I just had an epiphany coming out of the hopelessly crowded Safeway. Dum da da dum: I’m allowed to be old and worn out and have a fat tummy. It’s fine. It’s allowed, allowable. Made me want to sink down on the pavement and cry from relief.
Fuck the Pinterest platitudes. Fuck chin up. Live life, yes, this mysterious, unpredictable, imperfect, inexplicable, mysterious, miracle. Live it with its sore feet, wrinkles, fat, discomfort, cruelty, funny stories, babies, puppies, half-finished chores, and Safeway parking lot epiphanies.
And here’s my dog because It’s also allowable if my photo doesn’t fit my theme, but he does look tired and in complete acceptance of that fact, no?
I wonder how we get to be who we are and if we change over time. Am I what I always was, or am I irrevocably changed by the ups and downs of life? Recently I needed some social media profile photos, so I took some selfies, which I don’t like to do. Because of their being black and white, and something in my expressions reminded of a set of baby pictures I had hiding in the closet somewhere. I rifled around in the closet and am sharing with you the comparison I found.
To me I look the same mostly. I can still see innocence in my face; I can still see curiosity and wonder. I can also see lines, and age. Mostly I can see that all of these years–the pains and the laughter–haven’t really changed me. That somehow, we are what we are–and this is what we bounce back to when we bounce back. Sometimes in recent years I wondered if I had any bounce-back left. Looking at these two faces, which are really one, I know I do.
Do you think that life has changed you or are you still the same, deep down? How about on the surface?
I’ve been on the planet for 48 years. My hair is going grey. My face and other parts are sagging. Wrinkles appear with zits on top of them. My hip doesn’t work right. My feet hurt. My fingers are stiff. A while back I had been feeling all of this keenly and knew that I had to change the internalized images I held about aging. Somehow, the sexist, ageist culture had seeped into my deepest sense of what aging means. I was feeling washed up, used up, old, dry, grey.
Of course I know that all of this is an illusion. That it doesn’t matter. That life is impermanent. But I also live in the real world and in the cyber world. The world of lovely young airbrushed images.
In this cyber-real world, what did I do to cheer myself up, to change those internal pictures? Therapy? Church? Support groups? No, I created a Pinterest page called “Aging Gracefully Feistily and….” Now when I feel that anti-aging voice of internalized oppression creeping into my thoughts, I turn to the internet. Check out my lovely board of feisty, fun, life-loving over 40 women…. They are an inspiration.