I feel as though BlogHer's NaBloPoMo prompt was written for me, specifically: Do you enjoy growing old or do you fight against it?
If I'm being completely honest--and as a feminist who tries to fight against conventional gender norms and stupid beauty standards, I hate being completely honest in this case--I don't particularly love getting older.
But I'm not necessarily fighting it either.
I've been thinking about it since my trip to Texas. When you go two-and-a-half years without seeing family members they suddenly appear older the next time you cross paths. That can be jarring. Last time I visited, my grandmother was relatively mobile and clear-headed. Just 29 months later she is noticeably frailer, less cognitive. My birth mother is thinner, too. Grayer in places.
It happens to the best and worst of us, I suppose. Unless you want (and can afford) legions of Botox treatments (and thus turn into one of those "women of an indeterminable age" as my aunt calls them) then you get distinctly older: Grayer hair. Lines creasing your face. Thinner or fatter depending on your metabolism.
Certainly, it's happening to me. Crow's feet, smile lines, etc. I mean, I just got a pair of reading glasses. If that doesn't say "getting older," I don't know what does.
Aging slows you down, too. You tire more easily. And maybe find yourself more prone to getting sick. You forget things. For a while it's fine, you're just forgetting things that don't necessarily need to be in your brain anyway like Britney Spears' birthday or whether you needed to pick up creamer.
But then you get around someone significantly older than you and you realize this is just going to get worse. You're going to forget the names (temporarily, but still) of people close to you. You're going to get stiffer and slower each year. You're going to watch people die off around you.
I can see this through the eyes of my grandmother and, also, Cory's.
And so even as I look in the mirror and curse the furrowed line between my brows (thank god for bangs, right?), I recognize there are deeper fears at work here.
Of not being self-sufficient. Of losing my sight or my ability to walk. Of watching years slip away--and with them, agility, critical thinking skills and opportunity.
Oh my god, there are so many things I haven't done yet. So many things I still want to do.
I'll be 45 in just five weeks or so. Middle-aged, officially, really. As such, I've found it impossible not to think of everything I have yet to accomplish in my life. A pessimistic view, I suppose, but for me a realistic one. An impetus to get my ass moving.
Am I fighting getting older? Not necessarily. That's nearly impossible (save the Botox), but I do think I've made willful decisions to stay active, both physically and intellectually. I try to get exercise, I take classes, I try to make sure my life is filled with new experiences and new stimulants.
Most of the time I don't feel like I'm 46. In my head I'm just me.
But the physical evidence is there. God, how I hate the physical evidence. I just can't lie about that or sugarcoat it; I miss the babysmooth face of my 20s. I hate my stupid metabolism.
So thank goodness I still have some control over the other things. All those things I still want to do. Is that fighting getting older? I guess, in a way, that it is.