Since I'm now smack-dab in the middle of my thirties, I am thinking more and more about aging, both physically and emotionally. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that my motto is that growing older is mandatory, but you can be immature forever. That is to say, I believe that you're only as old as you feel.
When my grandmother was ninety, she told me that in her head, she was the same person she'd always been. It was hard for her to believe when she looked in the mirror that the old woman staring back at her was actually her. The body ages, but who you are at your core never changes, from the time that you're a little child in diapers to the time that you're an old person... also in diapers. Of course, soon after that conversation, Grandma's dementia worsened and she started calling me Doris and getting dressed and ready for church in the middle of the night, every night. But whatever.
I've never had a problem with aging, but maybe that's because I wasn't showing any actual signs of aging, physically, until recently. I consider myself lucky to be alive at all considering my reckless and rather misspent youth and a pretty serious health problem that I overcame early on in my adulthood. I'll tell you about that someday, but not today; it's too nice out and I'm just not in the mood to go there. Just know that I've always felt glad to be alive and have welcomed each year with open arms.
Then the gray hairs started popping up along the part in my hair, and I said, "So, what? That's why they invented hair dye!" I started dying my hair about 3 years ago to cover those 3-4 strands that irked me so, but I'd go every 8-10 weeks between hair appointments, because they just weren't that noticeable. Now I go every 6 weeks and the little devils start showing up after a month, but I ignore them. I thought about plucking them but realized I'd quickly go bald or have a 2" wide part if I kept that up, so I decided against it.
Then came the "smile lines." I know we are our own worst critics, and my friends kindly tell me that my fine lines are hardly noticeable unless you get up very close to me, but... they're totally there. Not just the lines around my eyes, but two very distinct ones on my forehead, a result of having the same general hairstyle for my entire life. I even experimented with full bangs to hide those little lines, but it wasn't for me. I'm a creature of habit, and I just can't do it.
Now, I have been moisturizing faithfully for my entire adult life, I wear sunscreen, and I purposely wear giant sunglasses with UV protection. However, I love sunshine, I love laughing, and my mixed pedigree of all-fair-skinned nationalities pretty much dictates that I will not go through life unblemished. But I try. I cover up, I seek shade. My next step is a burka, and I WILL ROCK IT.
Yes, I'm getting older. My body bears the scars of a lifetime of love, laughter, and hardship. I'm grateful to it for all that it has done for me, including bearing two healthy and robust children who have contributed to the graying of my hair more than anything else.
The good news is that I still feel young, and I intend to keep it that way. I still love a good time, I still love getting out and seeing new things, I still love hitting water slides with the kids and being able to race them to the car. Oh, and lately I keep getting carded when I buy alcohol, which totally rocks! Last night I got carded at a restaurant, and all last week I got carded every time I bought a bottle of wine or beer for my husband. Clearly, these teenaged waitresses and store clerks weren't leaning in close to peer at my fine lines, and that makes me very, very happy.
"We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"
(that quote is for Cary, who loves that movie.)
Gotta run... the sun is shining and I am going to take my boys out and do something fun. Wrinkles be damned!