"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, January 15, 2015

One must grow older. The alternative is undesirable.

I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a mood these days. Sentimental, aware of the passing time, dragging my feet, unwilling to leap into that abyss called Old Age. 

I've always loved old movies, but these days I don't want to watch much else. TV shows using the latest technology, latest fashion, music, etc, are jarring. "You're moving too fast," I want to yell at the screen. "Slow down, adjust the seams in your nylons and put on your hat and gloves."

Thank God for Marvel's Agent Carter. That dame kicks ass in fabulous 40s fashions.

This evening, I was looking for some old photos. I can't find the ones I want, which makes me cranky, but I did find things I didn't know I had - letters to my grandmother from her brother when he was stationed overseas during WWII. He mostly wrote that he missed everyone and he couldn't tell anyone where he was, and he wrote poems.

My Great-Uncle Dale, rough-and-tumble Marine who drank a lot of beer and smoked a lot of cigarettes, and wrote things like, "I bet the kids are all growed up by now," wrote poetry. Here's one:

(That Postponed Letter)

I ought to write a letter,
But I can't get in the groove;
If I could write some certain things
You'd see my pencil move.

I'd like to tell what town I'm in,
And just what things I do,
But must be content to wait until
These wartime days are through.

I ought to write a letter
And repeat the things I know,
The things they would not censor out,
Like how I love you so.

Who knew? I never talked to him about his experience, and he never volunteered. I was, after all, just a kid, and a little girl at that.

But now I'm no longer a little girl, and sometimes I don't know how to be old. My mind seems ageless. It feels no different than when I was a teenager. My body doesn't feel 60. Yes, I have aches and pains, but no more or less than when I was dancing. 

Selfies require good lighting, proper makeup, and a scarf to hide the neck wrinkles.


When I look in the mirror, it's another story. The nurse at the hospital (when I went for my colonoscopy) told me, in a rather astonished voice, "You're the youngest 60-year-old I've ever seen." But I know different. I've watched the changes, the wrinkles, the extra chin, the thickening waist. 

I suppose I could get depressed about the whole process, but what is Plan B? I'm certainly not going to waste my retirement money on plastic surgery. The only thing I can do is to keep the memory of my grandmother close to me, and realize that I'm growing to look like her.

My grandparents, Hansel and Myrtle Wetherholt


In the end, I'm proud to look like someone I loved so much.

How about you? How are you handling this thing called aging?

4 comments:

Other Lisa said...

Let's see.

Weight training. Good food. Good beer and wine. Trying my damnedest to get enough sleep on an unreasonable schedule (this part needs work). Trying to broaden my social circle instead of watching it narrow. Trying to make my time count and do things that are meaningful to me.

But it's hard. I'm at the age where it's impossible not to go, "Wow, this entire aspect of life is never going to happen for me." I don't think you can live to a certain age and not have regrets. The key is how to handle them. I still haven't quite figured that out.

In terms of plastic surgery, if I had the money, I'd do my eyes, a little spot lipo and a breast reduction. Don't judge. :D

Gayle Carline said...

I don't judge when it comes to wanting to be a better version of yourself. Plastic surgery always seems like magic to me, in that there is always a price, beyond the monetary. A little botox here leads to a major facelift there. Pretty soon your skin looks like Saran Wrap and you have one facial expression. Although I do understand breast reduction - that's all about back problems!

I do think it's good to find something ACTIVE that you like to do. You like weights, so that's great. I ride my horses, and I recently took up yoga. Been wanting to for years and finally found a studio I like. Real deal, with meditation and all that. I have a high energy mind and a low energy body - I'd like them to at least be friends.

Yes, many regrets, and how to handle? Everyone does it differently. I try to keep telling myself that I like where I am today and I might not be here if I'd made different choices in the past.

Other Lisa said...

John Cleese said, never touch the face except for the eyes. I'm with John Cleese. Actually an eye lift can be a medically helpful thing when the bags get big enough that they interfere with vision -- I've known people that have had it for that reason (and yes, what you said about reductions). But I sorta digress…

Yoga is great. I did it for several years and should do some again.

I also love to walk. I'd walk all day if I could. It's what I do when I'm on vacation. This sedentary lifestyle that modern work requires in so many cases is literally deadly. You just have to keep MOVING, and I think that applies to realms other than the physical.

New House Girl said...

You look great, Gayle! Besides haven't you heard? 60 is the new 30!

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