The Aging Game

Wrinkles are life’s measurable outcome.

I would say my face started visibly aging when I turned 40. (My soul’s age is skipping in a groove somewhere in adolescence.) People were always telling me how young I looked. I’ll throw out a few examples:

1) In our first year of marriage, my husband had a picture of me on his desk. A man in his office picked up the photo and said, “You’ve got a good lookin’ daughter there”. My husband and I were both 25 at the time. My picture disappeared from his office that day and hasn’t been seen since. Should I be concerned?

2) A cute, little boy came to my door selling honey and asked if my mother was home. I was 37 with three births hanging over my belt. I said, “No” which was the truth and he accepted this and abruptly left. Am I a meany? Indubitably. I’m a money-lacking, honey-hating meany.

3) I got out of my car at the library, just as an older woman was walking up. She looked bewildered and said, “You have a driver’s license?” I’ve chosen to take this as a compliment and have only momentarily considered the alternative, because I know, at first sight, I don’t appear disturbed.

When I boldly stepped up to the big 40, I began to see subtle changes in my appearance everyday. When you pile subtle on subtle, you get my current state. I look in the mirror wrinklesface-984031_12802and being a writer, I’m tempted to start a paragraph on my forehead. Rivulets trickle down through the alarming black trenches that are being dug under my eyes by the evil black trench fairies. I notice people who have ten years on me with chiseled parenthesis further separating their eyebrows. Whenever I encounter someone like this, I wanna grab a sharpie and fill in that blank between the parenthesis with a question mark. I tell myself to relax my forehead and eyebrows repeatedly to avoid looking permanently stern.

I’ve read that a woman must slather her hands with moisturizer and stick them in tube socks overnight to keep them from giving away her age. My hands are a blinking “I’m a shriveled up, apple core of a human being” sign. I haven’t tried the tube sock solution on my head yet, but I think the effects would be more damaging than helpful. With the night sweats I’m experiencing, I might just spontaneously combust and then I’d look like a wrinkled, burn victim.wrinklesanimal-1851495_12802

I catch my hands sneaking up to the skin on my neck which is starting to feel like the texture of raw poultry. I’ve seen people pulling on their own chicken skin and I would strongly advise against this. I know I’m being like a mother who tells her kid who is having oodles of fun making faces that he should stop or his face will stay like that. Someone should do a study. What if it’s true? Do you know what a flap of loose skin, found on roosters, turkeys, some dog and goat varieties, and even some humans, is called? A wattle. Do you want a wattle? I should think not. I’d give up that habitual wattle wiggling before it’s too late.

Do I care enough about the natural decay that I see taking place on my person to book an wrinklesscalpel-24257_12802appointment with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon? I don’t even take off my makeup before going to bed. I’d like my children to be able to go to college. The idea of someone carving my face up with a scalpel reminds me too much of CSI. I think women who use Botox or have plastic surgery done are giving away their age anyway. It looks unnatural. Most movie stars who have it done look worse to me, not better. They fiddle with their eyes, noses, lips, and chins and end up looking like a not so pretty caricature of themselves. Our skin isn’t supposed to be stretched taut. It’s supposed to be supple and soft and eventually weathered and capable of revealing the most nuanced emotions.

There’s nothing wrong with being healthy, taking care of yourself, and trying to look your best, but people are going crazy with the injecting and the cutting. I’ll mention here that I’m in no way an untouched Eve. I spackle on makeup everyday, shave my legs and my pits when I have to, and I’ve had my upper four front teeth done. I’ve succumbed as much as anyone to the message that my appearance isn’t quite good enough for public display. But I’m determined to allow my largest organ, my skin, to age as gracefully or ungracefully as it will.

My husband says he finds older women attractive (good, good). He says they possess an elegance and self-confidence that only comes with age. He says younger women look like children to him. Some of the wisest, most attractive, fun people I know are in their 70’s. Their battle scars, their marks of character, their wrinkles don’t affect my opinion of them. My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. She’s as warm and effervescent as sunshine and people of all ages are drawn to her. We were standing in the bathroom together and she frowned at her reflection and said, “I’m so wrinkled”. I countered her self-accusation by bringing up her age which I won’t share with you. I have no problem wrinklesmakeup-2589040_12802sharing my age and I don’t understand why others do. I’m 51 years proud and I’m merrily rolling along to 52 as I write this.

