The Quickening of the Inexorable March Toward Death, or “I am aging and I do not like it”
I always imagined myself to be someone who ages with grace. I’ve never been a particularly vain person; I wear makeup, sure, but if you tell me I have to be ready to go in half an hour, I’ll be ready to go (as long as a poop doesn’t suddenly come on — then all bets are off). In picturing my twilight years, my brain produced a sort of amalgamation of myself and Helen Mirren: silver-haired, a touch of wrinkles, wry smile and undeniable elegance.
Well, throw all that out the window because I realize now that I was so thoroughly full of shit I may as well have been a sewage treatment plant. I am getting older and I DO NOT LIKE IT.
Before we get too far, let me just say that I recognize that I am not “old,” per se. I am 35, and I have full use of my mental faculties. All my body parts are functioning to the extent that they can. This year alone I ran a 10-miler, won a boxing punch-combination competition and came in first place in my division in five sprint distance triathlons. But somehow, despite all that, every time I look in the mirror it’s like, fuck, man, I’m OLD.
Like Baby Boomer snowbirds, everything has sort of... migrated south. Whereas before I turned 30, I carried my weight pretty evenly throughout my body, these days it just sort of settles in my gut and ass. And speaking of weight, I have always struggled to maintain it, but these days it’s just soooo much goddamn harder. If I wanted to lose a few pounds in my 20s, I’d just stop drinking for a month; now, doing that might tip the scale half a pound... or not even at all.
Literally every part of me has taken a turn. Whatever hormones controlled the curling of my hair have seemed to have stopped functioning. Instead of even ringlets, I get a shitty smattering of frizzy waves. My fingernails break after clacking too long on a keyboard.
The worst part is my face. I look in the mirror and I do not recognize the dusty old lady staring back at me. On top of that I still get acne from time to time, which is like, what the fuck, universe. I should have the acne of a teenager OR the dull skin of an old crone, but not both. I feel like I look older than all my friends, and I definitely look older than my older sister.
I think all of those woes might not matter as much if I didn’t notice the subtle ways the whole of society is turning its back on me. I’ve never been a classically beautiful woman — my success in dating in D.C. was a result of being able to write a witty dating profile, being attractive enough, and being pretty damn fun on while out on the town if I do say so myself. But in my 20s I could pretty much bank on random people striking up conversations with me. Now? No one even sits next to me on the bus! And I’m not just talking about men, even though that’s obviously part of this. I’m not above admitting that being physically attractive to men makes up a part of my self-esteem (fuck you, patriarchy).
Of course, R is supportive and tells me I'm beautiful every day, and his is the only male opinion that really matters. But even so, I just can't get past the few minutes I spend in front of the mirror every morning just feeling... disappointed.
I need to figure out a way to get out of my head on this stuff because, you know, time marches on. I'm literally not getting any younger. So, if anyone has any suggestions on how I can stop giving a fuck, please, let me know. Until then, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing now: exercising like crazy, drowning my sorrows in wine, and getting out of bed in the morning to do it all over again the next day. Oh, and trying to remember to hydrate. They tell me that's important.