As my skin gets drier, and my hair, greyer, I’m making peace with the ageing process. In the last few years, my skin has proven to be the litmus paper for how my insides are working. Whether my autoimmune conditions are flaring up, giving me hives and blisters, or if my system is in remission and at peace, skin moist and calm.
The lines are here to stay, and I have to admit, I like them. Same with the grey hair. They lend me some much-needed gravitas.
A few years ago, I found myself looking in the mirror, and realised that instead of seeing the imperfections, I just saw the whole. My body. Not better, or worse. Just a body. A vehicle. And I realised I had turned a bend. Instead of how I looked, I examined how I felt. Does my hip hurt? My gut? Do I feel strong today?
As a parent of a rapidly maturing tween, I’m more focused on DD’s growth process right now than I am on my ageing. Don’t get me wrong, the recent warm flushes are entertaining reminders that my youth and fertility are waning, just as my daughter’s are waxing. But that’s just the circle of life. Perhaps I’ll turn 46 and all of this will hit me like a ton of bricks. Perhaps not.
“…As she grew older, she was aware of her changing position on mortality. In her youth, the topic of death was philosophical; in her thirties it was unbearable and in her forties unavoidable. In her fifties, she had dealt with it in more rational terms, arranging her last testament, itemizing assets and heirlooms, spelling out the organ donation, detailing the exact words for her living will. Now, in her sixties, she was back to being philosophical. Death was not a loss of life, but the culmination of a series of releases. It was devolving into less and less. You had to release yourself from vanity, desire, ambition, suffering, and frustration – all the accoutrements of the I, the ego. And if you die, you would disappear, leave no trace, evaporate into nothingness…”
Amy Tan, Saving Fish from Drowning