My sister and I often marvel at how age seems to have crept up on us. Both in our fifties now, our hair is peppered with grey (hers shows less because she is the youngest – and blonde; mine only shows at the roots when I get careless, because I have been colouring my hair for years now). And of course, there are the myriad wrinkles and saggy bits that neither of us had in our twenties, thirties or even forties. We stare at one another; comparing our increasing imperfections, and we muse about how it was only yesterday that we were walking home together after school from swim practice, completely unaware and unappreciative of our youthful, perfect skin.
There are all these parts that hurt now: we are both painfully aware of our knees, our ankles, our lower backs and our necks. We exercise, not to look great, but to feel great; to strengthen our bodies for the onslaught of aging that still lies ahead. At this stage in our lives, sitting cross-legged on the floor is an invitation for every muscle you own to contract in protest when you (most inelegantly, by the way) try to stand up. Sometimes, when my back is really hurting, I carry around an orthopaedic cushion to sit on. I even take it to the movies with me. And the relief it affords my lower back overrides any embarrassment at being seen in public carrying such an ‘old-person’ contraption around. I often smile to myself that I wouldn’t have been caught dead in public with such a horror in my twenties.
The best thing about aging is how your self-image shifts and somehow grows kinder; more loving. I look at pictures of me as a young woman and all I recall feeling about myself at the time was unattractive. Now with an objective – and much kinder – eye, I look at those photos and I see how wrong I was. I was no runway model, but I was far lovelier that I ever knew.
I look at myself in the mirror today and I see the grey roots; the saggy bits; the wrinkles; the extra pounds that are so much harder to get rid of now. But I also see wisdom, peace, acceptance, a lifetime of experience and a lifetime of mistakes that I have learned from. I see courage and understanding and… a softness that wasn’t there before; I’m sure of it.
At this age, it’s not really about beauty anymore, which is ironic, because I have never felt so beautiful…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com