Every June when the summer solstice arrives, I feel the end of another year approaching. I’m a summer baby; born in the sweltering heat of August. If you follow the horoscope – I’m a Leo. I don’t really believe in all that stars and planets aligning stuff, but I do have a trait that fits a Leo – I’m vain.
I don’t want to get older, but every year it automatically happens. The wheels and gears of time grind on. Each sweep of the second hand thrusts us toward our subscription to the large print edition of Reader’s Digest . We all have an opinion on getting older and aging. For most, in this youth-oriented society, it is not so favorable.
Time is a ravager. If you have any doubts look in a mirror. That reflective glass we stare into likes to taunt us with the latest wrinkle or spot. No selfies for me. The camera needs to be as far away as possible. My selfie stick would need to extend into the ozone layer.
When I was in my teens, I thought living until forty was an acceptable life span. I’d go out before I received mail from AARP. Well, I’m now past forty and I’m still hanging in there. Hanging is the operative word.
Have you seen what happens to skin as the time creeps across the body? It is a slow decline as gravity tries to suck us back into the earth. I page through photo albums. I see a much thinner, youthful me staring back. What happened to that guy?
We lose track of the nuanced changes taking place as we get older, because we see ourselves everyday. It is a very slow stop-motion film from infancy to Armageddon. I just don’t know exactly when I made the entrance onto the “Highway to Hell.”
How can we change so much? Sometimes I feel like I am in the reverse process of nature. I started out as the butterfly and I am turning into the hairy caterpillar.
It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The aliens came in the middle of the night; stole my body and replaced it with a Silly Putty one. The new one keeps stretching, sagging and pulling in places it shouldn’t.
I know it is all about good nutrition, exercising and maintaining your health. A fit body certainly keeps you looking younger. It is just so much work. I’ve spent time in the gym and hired a personal trainer. I remember pointing out a fit younger guy in the gym, and telling my trainer I want to look like that.
She shook her head, and said, “You need to be realistic.” What kind of motivational speech it that? I realized what she was telling me. I needed to deal with an older body and set obtainable goals. Blah! Blah! Blah!
I have to face it. I want a Ferrari body, but I’m dealing with a Ford chassis. No amount of sweating, crunching, squatting and lifting was going to get me the look of a ripped 25-five-year-old. No more 29-inch waist jeans for me.
I need to say hello to Husky Town where the big boys meet. It’s all about the glutes, the abs, the pecs, the quads, the jets and the sharks. It will drive you crazy!!
We’re a youth-obsessed society, and I drank the Kool-Aid. Intellectually, I realize it is shallow to worry about appearance as much as I do, but I do it anyway. Just remember, personal perspectives are different.
Everyone’s world spins on a slightly different axis, and mine is a bit off kilter. Don’t say, “Just keep your chin up,” because then I will have to obsess about which one you’re referring to.
When I was young I couldn’t wait to grow up. I remember being about eight or nine and asking my mom when I would grow underarm hair. She just laughed and told me when it was time it would happen. She forgot to hand out the pamphlet about ear hair. There is a Yin and Yang of hair that we must learn about.
As hair thins in one body area, it begins to grow wildly in another. The ears and nose become senior centers of hair activity. The growth rate is astronomically higher than any other body hair.
No matter how much you try to tend to personal grooming, there always seems to be that stray hair that appears like Jack just threw a bean in your ear. I find myself wishing for an attack of Alopecia. Of course, it is a personal preference of mine; I’d rather try the bald look than deal with Cousin It.
There is always plastic surgery to think about. It has become so commonplace that kiosks are popping up in the mall. I am all for a little reconfiguration here and there if it looks natural. Unfortunately, men usually don’t get good results from facelifts. Just look at Kenny Rodgers, Mickey Rourke or Burt Reynolds – enough said.
The procedure seems to feminize men. The plumping and pulling of the skin takes away the rugged, masculine look. They may have smoother, wrinkle-free skin, but now they look like younger ugly women. After several years when the skin starts to sag, they look like someone’s grandmother. Have you seen Bubbe Manilow?
Several years ago, I saw an advertisement for a plastic surgeon who was having a special night for men in his office. The event was for the male population who might feel uncomfortable making an appointment and facing a waiting room filled with women. I had always thought about the possibility of a few nips and tucks, so I decided to go.
I had visions of a little Botox, slight reconstruction, and I would emerge a Brad Pitt clone. Of course, my momentary delusion was shattered when I was called into see the doctor.
He was a nice man, who didn’t look like he had practiced on himself. He poked and examined my face, and asked the all-important question, “what were you thinking about having done?”
Removing my head and replacing it with a new one was out of the question. I told the doctor I wanted a little firming under my chin and the puffiness removed from my eyes – a revitalized version of me.
If my ears had to be removed, so be it. I just wanted a sleeker look. The doctor did explain that he could tighten my jawline, and get rid of any jowls that might be forming.
Can I just say that I hate the word “jowls?” It sounds like something that should only be connected to a turkey and mentioned just on Thanksgiving. Like, “did you remember to remove the jowls, before putting the turkey in the oven?”
He could also remove heavy eyelids that occur with age. He explained we get fat deposits in our eyelids. All I could think was, “Dear lord, I have fat eyelids!” When did this happen, and why didn’t I realize it? What type of diet could I put my eyelids on, and how do you exercise them?
I’ve become the ultimate consumer for lotions and products that claim to help retard the aging process. I slather it on and hope for the best. While they are good products, they ultimately retard my bank account. The search for the fountain of youth is expensive.
It’s not all bad. I do receive compliments. Several times I’ve been told I resemble Robert Redford. Oh wow! That’s a great compliment – forty years ago. He doesn’t have the same movie idol looks today as he did when he was in The Way We Were or The Great Gatsby. So I smile congenially, and rush home for a shot of vodka and to jump into a vat of coconut oil.
I have points to ponder as I become another year older. Do I tap into retirement savings to go under the knife? It would deplete my financial security for the so-called “Golden Years.” The upside would be a fabulous looking street person. A Robert Redford of the homeless.
I try not to let society dictate what is acceptable for a person at any age, but it is difficult to swim against the current. As I lean over to blow out the candles on another birthday cake, I cross my fingers and hope I don’t light up my nose hair.