The cruise through middle age has offered some wonderful stops for the enlightenment of my mind, but it’s been no pleasure trip for the physical body. At this very moment my soul blossoms as my looks dwindle and I’ve been forewarned of rougher waters ahead.
First, I must confess that I am vain, so let’s get that out of the way. I am not proud of it, but it is a fact. I suppose it was inevitable since my mother never stepped outside to the mailbox without makeup and my grandmother wore heels and jewelry every day of her life. Okay, I’m exaggerating (a little). But if I die tomorrow, I truly believe the hairspray industry would suffer a significant hit. My mother is a beautiful woman, as was her mother, without jewelry, heels, makeup or hairspray. Genetics have been good to me, so I am not complaining. Like many of you on the same leg of this journey, you know that almost every week there is a new surprise which clearly says things will never be the same. I will share a couple with you.
I have been Spinning as a form of exercise for years. Last week in class I caught my image in the mirror. As I stood running on the bike, my hands in position two with back straight, I saw an alarming thing. It was two things, actually; two small things that loom large in my memory. My boobs were jiggling vigorously beneath my sports bra. This had never happened in the past. No, it’s not the sports bra. I thought of that, but they all produce the same results. Oh well.
Over the summer I was lounging by the pool when I noticed dirt on my leg. Actually, I thought it was a line caused by an ink pen or magic marker. I casually reached down to wipe it away, but it stubbornly remained. I generously Iicked my thumb and rubbed the spit hard on my leg to erase it. WTH?! I looked a little closer, but didn’t trust what I was seeing. (That’s because I can’t see worth shit anymore but that’s a whole other story). I pulled out my trusty reading glasses and stared in shock at the blue vein marring the landscape of my once smooth, hot, long and shapely leg. Ahhhh! This is war! Age has been playing its tricks for a while now, but my legs? These were my trademark back in the day (that was a Wednesday, by the way, according to Dane Cook).
The saddest thing is I never appreciated my legs when I was younger. Truth be told, I never appreciated my looks at all. I spent my twenties and part of my thirties cursing the mirror, comparing myself to others in a state of insecurity. Men told me I was beautiful. Strangers told me I should be a model. Friends assured me I was pretty. I didn’t see it or believe any of them. I know now that I was wrong. So what’s the takeaway here? What is the lesson? I think there are a couple of lessons that we, as women, can learn.
First, physical beauty is overvalued and does not define us. Our identity should be based on our character and the kindness of our soul. (And I’m not saying that to make myself feel better about the dwindling and jiggling and stuff). Secondly, we must take off the blinders, reject the images of the media (mostly computer generated, by the way), and quit being our biggest critics. Oh, and don’t watch Housewives of Beverly Hills or any of those ridiculous shows. Those women don’t have a clue. They are so crazy lost in their pathetic, shallow lives of unfulfilling superficiality that even I, in all my vanity, feel sorry for them. Rant over.) I would love sometimes to go back and re-live a few of my early days, but this time in a state of appreciation. I missed out on so much walking around self-consciously and without confidence.
What really matters though is what I do with ‘now’. Today I am as physically beautiful and healthy as I will ever be again. Therefore, I vow each day to appreciate that which I have, not what I’ve lost. I also promise to think of my worth as the essence of my soul; all that I believe, think, do and create for myself and the world. Oh, and I also vow to use less hairspray, definitely less hairspray.