My oldest daughter has a new post on her blog about the cruelties of aging (not those exact words, but you get the idea). I was going to comment there, but as I got going, I realized it was gonna be too long for that. So I'm making my comments here.
Peggy, I took one look at my once beautiful stomach a few hours after you were born, and it was all caved in and lumpy like a punkin that had been sitting out on the porch too long. I decided then and there that it was going to be pretty shocking to see what life would do to my body so I would just put it all out of my mind. Nuts to it. No cosmetics company has ever gotten rich off my trade.
Getting older, however, is one of the very best things that's ever happened to me. I've loved every minute in the sun and wind that have dried the hell out of my skin (if you know many old women from North Dakota, almost all of our faces have that dried apple effect because it's dry and windy out there, and unless you dunk your face in vaseline every day, it'll get that way).
I've loved every single drop of wine and gin and tonic that has ever made its way down my gullet, and all the Kentucky Fried Chicken (man, there's a monster--all that trans fat!) and grandma's potato salad, Aunt Joyce's German chocolate cake and Aunt Mary Ellen's rum cake, too. I loved having four babies, even though all the eating, drinking, and procreating has wrecked my boobs and my stomach, and the babies' appreciation of my finer qualities is a bit wobbly.
I've never really had the time or inclination to do situps and all of that stuff, although I have at various times done yoga daily, or run 3 miles every other day, or gone swimming over my lunch hour, but not right now. Now all I'm doing is walking as much as I can (not much) and trying to keep from falling over when the bus lurches. One of my girlfriends used to go to the gym religiously and lift weights and all of that. I challenged her to arm wrestle one time after listening to her brag about her great strength. I pinned her arm so fast she didn't even have time to blink. Where did I get this strength if not in the gym, she wanted to know? Hauling babies (you were not walking yet when Sally was born, so I had to carry both of you at times), chopping wood, shoveling snow (LOTS AND LOTS OF SNOW). I sold our dishwasher one time in Bismarck because it was a portable model and the damn thing was always in the way. A nice grey-haired couple came in their station wagon to pick it up. The guy asked me if my husband was around to help. "No, sorry....He's in Williston this week," I said. They both looked worried, and I said, "I'll take it out to the car." And I did. The guy turned to his wife and said, "That's the strongest woman I ever saw."
I still have red hair and a hot temper, but I'm not as wild as I used to be. I haven't heard music for almost as long as you have lived on this planet, but I still like to sing. (And I wonder just what the hey is wrong with people who CAN hear music but are still all tied up in knots over their insults and injuries. It's better for us if we can be grateful for small favors.)
I had cataract surgery a few months back, and I am still seeing double, especially when I wear my glasses. In fact, sometimes I see four lines of closed captioned dialogue on the teevee. Gee. But so what? I am as happy as a pig in mud when I can see a star at night.
Cathy says I'm the youngest person in the office. (That probably means least mature...) There are some days when I can't remember squat, but then I go to a museum like last Sunday and see an old bible from the 8th century and realize I can not only see the Latin, I can read it!
Getting old IS different. We arrive on this planet kinda gradually, and most of us leave the same way. A knee goes here, a bunch of decibels go there. Be glad you're alive, honey, and go have a nice drink of something to celebrate your wonderful existence. Cuz once you die, it all stops, the good and the bad. You told me once wot the Scots say..."Yer a long time dead." (And ha....you haven't even gone through menopause yet....)