I aspire to age gracefully. Embracing each year with open arms, not folded, with eagerness, not dread, demonstrates a zeal for life, a confidence in stature, that only comes with the experience and wisdom aging brings.
I don’t look the same as I did last year, and already changing for the mirrors waiting in the next. Photographs remind me that elasticity in skin is like a fading friend, lacking the loyalty necessary for longevity and support.
Mark Twain said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” Most days I believe that I’ve earned the lines on my face honestly, laughing more often than not, leaving creases around eyes that speak truthfully of surrounding joy. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree with Ninon de Lendos who observed, “If God had to give a woman wrinkles, He might at least have put them on the soles of her feet.”
Just when I think I am nonchalantly gliding through the maturing process, accepting with contentment current stage and age of life, my children poignantly –and bluntly - point out the changes that seem to take them by surprise. Not in an effort to hurt my feelings or make me aware of mounting flaws, but merely in that matter-of-fact tone of voice reserved for report of the unusual.
In a recent conversation with Chandler, our nine-year-old son, he stopped talking in mid sentence about his football card collection to stare intently at my eyes. He paused for a few seconds and then said, “ There sure are a lot of squiggles on your face.” Many of which he caused, I might add.
Mary Mac is fascinated with the various hairs that sprout from my person, a phenomenon that only werewolves would accept as normal. She has pointed out the fancy “fur” that grows in my nose, witnessed firsthand the removal of “coffee grinds” above my lip and more than once inquired about the reasons God would want “hairs to grow from those freckles on your face.” To be fair, I plan to ask Him that very same question at the pearly gates one day. (I also will track down Eve to demand restitution for PMS, birthing pains and monthly bloating.)
Feeling as though my hair color should match that of my runaway eyebrows, and beyond appropriate time to tame the grey, I had my hair darkened to its original tint. Arriving home with a look I thought was somewhat subtle, my oldest son, Chase, glanced in my direction, and said, “You look like you are wearing a black helmet.”
Knowing that a black helmet was better than one peppered with grey, I confidently responded, “This is my original hair color. God made me this way.”Not missing a beat, and in classic Chase manner, he retorted, “Well he made you just one pair of combat boots away from being a Goth. If you get a nose ring, you’re done”.
P.G. Wodehouse is credited with the following quote: “There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine.” I would like to add that this would also remedy squiggles, nose fur, female mustaches, and random hairs. As a bonus side effect, halitosis would be but a distant, offensive memory.
Despite ongoing annotations from my offspring about the gerontology aspects occurring right before their too observant eyes, the goal remains the same: I want to age with dignity and grace. Even if it means that in the process, through comments made and observations offered, I develop skin that is supernaturally thick, yet hangs a little loose.