I want to stay this youthful and driven and fashionable forever, I want to vacuum pack it and preserve it until I'm dead.

Unfortunately, mother nature isn't fair. We all were given our lot in looks, weight, skin complexion, color and elasticity. We got what we got. But the good news is, it's totally up to us what we choose to do with it! Some people just. don't. care. More power to them. Some people care a lot, like me. I don't think either camp is wrong. Bummer is, we live in a hypocritical society. Whether you don't like the color of your hair or the crooked teeth you were born with, no one will fault you for investing in a lifetime supply of environmentally hazardous hair dye or if you slap down 5K on a set of braces. But! Beware of the two-faced judgy folks if (God forbid) you're vain enough to wear hair extensions or you shell out 10K for a face lift. Let's focus on the people who are born with a slow metabolism for a minute.  They have the misfortune of not being able to eat the same portions as a normal person without gaining weight. They have to fight off every extra pound with dumbbells and rice cakes. Yet, there's always that holy heath guru out there to shame them for electing to have liposuction or gastric bypass when diet and exercise fail.  The double-standard's even extend to those of us who are born without melanin. We have to slather on fake tanner to achieve any kind of color beyond Elmer's glue.  But it always seems to be the melanin-rich sun worshipping type who roll their eyes at us and insist our skin looks better in a shade closer to the Pillsbury dough boy.  It feels to me like there is an underlying conspiracy out there amongst women to keep each other dowdy. 

It's widely presumed the elderly don't care about their appearance. I disagree. If you enjoy looking your best and you like wearing makeup; you're not going to just wake up one day and suddenly stop liking the stuff or quit caring about the way you look simply because you had a birthday that threw you over the edge!  Many of the old ladies we see hobbling out there would've loved to have been privy to the modern science, technique and innovation of today that has made beauty and youthful looks achievable for virtually all women in this generation. I marvel at the girls in my sphere who are secure in their own 'green' skin. I daydream how much simpler my schedule could be if I would do away with my own self-maintenance routine.  But it works for me and to whatever degree the maintenance is, I am comfortable in it. Alas, there will always be those negative nancy-pants out there who attempt to goad and guilt people like me into believing organic and au-natural are the only 'authentic' routes to true beauty. Why, I wonder, do they care so much what lengths other women will go to feel good about themselves?

One pro looking-old argument is that people cannot have perspective to see the bigger picture without achieving wrinkles first. With wrinkles come respect and others will take you more seriously. I agree with this theory, sort of. I think the real point is that we gain precious wisdom as we age. With age naturally come wrinkles and perspective that the elderly are renowned for.  But I protest that however much proof those wrinkles are worth, one does not need to keep their wrinkles to keep their perspective. They are not co-dependant. As time and gravity are tugging at my own face, I'm well aware that Botox is just a phone call away and studies prove it wont rob me of any insight I've gained through experience. I actually do appreciate all the benefits that come with age and for this reason I wouldn't trade my smile lines for the all wisdom I've accumulated in the last decade and a half ...but who said I have to trade anything when there is Juvederm?! I cannot stop the world from turning or the birthdays to stop coming at me like a mack truck but, by-golly, I don't have to look like I've been hit by one!

With the exception of three of my dearest friends, I cannot say I know anyone else who is excited about pending wrinkles, jowls, turkey neck, double chin, furrowed brow, droopy eyelids, saggy boobs and flat butt in their inevitable future. These are not attributes, battle scars or rights of passage one needs to be worthy of grandchildren or the authority to put little whipper snappers in their place. I cannot stop myopia and menopause from setting in. I'll surely loose some hearing, my hair will thin and my entire body will eventually shrivel like a dry prune. I'll probably drive slow, end up in diapers and get dementia like all the other women in my family who made it past ninety but dang it, I still want to be beautiful throughout it all!

With all the cruel fate the elderly are dealt, our appearance is one shred of dignity we still have some control over. It all just boils down to how much we are willing to pay and how badly we desire to maintain it. I personally want to be carded in disbelief for my senior discount! I want the younger women in my circle to be amazed by my age and ask my advice on how I stay looking so young.  And I sure as heck don't want the snooty sales girls in the department stores to look down their noses at me as I peruse through the junior apparel. In fact, I don't want them to even question whether I'm too long in the tooth be shopping there. Who made the rule that senior citizens have to shop at Dress Barn, anyway?

I 'get it' that there will eventually be a point of no return where I'll look silly in a pair of platform heels, skinny jeans, and low cut top. The day is coming where I'll  probably concede to shopping at Cold Water Creek  instead of Buckle for my wardrobe. If its true what they say about people not caring as much about style and aesthetics once you're old, then I'll be all the more genuine knowing that I'm keeping up the 'maintenance' for myself and not because it's what others expect of me...especially if those expectations are a shampoo set, a polyester blazer with matching elastic band slacks and a pair of crocs.

I guess my point here is; just because you're gonna get old doesn't mean you gotta look like it. I plan to enjoy the rest of my life, embrace my age and present my best-self. If that means I'm still a hot lookin' Nana at seventy-five that can get away with wearing trendy jeans and cute sweater from Urban Outfitters, I guarantee you I will command no less respect than my good friend in her moo-moo and floppy hat from Walmart. We'll both be toting our big purses with our little dogs except she will look like my mom and I will brag, "Oh no, we are the same age!"

1 comment:

VanGootz said...

Just accept this compliment--do not counter it in any way: I'm jealous and I bow to you.

So that was pretty funny ;) I love the word "dowdy" and the pic of that old lady was spot-on!