“Can I try your ice cream?”
“Sure!” She extends her cup of chocolate raspberry out to me.
“You want to try mine?” I offer.
“What kind is it?” She asks.
“No thanks," a polite decline.
We had taken Scott’s staff of college students out to ice cream, to reward them for a fitness challenge. This exchange was repeated several times. When I told Scott,
“Bwahahahaha!! You’re old!” Yep. He’s right. I remember listening to my Dad order a serving of black walnut ice cream and thinking, ‘why?’
So I turned thirty this year. I had my second child. I have children now. I am responsible for the health of two people. I turn thirty one in a matter of weeks. Thirty one. That feels more serious, like it’s for real.
This year I have noticed some sun damage on my hands, some might refer to them as liver spots. Already?
I am surprised at the panic that I feel when I look at them. I always thought I would welcome age. That I would be proud of gray hair and relaxed about certain kinds of veins popping up on my legs. I thought I would be happy to accept they negative that comes with aging as well as the positive. Stable relationships, more stable emotions, maturity, empathy, and acceptance.
We had to replace the timing belt on our car. It cost around six hundred dollars. A few years ago I would have been upset or at least been complaining a lot about it. This time I was just thankful that the failure was caught before it could do real damage. We’d budgeted for it and we need this car to last, not a tragedy. This reaction is a function of getting older. I know that.
This past year as I started to notice little signs of age and felt panic spread out, like those veins, I realized that if all goes well I will live another thirty to sixty years in this body. I began to feel washed up, used. How sad is it that we spend so much time and energy worshipping those few first years of our lives. Sure our bodies may be more beautiful when we are young, but it’s so short, is it really worth worshipping?
This past year there has also been a sort of giving up in my mind, an acceptance of my body because, well, I’m too old for this crap. I’m thirty, I’m pregnant or I just had a baby, leave me alone. I’m short, I’m muscular, it is what it is, I better like it because it ain’t changing.
And that attitude has developed because I am older. It’s not worth it to me to look through magazines and wish I was thinner or prettier. I have better things to do.
I still can’t figure out why, as a culture, we are so hung up on youth. Is it because we are basically selfish and when we are young we have no one to care for but ourselves? Is it because we are so totally obsessed with beauty that we only want to respect the young, who’s bodies are still untouched? Is it because we worship what is cool?
Whatever it is, I wish we would stop, it’s pretty stupid.