Age Happens!

I saw an article this morning about Demi Moore.  I tend to take such things with a grain of salt because…well, it goes against my grain that I should be made privvy to another person’s personal life and problems.  What I think about struggles someone else is having…I guess I have a problem with the fact that I’m allowed to know–that in the name of free speech the media thinks it can broadcast to the world every detail of someone’s life.  I don’t think being a celebrity or a famous person should deprive someone of their basic human rights, and privacy is one of those rights.  So I try to not read these kind of stories.  Unfortunately now-a-days you can’t avoid them so easily.  Once upon a time you had to buy a tabloid to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.  Now if I log on to AOL or Comcast, there the story is and they’re calling it “news.”  Even on TV I’m hearing about Demi’s dieting habits, her breakdown, stuff I wouldn’t feel comfortable myself, having the world know if it was ME.

So I will assume the story is bullshit, or greatly exaggerated.  Usually such stories are one or the other.   But Demi is my age–49, and the story itself got my wheels spinning.  People resisting the natural process called aging.  Yes, thanks to our society’s obsession with youth and beauty it really does rather suck seeing what used to be up over your cheek bones begin to drop into the start of jowls, or that neck that once was smooth and firm and beautiful in form start getting droopy and saggy and…OLD.

It truly does suck when it’s happening to you.  I am not happy about it happening to me, but it is.  I see my skin changing.  It rather depresses me because I’m clearly beyond my prime.  I have seen my best years physically and now comes the downward slump into decrepitude.

This is when state of mind is everything.   I honestly think for some of us, myself included, it helps to be blessed with average looks from birth.  I am very average.  If I frown I can be downright ugly.  Actually it depends on what I’m doing with my face.  I have that kind of face  If I smile a certain way, I can be almost cute.    But mostly I’m something in between.  Average.  

Imagine two people winning a prize.  One person wins a gorgeous, flawless, sporty Mercedes Benz.  The other person wins a go-cart with a few dings along its side.    Now which of those people are going to enjoy themselves more?  If I had the Mercedes, I’d be parking far away from other cars.  I’d be nervous about keeping my car in sight.  I’d be constantly pampering it.  I’d want to keep it in the garage and out of the sun.  I’d worry about anyone touching my car–worry about other cars and grocery carts and sap from trees and dings on the window.  And when that first ding happened, I’d be so unhappy!   My beautiful car!  I’d run to get it fixed if I could–do all I can to keep that car as beautiful and new looking as I can for as long as I can.

Now if I won that go-cart, I ‘d take it to an indoor go-cart ring.  I’d drive it every day and crash into the walls, and other go-carts and…oh, wearing a helmet of course!  I’d reef on the wheel, try to go airborn if I could on sharp hills.  I’d drive that little go-cart whenever I felt frustrated and stressed and just wanted to let go, cut loose, PLAY. I’d laugh when kids hit me from behind, I’d crash into them to get even, then gun the engine and be on my way.  Around and around, until either I or the go-cart finally broke down.

Sometimes I think I’m lucky to be blessed with plainness.  I see my “looks” (what I had of them) starting to fade, and yes it rather saddens me.  But I was never a beauty to start with, so…nobody else really notices but me.  Whereas that beauty people admire, they see the outward appearance start to go and it’s sad.  It’s sad seeing beauty fade.  But…whatever.  There will always be new cars and new beautiful people coming along, and new plainer people to envy them–or at least until aging starts to happen and then they learn like I have learned about which beauty endures and counts the most. 

In the meantime I can still play hard in my co-cart and in fact, now that there are quite a few good dings, I can do so and not CARE anymore about all that perfection stuff.  I can go outside without make-up if I want to and hey, if i scare some small children, how funny is that?   In fact the whole freedom that comes from not caring so much anymore is really wonderful, and that’s where I am.  I used to be so anal about make up.  Ok sure, i’m plain, but with the right sweep of mascara and color combination on my eye lids and the right kind of contrast with my foundation and blush…I could look pretty.  I could clean up pretty nice.  Never a beauty but…nice.  Pleasant.  Attractive.   But I would do this all the time, you see, because like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, all the time because hey, that’s what’s important, right?  I didn’t want to BE that go-cart!  I wanted to be the pretty Mercedes every guy wants.   Well!

The pretty Mercedes is worried about its perfection still and limiting itself to the garage.  It might be prettier, but it has a lot more to lose as wear and tear sets in, as it inevitably does.   Unlike myself with my dings and not minding so much if I get dingier….the Mercedes owner is frantically trying to cover the dings, buff them out, keep that car like new as long as she possibly can.

When I was young I envied beautiful women.  I envied what I could never have.   Rather like a Clydesdale can never be a prancing Arabian, I could never no matter how hard i try, be the eye candy on someone’s arm, and it hurt.  Because everyone would like to have someone.  But now that I, like Demi, am facing the harsh reality of time and the fact it does happen to everyone, I’m starting to understand that we plainer people are the fortunate ones.  We can laugh at our imperfections, more and more of them all the time.  We can roll our eyes and hop in the old beater and off we go to live fully every single moment.   But those with that flawless beautiful car….   They still get the dings, same as we  do.   But I truly think for beautiful people, it’s a lot harder to deal with, the not getting to be so physically perfect anymore.

Physical perfection doesn’t exist anyway, does it?  Even as much as we try to meet what our narrow minded social programming tells us is the “ideal.”  Show me the prettiest girl and I will show you someone who has something about her face or body she doesn’t like.  We all have those somethings.   It’s learning to love what we have in our hearts that helps us endure aging.    That Mercedes with its few dings…hell, take it out and drive it like you would any car.  It’s beautiful, dings and all!  Take it to the beach, the mountains, the zoo.   Live a little in it.   Make with it some happy memories for yourself.   Really, they’ll help you get those laugh lines then, which are sooo much more attractive than those other lines, believe me!

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