Aging Gracefully

“I feel bad about my neck.”  That Nora Ephron really had a way with words, didn’t she?  I bought that book just because I loved the phraseology of that sentence.  I gave it to my BFF, who, at the time, was more worried about her neck than I was.

After hearing about Nora Ephron’s passing, I listened to a radio interview with her.  I believe it was done at about the time she wrote this book.  And she said, “the thing is, you just never know what you’re going to see.” (referring to the aging process.)  Man, again with the perfect words.  Here’s some examples of what I “saw” this weekend.

  • Friday afternoon at the gym:  “Don’t look in the mirror.  Don’t look in the mirror.  Oh there you did it.  You looked in the mirror.  Oh well, these little boys will just have to get used to the fat old lady working out in their room.”
  • Saturday morning, washing my face:  “man, I look really youthful today.   No makeup necessary.”
  • Sunday morning, putting lipstick on in the car on the way to church:  “OH MY GOSH.  How many stinkin’ wrinkles can one person have on her face?  Really, why do I have to have wrinkles on my CHEEKS?  And wrinkles on the upper lip???  I never smoked a cigarette in my entire life.  Its not fair.”
  • Sunday noon, pre-swim in the dressing room:  “Wow.  Look how little I look.  Why did I think I didn’t look good enough to get into this suit.”

I’m not kidding.  That is what goes on in my head constantly.

I want to age gracefully.  I think about it all the time.  I think it is something that I have to actively work on.  Working to accept the inevitable aging process.  I look around at older women and think, who would I like to be like.  One of the women I really admire is a woman who is one of the best cooks in our church.  She loves good food as much as I do, and she gets great pleasure out of making beautiful delicious food and sharing it with others.  She is not thin, but seems very active.  I don’t think she has arthritis.  And I was very surprised to learn that she was over 80 years old.  I would like to be like her.  She doesn’t seem tortured by her relationship with food.

Not long ago, my BFF and I were discussing the ‘hump’ and the bent back that some older women get.  I think her mother had been worrying about that.  The same day I saw a little older lady in the gym bathroom (key here–she was in the gym!) and she had a very pronounced bend in her back.  Her face was extremely wrinkled.  But she was fussing with her hair and her make-up and she had a sparkle in her eye that just wouldn’t quit.  And I thought, that wouldn’t be so bad.

I also think that part of aging gracefully is NOT rehearsing all your aches and pains all the time.  That said, I was SO HAPPY this morning when I checked out Karen’s blog, and she was talking about aches and stiffness.  And I just laugh at the weekly conversations between my brother and I.  Of course, all the aches and pains that we discuss are “sports injuries,” doncha know.

And you know, since I mentioned Nora Ephron, here is what I do every time I hear someone just died.  I do the math.  It is only 14 years until I reach the age Nora was at her death.  FOURTEEN YEARS.  I can remember 28 years ago like it was no time at all (I was in nursing school.)  That’s what the math whiz in me does EVERY TIME.  There’s no easy solution to that one.  Except to live gracefully, and to appreciate every day as the gift that it is.  And for me, to “think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:2)

I don’t have a neat tidy ending to this subject.  But it is one I think about a LOT.  Maybe even more than my never-ending thought life about food and weight and such.

To be continued….


23 thoughts on “Aging Gracefully

  1. Really loved this post. All of it. And I think about it, too. And that’s the very phrased I’ve pondered for years… wanting to age gracefully. I once knew a grand old lady, in her upper 80’s. And any time anyone asked the inevitable “how are you?” her answer was always the same: “I’m very thankful.”

    “…and she had a sparkle in her eye that just wouldn’t quit.”
    I think you hit the nail on the head here. Regardless of our circumstances, it’s our attitude that makes the difference, that puts that sparkle in the eye.

    Yep, loved this post. 🙂

  2. You’ve really captured a lot of the thoughts that have been going through my head these days. Yesterday in particular, while I was at the beach I was noticing all the various shapes and sizes of the women there. What struck me was that some of the older women, who were also a bit heavier, seemed to be the most secure in their bathing suits. There were plenty of young thin ones that couldn’t seem to stop adjusting the suit they had on as if making a tiny tug would hide whatever major flaw they thought they had. So yeah, I want to age gracefully and find that inner peace with food and my body!

  3. SUCH a great post, Debby! I loved your mirror thoughts, as I have experienced similar things. One morning I thought “wow, look at the bags under my eyes – I must need more sleep” – guess what? It’s been months. I HAVE slept. Bags are still here. WTF?!? Ahhh…it’s crazy, and it can make me crazy if I think about it too much. But sometimes, it’s just such a shock to look in the mirror – who IS that???

    Doing the math when someone dies – glad to hear I’m not the only person who does that. Oh, and the “sports injuries” made me laugh…but really, it sounds much better to have an ankle injury from running than a sore ankle brought on by arthritis!

    You have a great way with words, and I’m so glad you are willing to share them!

