In November, I'll be 48 years old (really?). God, it took a while to get here. Not so much to the number… but to what I call “This Place”- the peaceful destination in which I’ve finally arrived after decades of kicking and screaming like a cat placed over a bathtub, claws out. Had I known how awesome it would be, I would have given in and surrendered years earlier. But then that wasn’t how it’s supposed to work. In the journey you have to go through, not around to enjoy the other side.
I endured my first BOTOX® injections at the relatively young age of 36. No, I didn’t need it then but I had a friend who was doing it so I thought it was time. It wasn’t. Years later, I sat there grimacing as a hollow needle forced it’s way under my skin. Eliciting an unnerving crunching sound while piercing into the fascial muscles between my eyes. By this time, I thought I really could use it. The results were great and the furrow disappeared…for about four months.
It wasn’t long after, when I was innocently minding my own business, driving home one day after running errands. Glancing in my rear-view mirror at my reflection, the bright sun highlighted my chest at just the right angle revealing a foreign texture on my skin. “What is this?” I said out loud, a little disturbed. After an emergency talk with my life-long friend Jenni, I learned the term for it was “orange peel skin” complements to the power combo of accumulative sun damage and ageing. Usually starts happening in the late 30’s and early 40’s. Awesome.
Then I noticed something else new while getting dressed one day. Somewhere along the way I had accumulated some bonus padding between my chest and arms. As if my bust was migrating east and west. Isn’t gravity supposed to pull down and not sideways? Regardless, in the future, more careful attention would be paid to the fit of my tanks and summer tops - Geesh.
And don’t get me started on this dazzling array of cherry moles now adorning my tummy and those brown spots popping up all over my legs. I know that these trifle changes are only the beginning (like my Mother-In-Law says "Just Wait"). But I also understand that life has a way of holding our hand and gently easing us into each new phase. For instance we don't go straight to menopause, we get to have peri first. (emoticon for sarcastic wink goes here).
When all of this first started happening though, I was in a low grade panic. Every time I turned around there was something different I had to accept. My youth was dissipating at a snails pace while punching me in the face. Over time though, I grew to be at peace with it like as a Zen master leading a meditation class. These days when I discover some new inventory, I embrace its arrival with a shake of the head and a smile as if to say, “fine, come along, we can hang together” (no pun intended). The struggle is over and the resignation is liberating.
The only thing I’m not Zen about so far is the loss of my close vision. This has been a tough one. Me and my near sight, we were tight and it’s been a bit of a road to resign to her absence. I miss my old (what I thought was a) trusty friend who I took so much for granted when I wasn’t yet aware she would someday leave me high and dry.
Never again would I be able to read another shampoo bottle in the shower or order a simple meal from a menu on my own. Books and magazines; forget it without the aid of my drugstore saviors (1.50 strength btw), which I'm now dependant on like a blind man needs his walking stick. Okay, so maybe I'm being dramatic but this has been one harsh adjustment.
All lightheartedness aside though. The wonderful flip-side to these physical changes are the pleasant refinements happening internally that make it more than an even trade.
The dichotomy - Your outside vitality gradually fades as your mental, spiritual and emotional intelligence grows in spades. I’m speaking to; lessons learned, letting go, not giving a darn what others think and the serenity that comes with truly accepting who you are.
Then there are the biggies; WISDOM, GRATITUDE, PERSPECTIVE and the peaceful deliverance and freedom that accompanies them all. I’ll trade a few wrinkles (and some hair on my head) any day of the week for the joy of residing in “This Place.”
September 25, 2014