I had the most terrifying thing happen the other day. I was walking past a mirror and the reflection wasn’t me! I kid you not, I was the only one around but there was this…this…I don’t know how to describe other than saying it was an old woman. I do NOT want to come across as an ageist-I mean old people are fine. I don’t have a problem with them as long as they stay in their own park model and don’t hang around my mirror thank you very much.
This woman gave me a real start! She seemed to be aping everything I was doing and her timing was impeccable-she could really move for an old chic. If I jumped out of frame and jumped back in she was right there with me-didn’t miss a beat. As if that wasn’t creepy enough she was wrapped in a towel. I was too but if she was going to play a prank on me she could have at least had the decency to wear a wind suit or something more appropriate for her age.
I was beginning to get a little peeved when she dropped her towel the same time I did. Seriously-boundaries lady! Eww factor aside, it looked like every ounce of collagen in her body went on strike, said we are outta here like the union rule that states if one goes they all go. It was hard not to stare. And when she turned around? I thought I was going to be sick. You know what cream soup looks like just dumped out of a can? Sort of lumpy, sort of whitish and all kinds of gross? Yeah, that was all over my mirror. How. Dare. She. And her breasts? Don’t get me started on those-all I’m gonna say is they are suppose to be on your chest. ‘Nuf said. At this point I am really hoping that someone would jump out of the shower and yell “April Fool” or “You’ve been Punked” but since I was just in there I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I had to be in an episode of Under the Dome as part of that new plot line, that’s it. I always thought that you couldn’t out weird Stephen King but apparently you can.
Looking a little closer I can see that her eyes are green. Hey-my eyes are green. That’s cool. But wait. She has what my mom use to call a beauty mark just like mine. No. Nu-unh. Can’t be. I am speechless. Except for the alleged profanity that may or may not have escaped at the moment I lost my senses. I am still not convinced because this chic has gray hair and, like, not just on her head. I am only 25. OK, my daughter is 31 so maybe I’m 40…ish. OK, Fine. 50. But last time I checked I thought I had everything in order. I exercise, eat right, get my antioxidents, drink the right amount of coffee in the morning and the right amount of red wine at night based on FDA regulations so I don’t get it.
When the shock of realizing that it was really me in the mirror dissipated along with my disappointment over not being in Under the Dome I took a good hard look at that reflection. What I saw was stretch marks mapping out three pregnancies (and maybe a few too many bowls of ice cream), breasts that besides getting tired of defying gravity had fed those three babies, eyes whose lines showed laughter and tears, arms that had hugged and clapped themselves loose over the years and now hold my grandchildren, gray hair that marked my children’s teenaged years-lots of growing up on theirs and my part. In short-this body has spent some time living and perhaps I have been so distracted by all that living that I wasn’t paying attention. Which I don’t think is such a bad thing.
We seem to have forgotten that we are suppose to age. That it is a good thing to mark time, to unfold in our lives and become. I have a great friend who happens to be my age and we have shared a lot of the disturbing changes that come with being our age. And we laugh. Hard. A lot of what we talk about has to do with how great it is to be our age. We love the fact that we can completely not care what anyone is thinking and just do our own thing. The sheer joy of being grandparents is its own kind of incredible. And we know stuff. LOTS of stuff.
We also hate a few things about our age. The fact that we feel secondary, overlooked and that our ideas/ our vision for change or the future is out dated because we aren’t young. I mean seriously. Kardashians have more credibility than we do. Between the two of us we have multiple degrees, have held leadership positions, raised families (though that doesn’t necessarily count in our favor), traveled, taught and experienced the richness of life, family and friendships. We have worked hard to make a difference and have been successful. Then why is it that we can stand at a make-up counter for ages while the younger clients are helped right away-even if they arrived after we did? Or that it is assumed we are ‘past our prime’?
I don’t know about you-especially if you are ahem-of a certain age ( I had a boss use this term with me a while back and no I didn’t stick around to hear what else he was going to say)-but I have seen enough, learned enough, grown enough that I now know enough that being any age is a gift. I have a responsibility to look past what is in the mirror-strike that-embrace what is in the mirror and revel in what it took to get there. I have a whole lot of livin’ to get done and I am pretty sure in ten years that reflection I am seeing today will be a beautiful memory. It would be even better if I could land a part in Under the Dome but hey-you can’t have everything.