“‘Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, and after one hour more twill be eleven. And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour we rot and rot. and thereby hangs a tale.” – William Shakespeare
It started when I was 40 — a small stretch of skin on my cheek that looked waffle-y and unlike the rest of my face. I showed it to my friend and we decided it was (gasp) wrinkled. I played with it for months until the other cheek looked the same and I knew it was normal aging. That was 18 years ago. Now my almost-60 face has that same quality evenly spread, as do my legs and arms. I have gotten over this loss of elastin and collagen. My only desire is to age gracefully at this point.
I’ve finally stopped feeling younger than I am. I feel exactly 58 years old. It took time, coming to that. And it was only a few months ago I caught myself thinking I was 48, not 58. When the (alter) realization occurred, I lost those ten phantom years instantly. “Fifty-eight?” I thought, “That can’t be right.”
Acceptance of my age has been a good thing, it turns out. Now I walk every day in hopes that I can regain some lost stamina (due to CFS/FM) and gain the strength I will need when my granddaughter returns to the States. I want to be able to keep up with a (by then) 3-year-old. I want to live a long life and watch her grow up and become whatever she will become.
But I am still obsessed with decay. My decay, the unending deterioration of our house and gardens, and even of the houses on our street. Dead grass, unmowed lawns, chipped paint, and ragged wood trim all make me cringe. Do I actually believe that if we all try hard enough we can prevent our eventual decline? A great many of our neighbors are elderly. Some have already left their homes behind to go… where? Where did they go, I don’t know! I want to believe they have happy condos in sun cities or caring sons and daughters who took them in.
All of this obsessing attaches itself to one health issue after another lately. Right now it’s a molar that may be on its last legs. I desperately don’t want another extraction, but the tooth may be broken (is probably broken) under the filling. It’s acting up, and I imagine all sorts of nasty outcomes. They say the loss of teeth make us feel most vulnerable, unable to defend or feed ourselves. No one wants to lose something you can never regain.
I’m afraid of ending up raggedly aged, with gaping holes like my neighborhood street. Once lined with glorious shade trees, it now sports an irregular few here and there that managed to survive 50 years of vicious wind.
I see my dentist in the morning. Wish me luck.