Age moves on stealth feet. Except that tip-toeing is getting noisier with each passing year. In a few years I imagine it’ll be like Gene Simmons, in full Kiss regalia, stomping all the juice out of my youth.
It’s getting harder to hide the signs, such as the under-eye circles (Just how much of that caulk they sell at Sephora can you cake under each eye?) and that flotation device permanently attached to my waist.
Years of smoking and tanning have etched lines on my once-perfect skin. Yes, I once had perfect skin. No makeup needed. Ever. I quit smoking 17 years ago. More than anything I hope my lungs have somewhat regenerated. But my skin, well, the damage is done. I wish every young person lighting up and buying a tanning club membership would consider this. I know I didn’t.
If anyone is guilty of thinking youth would last forever, it’s me. I had it so easy for so long. I always looked far younger than my years. I was carded for alcohol well into my 30s. (I was carded at Target last week for buying NyQuil but that’s something different entirely.) But now? My knees ache and throb after I run on the treadmill. They require ointments to feel better.
I’m getting the hereditary veiny, twisted hands of my mother and grandmother. I don’t sleep well at night anymore. I no longer feel sexy. My body cannot produce a baby. My silhouette no longer forms the hourglass figure of youth.
I am a pear.
I am the pear-shaped princess of perimenopause.
Inside I feel young. I have good energy. I am strong. I have will and fight. Most of the time. I still swing on the swings at the playground and laugh at poop jokes and The Three Stooges.
I don’t want to fight gravity with shots and creams and endless slices under the knife. Yet, if the money were available, I’d probably submit to “just one” procedure. I’d have my eyes fixed. They are aging me faster than a carton of Marlboro Reds. But, I know one procedure begets another and another. Younger eyes would beg for a smoother forehead and taut cheeks and a tight neck. On and on it goes until you are a cartoon character named Joan Rivers.
So, what’s gotten the pear-shaped princess singing the blues lately? I’m surrounded most days by much younger women. Women at the starting end of the fertility curve. Women who are worried about getting pregnant while they are pregnant. One day I did the math. Some of these mothers were flying out of their mother’s uterus as I was peeling rubber out of the high school parking lot on commencement night. I am — gasp — the old mom. I don’t even know where everyone my age is hanging out anymore. Are they all dead?
God knows, I try to go out and party like it’s 1989. I’m almost always the first to check out. I was called on it at the last girls’ night out. I’d been up since 5 a.m., had one too many glasses of red wine, and had a date with my pillow.
“Lame, lame, lame,” said one of the young moms as she slapped my drooping shoulders. She had the fiery intensity of a woman determined to get her way. “You are coming this time.”
So I did. If only to save face, to prove them wrong about being the old mom. I found a second wind and together we christened the newest wine bar in town. I’m glad I did. Even if it meant I had to wear dark glasses to school drop-off the next morning and go home and put an ice pack on my face before taking a three-day nap. The rest of those young things? They looked fresh as morning dew on an Easter lily.
If you aren’t already a fan, check out Bossy’s take on a wishy-washy friend named Peri.