Aging in the twenty-first century is an interesting prospect. With so many available surgical procedures, Botox and fillers and non-invasive procedures like lasers, facials and other skin stimulating treatments, it is a wonder anyone over 50 has even a small wrinkle.
There are two sides in the aging debate; one, pull it, pluck it, tuck it, suck it, pin it, thin it, fill it, dye it and cut it. Then there are those who for financial reasons, commonsensical reasons or just plain self-contentment reasons subscribe to the notion that fighting gravity is futile and aging with grace is the road to ultimate fulfillment. I am of that mindset.
There was a time I thought that I might venture down the non-invasive path when the signs of aging had finally overtaken my face but now that I am there, on the cusp of what was once considered old, I am completely at peace with the process. I refuse to bend to society and its narcissistic need to make everyone look perfect. I refuse to look in the mirror and dislike or condemn myself. I refuse to let what society thinks turn me into a paranoid old lady wondering how people perceive me or worse, an insignificant wallflower ignored by society. I refuse to be like everyone else who thinks that by fixing their chin or eyes that no one will have a clue how old they are. I refuse to be relegated to sitting and knitting as the world around me spins.
I celebrate the last year of my fifties with glee because I survived more than I ever thought I would or could. I celebrate every gray hair as it reminds me of my old friend, the silver lining, which has shown up in my life right after every major storm and there have been so many. I celebrate every wrinkle and every smooth spot knowing that soon they will merge and all the lines of my life and every path I took will envelop my face. I celebrate the sags the bags the bum drop, the ski slopes, the liver spots and waning vision as I know it is my time to multiply and exercise what cannot be seen. I had my youthful day in the sun but sunsets are so much grander and they are the gateway to the stars.
How many times have you heard the adages, “You are only as old as you feel?” “Age is just a number,” and of course “Age is a state of mind, not a measure of time?” Sadly in our society age DOES matter and it matters more the older you get. People are easily discarded and dismissed as “too old” to do this or that. Then there is the counterpart to naturally aging and that is all those people you see with over-sized lips, horrendously tight skin and eyes that have been snipped and raised into small slits. There are a host of men and women especially in this ego driven, fame whore, shallow society, who look like something out of a zombie movie or worse, women over a certain age desperately seeking love wearing skirts up to their gunny and necklines down to their tummy. I have never diluted myself about aging though I do feel younger than my chronological years, I am completely honest with myself that my moment in the sun has long set. The beautiful part about aging is just that; you get to forget about your looks, your shape which is like a lava lamp, squishy and wiggly and jiggly. Age enables a certain level of freedom, you are free of worrying about whether a man or woman is looking at you or wanting to take you home because YOU no longer need the validation. You are free of worrying about that double chin when you smile because fixing it is far to risky and pricy. You are free from worrying about what other people think of you because YOU LOVE YOU BETTER than most are capable of. You can speak your mind more freely and instead of being called crazy, you are now “eccentric!” You can take more risks when you are older because after all what have you got to lose?” You are free of indecisiveness because time is of the greatest importance as it dwindles away into something called the “golden years” which translates to, “the years of incontinence!” Aging is NOT a joy and YET it IS! You’ve made it this far, through trials, heartaches, suffering, loss, and hurdles that would have killed weaker souls. As the hair begins to silver and the lines grow deeper you get to assume a new role, that of sage, and old crone, wise and full of grace. As you take your place in a youth hungry, perfection craving society, you find comfort that most no longer look when you enter a room full of men. You find a tranquil resolve in knowing that the phone only rings when someone needs you but you thank GOD you are still useful. You resign yourself to the notion that your days are numbered which makes accomplishing far more urgent, leaving a legacy far more paramount. Those little things which once were the dramas of your life no longer matter and the memories of any mistakes made along the way mercifully fade. You find that each moment of life is not only a gift but the greatest measure now and forevermore is that you make it count for the benefit of as many as you can affect and infect with the wisdom and love you have amassed. ~Ariaa Jaeger, age 58 and grateful to be me. ~Ariaa.com