Do people look in the mirror and see their own corpses rather than the regal, worn but winning individuals they are? Do their reflections remind them that they don’t have much time left? Isn’t it perfect that as our beauty fades so does our vision. I’ve decided to look in the mirror with gentleness and kindness, to look past the uneven tone, fine lines, deep creases, and dark circles into my still vibrant soul. The package may be looking a little shabby, but it’s the contents that matter. Only a child plays with the box the gift came in at Christmas. Adults know that the good stuff is on the inside.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

Advertisements

With Rest Like This

I recently had a visit from the relatives. I don’t know how it’s for you, but I find it exhausting. It was fun, but it’s like eating too much–after awhile you start to feel sick. They left on Monday. It’s Thursday and I’m still recovering. There’s something wrong when a person has to recover from a holiday. We took our kids to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo this year. We did it in seven days. It was busy. All along the way, we were dazzled by creativity and enchanted by the magic of rest2make believe. We made some happy memories and I’m glad we took the trip, but I noticed the attractions begin to repel quickly. The noise-level, flashing lights, bright colors, and crowds of sweaty tourists are over-stimulating and that’s an understatement. There’s a lot of standing in line, straining to see, listening to whining and crying (I couldn’t help myself), interspersed with snippets of glee, spontaneous “oohs” and “ahhs”, and a year’s supply of french fries. We waited two hours to find Nemo and my daughter said when she found him, she would slap him. The cheery attendant standing nearby was horrified. Three days at the Magic Kingdom and we were sprinting for the drawbridge. We started using it as a disciplinary tool.

“I told you to stop it. Don’t make me take you back there.”

By the time we hit Sea World, we were so glad they had animals to look at. Our insides were scrambled. What is it with the ride thing, anyway? Are our lives so boring that we need to fly around at top speed in the equivalent of a gigantic blender to feel something? As an aside, don’t you find that many tourist attractions fail to live up to their advertising? rest3Those listed above are certainly the exceptions. We went to a corn maze once. The write up said it would be “fun for the whole family”. It seemed overpriced and the cashier gave us a discount, saying it wasn’t quite finished and she didn’t feel right about charging us the full amount. The maze was covered in jagged wood chips that stuck to my kid’s socks and gave them splinters. The train ride lasted about a minute as we chugged around a smelly slew. The budget ghost town was populated by what looked like corpses, dried-up, rotten, apple core faces with naked, bony hands and feet. Maggots would have been appropriate. Some of the scenes were so gruesome, I had to shield my children’s eyes. Talk about your creepy rip-off!

My favorite part of our California adventure was visiting the beach. We took the whole day. We chose a lonely stretch of ocean. The weather was mild and the sun was shining. The water was cold, but it was so blue it almost blended with the sky. The sound of the rest4waves keeping time caressed my bombed-out senses from their catatonic state. We spread out the towels. We set up the snacks. We laughed at my husband for once again buying yet another bag of inedible, chile and lime styrofoam that no one would help him eat. My oldest daughter shrieked and giggled as she chased the water in and out. My son dug deep, covering himself in the warm, wet sand. My youngest girlie collected shells with her daddy. I walked along the shore, relishing a few moments alone. We talked and rested. We could have used a few more days like that–the kind of day that makes your heart ache in a good way.

When we take a vacation, is it not because we’ve worked hard and need a break? Why do we work at our play and rest? Are we doomed to toil in everything we do? I believe part of the reason is the “get all you can out of life” mentality that’s so prevalent in our society today. There’s an urgency to this way of thinking that keeps us running. A person must see and do everything before she dies even if she ends up in a hospital with her left eye twitching, half her hair pulled out, and a draft whistling up her tuchus. All this go, go, going is enough to make us all sick, sick, sick.

