With sagging boobs and slightly drooping biceps, transition lenses, graying hair, and knee supports, I am able to move under the radar in the greater world. This gives me lots of room to live as I wish, without interference or judgement. It’s like driving an old station wagon across the border. The guards can’t imagine you could up to anything.
Recently my little granddaughters noticed two gold crowns in my mouth and asked with delight where I got them. They thought my golden teeth were glamorous, a sparkling accessory I must be so pleased with. If I told them there was one cracked tooth for each of my kids, they would have gaped at me. Since there was no way to explain it to a 2 and 4 year old, I offered a simple answer and enjoyed their dear hearts.
I’ve suddenly found myself, not without some consternation, at an age I could never have imagined being, as a senior. Physical changes happened gradually, until voila, here I am, a fully formed, cushy bossomed granny, who knows how to make noodles from scratch, but can’t outrun a 4 year old.
To manage my new status I’ve begun to research heavy duty wrinkle creams and watch YouTube tutorials on the most effective non surgical treatment for jowls. I’ve also learned the best way to suck up my chin and belly, and tilt my head, for optimum selfie success.
I was forced to accept my great becoming when crepe-like skin began to appear on the soft underbelly of my upper arms. Even if I feel 40 inside, it was time to accept my body, committed to linear time, has its own agenda.
This uber thin skin on the inside of my arms feels more delicate than a newborn baby’s belly, and my little girls love to stroke them when we’re reading together. They go into a lovely trance space, and I’ve wondered if it takes them back to the womb, where it’s cozy and the body floats with invisible support, feeling so completely safe. For me the sensation of being stroked is equally brilliant, and reminds me that I used to rub my own Grandma’s arm for comfort. Must be another rite of passage.
Then my brain flooded with clear memories of being a hapless student in Miss McDonald’s Grade 7 class. At the end of the day she used to extend her arm across the open doorway of the classroom to form a bridge. Her upper arm hung down like a wrinkled old elephant ear, taunting us to skitter out without making contact. She was able to keep her old flesh in slight motion, making it even more terrifying. I feared making contact with her almost as much as asking to “borrow” a Kleenex or seek permission to pee.
Just when I am enjoying some of the perks of being 65, like a free ride on the ferry and discounts on my bank fees and car insurance, I am reminded of one of the most challenging aggravations of aging, the gradual loss of memory.
Accessing nouns and names now requires nimble substitutions in a conversation. Did they notice? Are they waiting patiently and sympathetically for the work around? Or the worst, am I getting Alzheimer’s? This is the bottom of the slippery slope. All these thoughts are so demoralizing until one gets a grip.
I no longer accept bets or state emphatically that I’m right about everything. For someone who’s always had an excellent memory, this is destabilizing at the very least. I’ve discovered the only strategy is to employ humility and humour. In other words, just bloody grin and admit it!
Bless YouTube for tutorials on how to reclaim your brain/sanity. This is a wonderful resource. Sometimes I laugh at how many vitamins and herbal remedies I take, but hey, I’ll do whatever I can. The latest is a tincture called “Clear Thinker” from Ravensong Seeds and Herbals. It tastes terrible, like Buckley’s cough syrup, and it is my hope it will work as well.
My current focus is to maintain kindness in everyday thinking, particularly as I think of myself. I know there is not one step of the way where I didn’t do my best, although it may have been misguided from time to time. I’ve forgiven myself and will continue to do so, as my best wills out. Acceptance is now my middle C.
There’s been a helluva lot of living along the way, and here I am, still alive and still tormenting my kids, still learning and trying to do what I know to live happily ever after, fly under the radar, at the speed my corn broom allows.
I’m gratified that with age and experience there has been plenty of lessons learned. If you’re my age or older, you already know this. I try to offer my hard earned wisdom appropriately now, mostly only if asked. It helps that my autonomic nervous system has stabilized somewhat since retirement. But since I share my Dad’s passionate commitment to speaking truth, I am still quite capable of interjection if I think something needs to be said.
A big part of what I’m learning is to speak with grace. No telling, no criticism. This goes back to my mantra of being kind as much as humanly possible, and in many cases, shutting right up.
This Matilija poppy reminds me that I’m strong and vital and beautiful in spite of some wrinkled edges. It’s all about a glowing heart, and it’s so satisfying to realize my life thus far, has been lived wholeheartedly.
At times I’m in awe I arrived at this respect worthy age, having challenged at least nine lives along the way. I feel reverence, a kind of holiness in the living, especially the mistakes.
While kindness and love are still my guiding principles, what I want to segue into now is more fun and laughter, and whatever good things come along with that.
Blessings friends. Thanks for following along.
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