Aging

Cheerful slug, huh?

But it's been something with which I've been preoccupied, so thought I'd open the discussion.

Yesterday, I received an email from my friend Stephanie alarmed by a dream that turned her out like a wrinkly Johnny Cash, only blonde. Stephanie looks nothing like Johnny Cash, though I believe she's a fan. She is not blonde. Nor is she wrinkly. I think it's a creativity dream. Kind of a "I-hear-the-train-a-comin'" warning shot about time flying and you better get crackin' on fulfilling your creative life or you'll end up like looking like Johnny Cash. Or something.

I could be projecting here, because I have these dreams all the time. In my dreamscapes, lately, I look really young or really old or really thin or really fat and people think my writing is brilliant or that it sucks or I've finished my novel or haven't or I'm working on a campus and things go terribly wrong, but I look really good doing it. Or something. A subconscious is a terrible thing to waste, isn't it?

At a dinner party recently, Mitch was talking to our hostess who expressed her annoyance with a 60-year-old friend of hers, a single gentleman, who, when she inquired whether he'd like to meet an attractive woman of similar vintage, explained to her in no uncertain terms his criteria for potential dates. Wants 'em younger.

Another friend of mine who has single girlfriends in this age group confirmed the phenomenon. Her take: "Like 60-year-old men look so great naked"?

Much of this fretting has to do with the fact that Mitch and I are staring down significant birthdays in the not-too-distant future. The AARP birthdays. The birthday where, all your more senior girlfriends report, everything sags, deteriorates, shuts down, wrinkles up, expands, contracts, turns brown, falls out, dries up. Or something. Oh goody, can't wait. I

t's hard enough to feel valued as a woman in this culture--hell, most cultures--without taking one's beauty quotient into account. Not to mention the nagging tempus fugit messages bubbling up at night. I really don’t know where I’m going with this, but would appreciate any thoughts you might have about keeping it together while the bod falls apart.

Comments (3) -

May 6. 2008 04:42

Susan

Wow. I'm with you on all of this - in fact I'm significantly ahead of you in the age department, having just turned - ahem - sixty. And, yes, this preoccupation of men with youth and beauty is upsetting, to say the least. And in Bangkok, from whence I have just returned, there are lots of gorgeous, slender, beautiful girls and lots of silver-haired men accompanying them. It sucks. I can only say that I'm glad I have ONE older man who's crazy about me - my husband. And I know you have the same. Maybe that's as good as it gets.

Susan |

May 6. 2008 14:48

Deb

Ah. Having had some health problems in my late teens and twenties, I feel pretty darn good at almost 60. I do notice that yoga and good food and a reasonable amount of sleep and general attention to keeping stressors from taking over help a lot . . . or, rather, skipping them produces what other folks complain about as "aging" problems.

Deb |

May 8. 2008 00:52

I'm with you, sista.  I just hit 58 and have only two ways of comforting myself about all of this.  First, I'm alive and healthy, and a lot of my beloved friends aren't.  Second, when I turn 68, I'll probably wish I look like I do at 58.  And that is all I can offer.  Oh...and my primary preoccupation being my chin(s)...I found Nora Ephron's book "I Feel Bad About My Neck" absolutely hilarious...although not all my friends felt the same.  And PS:  I'm getting ready to post about the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and low and behold, the one picture of me features my upper arms bearing a close resemblance to my thighs.  Imagine that joy!  

martie |

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