Aging failed to absorb my thoughts too much until my friends began whining about wrinkles and expanding waists. Some of them even uttered the awful word, face-lift.
Oh wait, that’s a lie. The first time I gave a thought to aging, it was all because of Carlos, the host and manager at Los Amigos, a popular Mexican bar and restaurant on Second Street in Philadelphia that alas, no longer exists. He asked, “Don’t you hate the way the skin around your eyes isn’t elastic anymore?”
“What?” I’d never noticed anything like that. I was only thirty-five. But when I got home, there it was. When I tugged on the corner of my eye, it didn’t spring right back. Carlos was right, damn him.
There must be an upside of aging, I thought. My mother had died at forty-two, denying me a model, or the benefit of counsel, so I went to work on a list of the benefits of aging. I wanted my daughter to face aging with confidence instead of dread. The single bright idea I produced: my eyes are going at the same time as my face, so I won’t notice!
Fast-forward almost thirty years. Despite our youth-worshiping culture, I look around and see lots of examples of intelligent, dynamic, beautiful women in their sixties. “I don’t worry about aging. I’m still here,” said a fellow expat yesterday. “Me either,” agreed another. They were happy, handsome women, having fun.
I admit that I feel an occasional jolt when I notice shocking little signs I won’t recount here, but I try not to stress for longer than a second or two. I look at these women, and others I know, and finally understand and appreciate the upside of aging. We’ve loved, learned, and grown into ourselves.