|From July Aug 2015|
I think about aging. Sometimes. Sometimes I ponder the process while watching clouds float by and sometimes the world steps up and slaps me across the ever-more-lined face. I've long considered compiling a (surely incomplete) list of aha moments of aging. Then, in Coles (the grocery) a comment from another shopper.....
Many of my aging insights have come from observations of myself. I'm not overly good at this. Despite the fact that you've just looked at one or maybe two photos of me that I took in a mirror, I don't really much look into mirrors. I make sure I get my hair cut in ways that don't require styling and often don't require that I remember to comb my hair after I get out of the shower. I don't now and never have worn make up. The only mirror I've ever owned were the ones that came stuck on the wall or medicine cabinet in the bathrooms of homes I've owned. Still, I do remember the day I turned 40. Kevin and I were traveling and staying in a YMCA in Perth. I looked in the mirror and noticed I had lines going between my nose and mouth which must be my face slipping off my skull. (For quite some time after I wondered how long they had been there and even considered collecting old photos to find their origin - but that didn't happen.) And then there was the time I was practicing my qi gong and doing a forward bend and saw that my thighs were trying to droop over my knees. These days I don't need a mirror - I can feel gravity pulling my face (primarily though not exclusively) into the ground.
That being said, PLENTY of aging comments have come from OUTSIDE me. The first time I was offered a senior discount at McDonalds was only WEEKS after the Perthrevelation. Really? Really? At 40?! There have been other fast-food-faux-pas but the comments really accelerated after I started going out with Zupe. I'm sure the grandma comments exceed the mommy comments by 10 to 1. I've started just nodding my head and moving on. Maybe when it bothers Zupe, I'll start correcting people again.
But then - in Coles - Kevin and I and Zupe were doing our Sunday morning grocery run. Kevin had the cart with Zupe in the produce section and I had stepped aside to pick up something elsewhere. When I returned he was talking with an older woman. (Yes, they do come older than me.) She was making over Zupe - as they ALL do. (Here I must apologize because I cannot recall her exact words but to effect...) "Aren't you lucky to be out with Daddy and Grandma?"
The silence that this met with was only surpassed by the pain cry which followed.
Praise be to Kevin who introduced me as his wife while I was drawing back my walker to beat her about the head.
NOTE - photo from my 40th birthday party - sorry, your invitation must have been lost in the mail - would you offer this woman a senior coffee?????!