  4. What a great post! I think it is really hard to age gracefully and accept it when we are bombarded with tons of ads and products to “fight the signs of aging.”

    I sometimes get distressed about the ‘divot’ in my forehead. I am lucky that I have very few wrinkles right now, but the one deep one, which makes me look a bit angry when I am not.

    • Yes, I forgot to say that I made a decision a long time ago to NOT fight the signs of aging. Now I have to fight the urge to “fight the signs of aging” LOL.

      • I GET this…so many potions out there, all promising to reverse/fight aging. So tempting, but really, I doubt they do much. Plus, I could spend that money on froyo or yarn! 🙂

  5. I’m one of the ones who wants to grow old gracefully. At the same time, I’m hoping to keep my wits about me and my health. We’ll see.

    In the meantime, I’m still refusing to dye my hair, wear any more makeup than tinted moisturizer and eyebrow pencil, get plastic surgery or have lipo on that tummy that refuses to be flat. I am willing to eat healthy, exercise, drink my water and stay busy. That will have to do. 🙂

  6. Oh man, I’m not even gonna comment on this today. The battle that rages within isn’t a pretty one for me – asking why I can’t be 20 forever doesn’t seem to help either. Le sigh.

  7. What resonated with me are your thoughts about aches and pains. When I get up every morning, it’s like the tin man — I can almost hear my joints creaking! I think getting older is really about learning to respect what your body needs and then taking the time to give it that. When you’re 20, you can abuse yourself and then jump right out of the bed the next morning, but not when you’re 55 like I am. Those aches and pains tell you it’s time to slow down and maybe even take a break.

  8. Its a balancing act! Gotta keep moving some or I get too stiff. And then take a few more breaks than I think is “right.”

  9. We share the same schizoid thinking processes. I know exactly how badly I ate yesterday. Not binges, just eating out restaurant food for 2 meals of one day.( I have no intention of getting on the scale ). But I noticed in the mirror this morning how my shoulders are shaped nicely and there is more definition. I know that I work this part of my body out well with Yoga twice a week and I just noticed that this area is changing. So despite feeling bloated and guilty and all that about the weekend eating, I felt progress with my body. And then I plucked a few hairs out of my chin and pulled a long white hair out of my hairbrush.

  10. I have been meaning to read that Ephron book. Especially since I’ve been noticing the skin on my neck recently! The woman at the Ultima II counter who taught me to moisturize my face every day starting at age 13 (bless her) never told me to continue on to my neck and decolletage (or however you spell that) (darn her). I think you are right though to focus on attitude. I try to remind myself daily that the best thing I can do to increase my beauty is to smile.

    • And you truly have a beautiful smile, I hope you know that. Yes, I do moisturize my neck! I guess I do a few things to try to stave off the inevitable…

  11. Love Shelley’s “miror mirror thoughts.” We all have ’em, don’t we? Sort of like the highly unattractive am-I-the-fattest-person-in-the-room subtext that still sometimes creeps into my head. And the mental math. Sally Ride was 61. I’m 61. Hmm.

  12. I have really come to believe that aging gracefully is a state of mind. Really and truly. For sure, we can’t rely on the media to show us what it looks like, because what they show us is fake. But it’s so freaking HARD sometimes. All I can say is that it’s a good thing it doesn’t happen all at once…the shock would be too great!

    Oh, and thanks for the shout out!! 🙂

    • Oh yeah, I forgot to rag on the media’s image of aging. It used to drive me NUTS when I would see or hear something that said “THIS IS WHAT 60 LOOKS LIKE TODAY!!!” Yeah, that’s what it looks like after a LOT of surgery. And then what? You keep surgerizing yourself, so do you never deal with the fact that you are aging, and death is inevitable? I really wonder about actresses that have a lot of surgery. I really would like to know what they are thinking.

      LOL–yeah. Glad it doesn’t happen all at once. Although, I did look younger than I actually was for a long time, and I think that that’s why I might be having a hard time with it now.

  13. When I had first lost a bunch of weight, I was sitting in the dentist’s office. I had a hand mirror, I think they were trying to show me something about my teeth, when I noticed how shriveled-looking my neck was! Boy, was that startling. So later, when I found that book on CD at the library (with Nora Ephron herself reading it – most excellent), I of course had to give it a listen.

    I don’t know how gracefully I will age, but I’m hoping I can be one of those people with the twinkle. There’s one thing I promised myself as I get older: I will not hide from the camera. Some of my self-consciously aging relatives avoid being in photos, and it’s sad, because there are so few photos of them and my kids together. 😦

  14. I would like to age gracefully and have been trying for a while (I’m 64); but, alas I just keep aging. So, I just keep going, doing the things I love, being with people I love and knowing how fortunate I am to live in the USA. I stopped using the “tricks” to make myself appear youthful. Since the surface of my vessel keeps aging anyway, I concentrate on being thankful for what I have. And I so cherish moments of laughter!

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