Monday, May 11, 2015

Aging Disgracefully

My 50th birthday came and went and this whole "aging" thing really wasn't an issue with me.

I didn't feel my age, I was trying new things, going new places, I felt vibrant and my inner 27-year-old self was alive and well.

Little things started alerting me to the fact that others didn't see me the same way I felt about myself.

The police officer who assumed all the toys in our playhouse (some kids had snuck inside and set various items on fire) were my grandchildren's.

Then there was some idle chatter about my age when I was getting to know some fellow-students that same year. Normally the conversation goes something like this, "You sure don't look that [49 years] old!" This time, there was a knowing nod among these strangers in my midst. Like "We were sure wondering how old you were!"

I laughed it off and kept living my merry little life inside my delusional bubble.

I took up Zumba with a passion and started noticing there weren't many people there who were older than me. I made a valiant attempt to become a Zumba instructor and I was definitely the oldest in the room within many of the classes I took.

I would make flip comments about my age to my young Zumba pals and they would acknowledge how great it was to see "someone my age" setting such an example.

Yes, basically you could have knocked me over the head with a big rock and I still didn't see what the rest of the world was seeing. I felt young inside but my age was catching up with my face and body.

I don't deny that when I looked in the mirror or caught a glimpse of a really bad any photo, I knew the truth. I was aging. But I still thought it was just par for the course. I was over 50. I may have been fooling myself as to how young I felt, but my face was giving away all of my secrets.

The reminders of my aging body have been pelting me in the face pretty steadily the past little while.

Young children ask if I have grandchildren. A sales clerk innocently asked me if I had mentioned I was retired. No one questions when I order the senior portions off the menu (I am always very careful to say "I would like to order the senior portion [not the senior meal!]" Please let it be known, I am not an actual senior.

My reality is that I went to my sister's, with the knowledge that I had a chin hair to contend with, but I completely forgot about it. When I remembered about it the next morning and went to pull it out, it was actually long enough that it was starting to curl. I looked like Buzz Lightyear!!

I got over that drama and quietly chuckled a self depreciating chortle to myself. And consoled myself that at least my chin hear was gray, so hopefully not too many people noticed.

Last weekend, I went out with a friend, see a musical group perform at a restaurant. I have been there and done that before and my neck always ends up very, very sore because you never get a "head on" view of the performers in a restaurant. I always end up with my head turned to one side for much too long. It is very uncomfortable and detracts from the whole musical experience. So this time, I slathered on a generous supply of Voltaren lotion. I noticed the Voltaren scent and once again, I chuckled to myself the lingering fragrance I was leaving behind was one of a "senior" nature.

I put on my comfy, worn out Dr. Sholl square toed, double wide black shoes with rocks in the heels (because they are so worn out) and I was off. No one would see my feet. We would be sitting in an awkward position at a table. 

I wore my most favorite clothes and I am pretty sure I decided to skip the accessories (earrings and lip gloss) in favor of lip balm and bare ear lobes.

Yes. That was me. The plain, old woman, smelling of Voltaren in her worn out old comfy shoes. Hey! At least I had a new haircut!! One clump of my bangs kept falling in my eyes and I felt like the sheepdog on the Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes show, but I thought I was exuding the essence of "someone who tried". Sort of.

I do now see the writing on the wall. This day was so close to coming, that it probably already came and went and I didn't even notice.

Yesterday, my brother and I went out for a Mother's Day breakfast with our mom. Our waitress was explaining the buffet and special deal for seniors. She was making a lot of eye contact with me and I thought this had a lot to do with the fact that I felt very dapper in my new T-shirt and some different earrings I had dug out of my earring box. And I felt happy. I was mentally buffing my nails on my shoulder feeling pretty good about myself.

Then my little disillusional bubble burst all over my face, when the waitress looked me in the eye and asked if I was 65 years old, to qualify for this special.

Yes, my dear sisters, you may laugh long and hard and loud. It is hilarious! 

I now officially look not only my age, but eleven years beyond it!! 

Perhaps I need another new prescription for my glasses. I knew I was aging but I really didn't grasp how badly it is going for me.

At least no one can call me a grandma ....

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