Can You Read This?

There is no denying it, I’m getting older. We all are, of course, but I think I’ve been in a bit of denial for the past 41 years. I’m aware I’ve been aging, particularly over the past few years, but for the most part there were only minimal signs, a word or name I couldn’t instantly recall, or an attempt to type a word only to look up at my screen and realize I’d written something completely different.  Now it seems the physical signs are everywhere: lines on my face that don’t go away regardless of the amount of product I put on, more and more time and money at the hairdresser’s, having to hold the menu away from my face just a little bit further to read the words. The most recent assault was when I tore the cartilage in my knee when I released the footbrake in my car. Are you serious? I thought after it happened. This kind of stuff only happens to—gulp—old people!

But this is my reality now. With each passing year, I’m aware that a few more lines will creep up on my face, I will continue to spend more and more money at the hairdresser’s, I’ll eventually need reading glasses, and my body will suffer injuries caused by seemingly minor physical activity (egads!).

I’m not happy about any of this, but I can’t say I’m mad either. A little disappointed, maybe.  I somehow convinced myself growing up that when you get “old”, (and mind you, with each passing year what I consider old moves up) you just naturally come to terms with your inevitable decline and are at peace with it. I realized this wasn’t necessarily true when I watched a 2011 documentary on Gloria Steinem called In Her Own Words onHBO. The seventy-seven-year-old Steinem says something to the effect of not being ready to slow down because she enjoys living too much.  Her admitting that made me cry. I feel the exact same way, and I suspect I will in my 50s, 60s, 70s and so on, assuming I’m fortunate to live that long.

For me, life is always an adventure. I love to try new things, meet new people and have new experiences, to learn and grow.

I’m working hard to do whatever I need to do to live a long and healthy life. Mostly this doesn’t mean doing anything extreme, just having some common sense: eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and finding ways to relieve my stress any way I can by going to the spa, spending time with my girlfriends, or relaxing with my husband.

Life can be hard, but I’ve really enjoyed the ride so far and want to stick around for as long as I can. It’s not because aging, or even death, scares me. I want to live just for the joy of it.

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