Looking in the mirror these days takes an act of courage….especially first thing in the morning with no make-up, runny eyes and nose. I wipe, honk, and blink a few times to confirm this is still me staring back.
The mental image of me (that stopped somewhere in the forties, I suspect) still wants to come out to play. To the tune of “Buffalo Girls” I hear the little sing-song each morning…“Becky girl…won’t you come out to play, come out to play, come out to play….Becky girl…won’t you come out to play and dance by the light of the moon.”
Since I don’t have to look at myself continuously throughout the day (Thank God! …literally) I can live in my fantasy world where I still appear “Upper Middle Age Mediocre” in my personal (imagined) visual time-line. This illusion keeps me going along quite merrily until a store mirror or a comment from the grocery bag boy shatters this carefully constructed facade. The illusion is quite fragile.
Perhaps I could take the easy way out and blame it on the new chemo regiment that does tend to dry one out faster-than the mummification of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. But truthfully it is just one factor in the big picture…”Girl…you ‘gittin’ old…er fast!”
No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I can still do just about everything I have always been able to do…something comes along to dash that fantasy. Case-in-point.
John and Mandy just bought a new car….I never know the names of cars but I know it is a beautiful silver Honda with three rows of seats… which is wonderful for long drives and more people, especially since one row is always taken up with little car seats.
Last Thursday evening, when I spent the night, we decided to grab some food out…East Bay Deli... I was excited…I was going to get to ride in the new car with the new car smell! I was, also, eager to try out the third row of seats behind my precious grandchildren. So before they got in…John pushed their seats up and over to make room for me. I was on the other side of the car.
I placed one foot up on the dashboard…and then suddenly realized that I didn’t have the “umpth” to pull the rest of me up and in. My mind said “Yes!” but my body yelled “No!” I tried grabbing the back of the second row seat but I just didn’t have the power to pull myself into the back… for one second I dangled between in and back out before gravity did its thing. Thank goodness I managed to get both feet planted back on the driveway in the nick of time and didn’t go sailing backwards on my back.
It scared John and he immediately told me to sit up front with him and Mandy was relegated to the back row. I was as shocked as everyone else that I couldn’t get in….I kept thinking if I just had a little foot stool I could do it with no problem….but the step up distance was just higher than my arms could lift and pull me in.
I, suddenly, felt decrepit! All my prior “misconceptions” that I could hang with the ‘best of em’ came crashing down… like my backside. I think I am going to buy a car foot stool, like Cinderella and her carriage, to carry with me to John and Mandy’s so I will be ready next time we all go out.
Of course if I lived in another time period in Charleston, I would be able to hop in a carriage (from an historic foot step permanently added to the sidewalk in front of historic district homes) that helped ladies, of that time period, enter the carriages with ease. Today these original carriage foot step-ups are a part of Charleston’s history and preserved as authentic artifacts.
…Which brings us full circle back to the effects of aging on the psyche. Getting old(er) is very humbling…I am sure there is a lesson in all of it that God is sending. Some lessons are easier to swallow than others.
My ophthalmologist casually mentioned when I went back for my last cataract lens check-up or check-off (don’t have another appointment for a year) that she could fix my drooping eyelids that would add even better peripheral vision to my new “eyes” since finishing the cataract surgeries. Just call and make the appointment if I decided to do it…insurance would cover it.
So now every time I look in the mirror…all I can see is my drooping eyelids…but with “little c” re-activating I think that decision can be put on the back burner until (hopefully) “little c” starts behaving again and goes back into hibernation.
I agree with Christine Carter who wrote an article for Huffington Post on grateful aging. Here is an excerpt.
I don’t see my crow’s feet. I see the miracle of my vision.
I don’t see those laugh lines and wrinkles. I hear the laughter.
I don’t see these flabby arms. I feel the warm embraces lingering.
I don’t see the cellulite. I remember where these legs have taken me.
I don’t begrudge the belly pouch. I cherish the vessel that gave me my babies…who have now grown and brought me more joy with grand babies.
I just want to celebrate the “undeniable blessing of being alive for all the years I have (to date) been given.
So until tomorrow…Recognizing the miraculous gift of life we have been given forces us to understand that we can choose “living deeply and deeply living” our life. No regrets….just gratitude for the gift!
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh