Human bodies are complex and mysterious and keep on changing.
Some of the early stuff I expected–periods and cramps (and sometimes being glad when they appeared), groping of various parts by others, and complexion issues like pimples and eventually laugh lines.
As I passed 40 and 50 and approached and passed 60, surprises popped up.
During the time I colored my hair brown, I started seeing grey hairs in my eyebrows. I used Just for Men Mustache and Beard dye to color them, even though the box said not to. Now, with grey hair on my head, I can see some brown. But I didn’t know my eyebrow hairs would get sparse. I don’t know what to do about that, other than not look at them.
A couple of years ago I read in a women’s magazine about all the things plastic surgery can fix. One was saggy eyelids. That day I looked in the mirror–I had saggy eyelids! Now I notice every time I put on mascara.
I’ve always known about cellulite on the backs of my thighs. Everyone deals with that, right? I didn’t know that my leg skin would sag. I laugh and blame it on gravity, but really I am fascinated and horrified each time I look in the mirror in my underwear. Do I think it might go away while I sleep?
Then we get to the whole menopause transition thing. My 1st hot flash hit on a hot August day while I helped my youngest child pack for her first semester of college. Not the last time I saw a connection to emotional stress. They lasted for years.
For about 3 years during that time, I exhibited intermittent, long-lasting PMS symptoms. My husband said I was nuts and I thought for a long time he made it up or at least exaggerated. He was right. I was an emotional bomb that could go off at any moment. It helped to have friends going through the same stuff. After a hysterectomy, the passage of time and some estrogen therapy, I settled back into my normal level of volatility and drama.
My 90-year-old aunt is here visiting us. She flew–alone–from Iowa to NC. She calls it “the trip from hell.” She had a delay on the first leg, a missed connection in Detroit, a later flight that sat 2 hours on the tarmac because they couldn’t unhook some tether, and a twenty-minute wait for a parking spot at the Raleigh airport. Original arrival time was 7:30 pm. We finally saw her come up the hall toward us about 11:30 pm. We got to our house after 1:00 am. She was in better shape than either of us. (We were up way past our bedtime!)
All the way home, she told us about the nice people she met along the way who helped her and talked with her. She believes that there is something of God in each of us (she is a lifelong Quaker) and that most people are basically good. And with that attitude, they are. Her life, like all of us, has had tragedies and difficulties and challenges. She sees the glass as half-full and each day as full of possibilities.
Acceptance of things as they are is a life-long challenge. The older I get the easier it is to laugh and surrender my need to control. Maybe by 90, I’ll get the hang of it.
I’ve had a cancer scare. Saggy eyelids and leg skin and sparse eyebrows are irrelevant. I’m here and I’m glad. And I’ve got to quit looking in mirrors with my glasses on.