This is a photo of me.
I hate getting older. And it’s not just because of the wrinkles on my face either. I’ve actually become quite fond of the two creases either side of my mouth that run down towards my chin. The ‘laughter’ lines around my eyes and the rumpled skin on my forehead are okay as well. At least they give my face strong character and hint at the hard, grueling, not-to-mention ‘full’ life I have led thus far. But what I really loathe about this decline that we call the aging process, is the creeping, yet inevitable loss of my physical and mental powers. They have become rats that are deserting the proverbial sinking ship that was once called ‘my body’.
My knees were the first to pack up and hit the road. I’m sure they thought I wouldn’t notice the shards of splinters that they left in their stead. But I did. The first time I tried to balance my very heavy body on my knees, I thought they were going to collapse. Luckily they did not snap, they just delivered an excruciating bolt of white pain, to let me know that I had better not try that move again.
Then, my hair decided to bail, not the straggly independent ones that had begun to grow from my chin, but the ones that I really liked that were hanging on for dear life on my scalp. Suddenly, wherever I walked I left a trail. On carpets…… on other people…. occasionally even in my dinner. My eyebrows must have been shocked by all the goings on, because they inexplicably turned albino…by then, I was way too petrified to look any lower.
And now my body has developed a new shape. I can’t classify it using the terms, apple, pear, or even plum for goddsakes. I would be more inclined to use the terms weeble, or blobby. Suddenly all of my clothes look like they belong to someone else, somebody that used to be me. The colours of my wardrobe were coordinated with the red-head that I was. They are certainly not very compatible with the white and grey balding feature that lives on top of the wrinkly appendage on the end of my sagging neck. Not to mention the designs and cuts of said clothing. They were manufactured to adorn women under a size fourteen and in possession of a waist-line, not the slight indentation I have underneath my boobs if I hold in my breath.
But wait, aging isn’t done yet! Remember the youthful skin that kept regenerating as it covered strong muscles and bones? Well you can kiss that goodbye, now all I have is a thin, corrugated substance that manages to be loose even though there’s a ton of jiggly fat to fill it up. It looks as though it is constantly coated with talcum powder too, but it isn’t, that’s just my dry skin. But it’s okay, all I need to do is use loads of moisturizer right? Wrong. You can immerse yourself in a vat filled with gallons of duck grease, and you’ll still come out looking old, except you’re shinier and smell like a french fry.
Hey, remember when you could eat anything? Now you have to schedule your meals between Gas-Ex strips, and determine what you order on a menu to your proximity to a bathroom. Suddenly, you could be a major share-holder in TUMS, and your stomach makes noises that rivals those bloody whale calls.
But hey, beauty and youth are really on the inside aren’t they? Bollocks to that as well. What still works on the inside are multiple organs that are also AGING. Veins and arteries that are about as elastic as the epidermal layer you just got done duck greasing. Oh, and don’t forget all the calcium deficient bones that are turning into chalk dust. Then there’s the cataracts and deafness, the dental issues, and so many other delights too. Oh, have I mentioned that your nose is still growing?
But despite everything, there is still your wonderful mind. Sure, the wizened up body may be decaying like an old piece of moldy fruit, but at least the brain will go on! Your mind is still sharp as a tack, you can still remember why you walked into the room, and how old you will be on your next birthday. You are able to understand any new technical gadget, and you can text like a pro. You have the patience of Mother Theresa.
…And you are living a lie….ok, well I am living one. I have the patience and the memory of a small gnat. I can remember where I live and which rooms are which, but generally can’t remember why I am in said room at any given time. Oh, and I can’t see anymore, well except when I put on glasses. This is okay most of the time, just not when applying make-up, or when cooking hash browns and accidentally frying a huge bag of shredded mozzarella instead (true story folks).
Now I lament…..I should have listened to all the people who warned me what to expect when I got old. I should have stayed out of the sun and used Oil of Olay. I should have never eaten chocolate the first time and chomped on broccoli instead (saved the teeth too). I should never have drunk all that vodka, smoked all those cigarettes, stayed up too late, listened to loud music, and made fun of all my friends who worked out every day. I should have stayed in school, become fabulously wealthy, had a personal trainer/chef/beautician/nutritionist. I should have slept eight hours a night, brushed my hair a hundred strokes before going to bed (early) and put more calcium in my body.
But I didn’t. And it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t. Or what the hell would I have written about today?