I was out with a friend yesterday afternoon and the whole notion of aging came up. Not exactly sure how, but out came “well, you’re almost 40.” Technically speaking, I’m 35 which already feels surreal. Like seriously, when did that happen? I still sit on chairs cross-legged because my feet don’t always reach the floor. So I’m closer to 40 than I’ve ever been, but five years seems like a long time to put off that particular milestone. Particularly since I still get accused of being 10 years younger.
There’s something that you’re supposed to feel about aging.
(Wait, I remember why the aging thing came up. We were talking about old Bond movies and Sean Connory’s Bond. Frankly Sean wasn’t as handsome as a younger man as he was by the time Hunt for Red October came around. Which got us into a conversation about how men become more themselves as they get older but women seem to lose their value in the marketplace. Which led to a discussion of gravity as it pertains to the girls and me being ‘almost 40.’)
Like there is supposed to be some kind of dread there, and G-d help you if you don’t find someone to love you for the real you by the time you get to a certain age because no one is going to want to look past your seriously falling tatas to find out that you’re funny and compassionate and make a killer banana bread. Or whatever it is that you’re good at.
At the time, I pointed out that I have no intention of jacking up my face as is the current trend (we all saw those pictures of Meg Ryan, right? Who ever did that to her ought to be prosecuted…) However, if the girls descend to my waist, I’m getting that lifted, tucked, rearranged, hoisted, whatever has to happen. I’m not going down without a fight. And my friend observed “so you’re going to be a hot old lady, then…”
And I didn’t say this out loud, but I thought about it. I’m resolutely determined to be nothing more or less than the same me I’ve always been. There’s this thread of continuity from the 4 year old that refused to go back to ballet class because the teacher had been unfair to the 35-year-old who chafes at the stupidity of banning jeans from the workplace as if what my butt is clad in has anything to do with my ability to be productive. It’s all the same person, and I can’t imagine not being that person in the future, my gravity-bound breasts be damned. I mean, look at Jack Nicholson. He’s in his eighties and is living under the inescapable tyranny of aging, but I’m pretty sure he still spends plenty of time ogling attractive women. So maybe what he *does* about it is limited by reality, but I can’t imagine that there is any profound change in who he is just because his body doesn’t obey his desires in the same way it used to.
So to whatever extent possible, I’m going to ignore the question of age and satisfy myself with an ongoing determination to carry on in a body that has given outward expression to the cocktail of electricity and chemistry that comprises what I think of as myself.
And when that doesn’t work, I’ll remind myself that time fucks everyone (if I’m allowed to quote myself). If Audrey and Elizabeth and Lauren and Josephine and Katherine and Sophia all followed the same basic trajectory, surely the same path is destined for Scarlett and Jennifer and Amanda and Angelina and Anne. It’s easy to get worked up about the unfairness of aging until you realize that all of those people that are held up as the paragons of beauty can’t run fast enough to get away from time either.
Now I really am going to quote myself…
The old woman coughed on that last word, which started up a series of hacks that shook her body and bent her over double. Through it all, she kept her left hand extended, the cigarette safely away from the furniture and scattered papers. When she was done, she placed the cigarette back to her mouth and inhaled again. Another cloud of blue smoke, and she went on. “What do you need?”
“I’m headed to Bethesda to save my friends.”
Briefly, Morrigan looked surprised, then closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m a little old for futile acts of derring-do.”
“I wasn’t expecting a partner,” Ian amended.
Morrigan opened one eye and looked down her nose at Ian. “Thirty years ago, doll…” she let the thought trail away. “Don’t worry, time will fuck you too. Just wait.”
— from The Camellia Resistance