Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Observations about aging

Yeah, this might be one of those posts that you might want to skip, lol, especially if you are looking for anything artistic.  Some of these thoughts have been brewing in my head for awhile now.  I'm going to write them out and see if I have the courage to hit "post" when I'm done!  If you are middle-aged or older you will get a laugh and even if you are young you need to read on because it will all make sense to you one day and you might appreciate the warnings or the info.

This could also be entitled "things they don't warn you about getting older"although this might just be in my world, where family didn't tend to be very open about personal stuff. I grew up in a pretty sheltered world with one set of grandparents being German and the other set very religious. I was the only daughter to my parents, with 2 brothers to follow, so there were no sisters to share knowledge.  There was a lot of laughter and love in the home, but not so much open discussion of personal matters.  To give my Mom credit, she was the one brought up in the German household, so she probably didn't get much information from her Mother, BUT she was the youngest child of 6, with 4 older sisters.

So, the only personal things I remember being told: Mom guided me toward the Childcraft volume about Health where I learned a bit about periods and I think, reproductive matters; she bought me some pads when I did start, the kind that used a belt, and gave very quick, basic instruction on how to use them; and my Granny told me that if I waited until I got older I wouldn't even have to shave my legs because the hair would quit growing. And that pretty much sums it up. 

Except...I discovered the All You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask volume hidden in one of my parent's dresser drawers by being a sneaky, nosy kid.  Think my brothers did, too.  Who knows, maybe it was a deliberant plant by a very smart Mom, who knew we would do exactly what we did, thus avoiding the awkward Birds/Bees talk. Even at age 51, not yet had the nerve to come right out and ask her or admit to her that I read it.  And so the cycle of not verbalizing continues...

Yeah, I learned a LOT from that book!  Served me well later on. But really, I digress from what I started out to say.

What I've had on my mind lately really has nothing directly to do with sex, so not sure how I wandered down that road ;)  It is more about the changes that happen to your body as you age, which does go back to what my Granny said about shaving your legs.  When she told me that, I was pretty young, too young to be shaving, probably less than 10.  But, even at such an age, I remember thinking that this chick was definitely going to be shaving her legs!  It would be so GROSS not to, but I guess in generations past, women didn't shave their extremities or under/around them. I must research this topic!  When exactly did razors and women shaving become so common?

But you know she was right!  That is something that I noticed as I rushed through that 4th decade of life into this 5th one,  All that body hair that I have been fighting since puberty IS thinning out now.  To explain a bit, unfortunately in my family, women tend to have more than our share of body hair.  The positive side is that it means we have a thick head of hair, but the big downside is extra everywhere else! No pretty golden hairless arms for most of us(always envied my friends).  We are talking about leg and underarm hair that resisted all efforts at removal! It laughed in the face of puny depilatories! Well, now it is more normal, even thin in all the areas that it is supposed to be that way.  But, sadly, now at an age that it really doesnt matter anymore.  I mean I'm 50+ and don't really need to be in a bathing suit.  This is not to say I'm going to give up going to the beach and wearing one because it doesn't mean that.  Just sayin' that I don't care anymore about what people think of me and I'm not a young thing out there trying to attract a mate.  Had the same one for over 30 years now.

That fourth decade is when a lot of things change that people don't warn you about, so that is what I am going to postulate about. I've given one positive change: your body hair is going to get thinner, a positive if you are like the females in my family.  Of course, no one tells you that the hair gets thinner EVEYWHERE, which is not so attractive when it happens in a certain place and that is all I'm going to say about that.  I just wasn't warned, you know, so that on one of those days when I forced myself to really look in the mirror, I was kind of shocked and since then have tried not to think about it!

Another is that your body weight will slowly shift from your bottom to your middle.  This will happen even if you are fat or thin, male or female.  Now maybe you made this observation on your own. In retrospect, I realize I noticed this happening to older people but never thought it would happen to me.  You know, the land of denial, although not conscious denial, I must say.  To further add to this denial, when my pants continued to fit me, even got looser in the legs, I thought maybe I was losing weight Finally had to face facts when I saw some snapshots and the pear shape that had been what I fought since I was a teenager had become more that  of a nice round apple.

What else to warn you about?  Your lips as well as your hips will lose their definition. Not sure when this happened, although it was probably since I turned 40, gradually, so I didn't see it coming.  I used to not bother with lip liner, but now I find it helps, a lot, if I put an outline around these lips.  Love those sweet young lips you have now, for one day they will just be a vague idea around that mouth!

Definition.  Another thing that kind of goes away all over.  Be forewarned: your skin will turn loose from your muscles.  Again, not sure when this occurred and something I found when forcing myself to look at my body, naked, in a full-length mirror. To continue to be frank, I was/am contemplating a tattoo, a celebration and embracing of my age after I hit the big 5-0.  Hhhmmm, where would this tattoo look the best? Thus the mirror and the close scrutiny because my thinking was my back would be a good place.  So, I look and then think"@$#&, when did my back get saggy like that?!" I work in the medical field, so why I am being surprised by all these things?  I do wonder?  More denial, I suppose. But, fat or thin, one day this will happen to you. 

Your skin is going to become thin.  Now I come from thick-skinned people, both figuratively and literally, so I think this didn't happen with me as early as it does with others.  Even so, during this last few years, mine is starting to get that look of old people skin. When this happens, minor scrapes and bumps become yucky-looking abrasions that you will find later on and then wonder where they came from.

You know how your hair is going to get thinner? Well, it won't all over, unfortunately.  Most likely, you will start to sprout some eyebrows that look like they are on steroids. If you are a man, there may be some extra hairs out of your ears.  Be aware and be ready with some sharp scissors and a magnifying mirror because about this time your eyes will also start giving out on you, thus making it harder for you to see these offending hairs that will sprout up where they don't need to be.

To younger women that might happen to take the time to read this.  Love the body you are in!  I mean it! Please take me seriously.  Whatever your shape, appreciate that pretty young skin and the youth and health you have. Don't waste time wishing to look like someone else who is more than likely wishing THEY looked like someone else.  Love yourself!

I say that and am trying to turn it around on myelf, at my age.  Listen to my own advice.  Hard to do. I know there are more changes yet to come. Wrinkles, all over, even! And, you know, I embrace them all!  Because I think elderly people are beautiful!  To me, my grandmothers were two of the prettiest women I ever knew.  I don't mention my Mom because, even at almost 70, she looks young.  I have more gray hair than she does. My Aunts, both sides of the family, are lovely women. Seriously all I hope for is that my husband, children and my grandchildren keep on loving me as long as I'm blessed to be on this earth.  I don't even care if they think I'm pretty, as long as they love me. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to take a few minutes and laugh at aging, because, you know, you can either laugh or cry.  Either way, won't change a thing!

PS I probably should have used a filter in my thinking and writing or gone back to delete some of this, but I've decided to let the chips fall where they may, as it was how I felt when I wrote it.

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

I'm awfully glad you didn't use a thought filter, because I am smiling and nodding my head through this post! Many giggles here! And you are spot on. The good thing is that I don't have to shave the underarms and legs so much! The bad thing is everything else!

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