I’m determined to put off the drab hospital gown indefinitely. There is wisdom in knowing your limits and they’re different for everyone. My life may not be as exciting as a travel blogger’s, but it’s a good one and I want to live it with a healthy mind and body. I’m thinking the key is to slow down in my down time so that when I return to work, I’m refreshed and ready to pick up where I left off.beach2764081_1280

I’m dreaming of the ideal holiday. Visit an interesting place. No racing from one attraction to another. No schedule. Discover as you go. Stop when you’re curiosity is aroused, not when the tour book tells you to. No guilt if you decide to take a pass. Have fun, but remember that too much tickling can be tiring. Eat good food. Take naps and walks. Be with the ones you love. Leave the work at work.

Author’s note: This piece was written when my children were small. It seemed appropriate to post it as I embark on a holiday. There is no post scheduled for next week. I hope to see you back here on July 9. Grace and peace, friends! 🙂

Complete the experience. Listen to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s Land of Opportunity.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

waves-311635_12802

Got Junk?

Does freaking out all the time make one a freak?

Self-awareness can be a scary venture. We all try to bury or look away from those things we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, if we want to grow in goodness and grace, we must take the time to examine who we have become. If it’s something we put off, because wagon-524514_19202we’re busy and reflection takes time and stillness, or because we’re afraid of what we might find, we will pay for it in our relationships. Too often, I’ve taken the train to destination unknown, all the while failing to note the scenery and I’ve ended up in Sorryville. It’s about being in the moment and it’s a matter of self-care. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.
Continue reading “Got Junk?”

The Scarf that Keeps on Giving

I have a scarf. It was purchased for me by a dear friend on one of her holidays. It’s a rainbow of fuchsia, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow. She said she saw it and it reminded her of my vibrant personality. I don’t wear scarves, because I have boobs and don’t wish to look like an 87-year-old Grandma with waist deep, wrung out, brightly-colored mammary glands. For a while, I wondered what to do with this scarf. It’s too beautiful to languish in a drawer and I would never re-gift it because I love my friend and appreciate her thoughtfulness. One day, I tied it in a bow and hung it on the bedpost next to my head. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded that I’m a beautiful, multi-faceted human being and that I have a friend who loves me. Do you own such a treasure? Is it out where you can see it?

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

It’s a New Day

We’re always trying to mark the passage of time. We’ve defined a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a month, and a year to keep track of the rising and setting of the sun, to quantify our inhale and exhale, the beating of our hearts. We celebrate when a fresh human being clocks in and when an old-timer moves on from the here and now. Ourclock-1274699_1280 birthday parties are records of our continuing existence and our age, among other things, defines us. In a culture which prizes the beauty and strength of youth, many of us try to keep the number of our days a secret through hair dye, wrinkle creams, trendy clothing, fitness, plastic surgery, and furious denial. If you don’t want others to know your age, I suggest you hide your photo albums when your friends come over or you’ll be providing them with before and after photos. From time cards at work to the renewal of our driver’s licenses, we’re reminded that time is passing.
Continue reading “It’s a New Day”

Ban the Bully

I was living in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’d just moved from Sterling Heights, Michigan midway through the 5th grade. Over that summer, my parents bought a house in another community and any headway I’d made in the friend department was lost as I changed schools again. I was to attend Grimsrud Elementary School just around the corner and down a long hill from our new home.
Continue reading “Ban the Bully”

Mirror, Mirror

I’m so tired of worrying about what I look like. I’ve developed a new strategy and so far, it’s working well. I’ve stopped looking.

I’m not very good at hygiene or any kind of self-care, for that matter. When bedtime toothbrush2shows up, I have the dexterity of a drunk ready to pass out and lose the ability to use my arms. The urge to go to sleep comes on me so suddenly, so swiftly, I can barely drop my clothes to the floor, much less operate a tooth brush. In the morning, my breath smells like a fart on amphetamines and the stink wafts out of my mouth as I do the clean up. Mint toothpaste is my friend.
Continue reading “Mirror, Mirror”