A few years back I reviewed a book called I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. Her musings about being a woman coping with a changing body, empty nest, menopause, and other tribulations (and joys?) of aging were interesting, but I confess they didn’t strike a chord with me. Not then. Ah, youth
But the other day, I walked out of the bathroom and caught a glimpse of my retreating self in a mirror—and stopped dead.
What. The. Heck?
What is wrong with my elbows? When did they become, well, saggy? Did I forget to moisturize? I went back and slapped a pound of cream on my arms, rubbing the stuff vigorously into my elbows.
Nope. Still the same.
And that’s when it hit me. I feel bad about my elbows.
And not just my elbows. Look —my knees! Whoa, when did THAT happen? And what—what —are those really wrinkles around my eyes? Worst of all-- is that the beginning of a -- double chin???
Maybe it’s time to pull that book off the shelf, dust it off, and read it again. I think I can relate to it now.
The nasty little Doubting Jade in my head sits on my shoulder and whispers, “you’re getting ooooold. You’re over the hill, past your prime. You’re the Crypt Keeper. Soon, people are going to call you ‘sweetie’ and aunty. Oh, wait, they already call you aunty,” she cackles.
I wallow in self-pity for another few minutes. And just as my fingers are about to Google “anti-wrinkle creams” and “Honolulu plastic surgeons,” the other voice in my head speaks up. The fierce one. The sensible one.
Fierce, sensible Jade kicks her obnoxious sister off my shoulder and takes control.
“Stop. Just, stop,” she scolds. “You’re being ridiculous.”
I know that.
Dwelling on natural changes or obsessing over looking “young” will only, in my opinion, make you both miserable AND old.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to doing a little tweaking, cosmetically or otherwise, as long as you don’t go to extremes. Who really enjoys looking tired and grouchy? On the flip side, who wants to be that desperate person hanging on to youth? Looking good isn’t the same as looking young. It’s a balance.
And while not everyone gains wisdom with age, more than a few of us at least gain perspective over the years. We realize getting older is better than the alternative. The trick is to accept aging and do it smartly and well.
Which is what I’m determined to do as I rub more cream on my elbows.