On Aging

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I recently had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot with old Phoenix friend, Devon, and new Ohio friends Dennis and Cheryl, who did my hair and makeup. It was an impromptu sort of thing. I showed up with no costuming, only shoes, and Cheryl let me play with her clothes.

At the end of the day, we agreed we’d gotten some good shots, and I was exhausted. Following a hurried meal of beer and pizza, I rushed home to my dogs. Then, this week, I got a look at the captures. I called one of my girlfriends immediately, practically screaming into the phone: “I’m an ADULT!”

At thirty-four, this should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me, especially since Jake and I have been spending many a weekend with his co-workers, most of whom are under the age of twenty-five.

denThe me I saw in those photos was a full grown, mature woman with some wrinkles. I looked back at a photo shoot from 2005, eleven years ago, and yelped at the difference. For the first time in my life, I realized I was aging.

My face looks different now than it did years ago. I’m way more angular, practically noble in my pointed edges. My skin shows evidence of damage. But, I suppose, what shocked me most about my recent photo shoot was the way I posed with power, staring straight into the camera or aloof but confident in others.

Who was this woman in the pictures anyway? She looked like a grown-up. However, most days, I don’t feel like a grown-up, even if I don’t get ID’d for beer anymore. While doing a shot of God knows what at the Flats in downtown Cleveland last weekend, I didn’t feel like an adult. The next morning, when I thought I might die of a hangover, though, I suppose I did.

I have changed, and it’s not just apparent in photos. I’m more organized and driven now than I ever have been, as evidenced by the release of my first novel, Bite Somebody. I’m more fearless, agreeing to star in a short film this summer despite my terror of walking in front of a video camera. I understand what it means to be a friend; I understand what it means to be polite. My temper has calmed some. I’m way less likely to spout off and make a scene now than I was even a couple years ago.

IMG_7310Then again, I also love watching cartoons on Saturday morning. I laugh at really dumb jokes. I’d rather talk about sex than politics, and I absolutely refuse to watch the world news … which might actually be a sign of maturity, since I now know my limits. I am fully aware of things that will crush my spirit, and I avoid them.

I do dishes. I do laundry. I water plants.

Holy shit, I’m an adult. And I’m not getting any younger.

Women in their sixties are laughing at me right now, but this photo shoot brought about an epiphany I was not wholly prepared for. I even started using the anti-wrinkle eye cream my mom gave me because she didn’t want it.

Is aging simply the passage of time? I don’t think so, no matter what my sun damage says. Aging is growing, developing, and (if we’re doing it right) becoming better versions of our previous selves. As we age, we learn and grow. We hopefully become less selfish, although I’m still working on that. We choose to embrace the world around us or shrink from it, depending on personal preference–but, with age, at least we know our own preferences.

I prefer laughter over tears.
I prefer Benedict Cumberbatch.
I prefer a night at home with my husband over a night out in Crazy Town.
I prefer Jeopardy! over the world news.
I prefer the person I am now to the girl I was years ago, and maybe I will one day prefer another, older version of myself.

I’m aging, and it’s kind of scary but all right. I’m still gonna use the wrinkle cream, though.

6 thoughts on “On Aging

  1. Yeah I am one of those 60 something old ladies laughing at you right now, like you said there would be. In a way I’d give anything to be your 34 again, but I’d love to be 34 again with all the experiences and maturity I’ve accumulated over these many years since I was that age. And you know, I look at myself now, going on 68, and I think I am more beautiful now than I have ever been in my entire life. My teeth are fixed at the tune of thousands of dollars, my hair now grows longer than it ever did, and I can afford now to have it maintained beautifully by my wonderful hair colorist at Salon Hazelton, which I never would have been able to do raising a family on a church salary; I’m still rather slender and don’t look bad in contemporary and youthful clothing. Yeah, I wish my skin wasn’t getting wrinkly and thin; I always pray that no one sees me struggle to get out of my car; I have aches and pains and I swear my digestive system is going to shut down any day now, it’s such a pain in the ass, literally, BUT, I’m sorta glad I am where I am today and who I am today. Maybe when that digestive system does finally shut down on me, I might think differently and put on that flowered day dress, watch old reruns of game shows all day and suck down a bottle of pepto bismol! Now that is old….. And I’m never going there!!

    Sent from my iPhone Mitch Tyson

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  2. Another 60 something Chuckle Head here. Just wait till you’re bent over blow drying your hair and suddenly when you turn your head you get a glimpse of your shoulders. Only they’re not YOUR shoulders, they belong to your Grandma. Prepare yourself, it’s a scary sight. Enjoy your remaining young and unshriveled day!

  3. I recently turned 32, and I think I’m almost okay with being in my 30s now. Lol! Things are certainly far better in every single area of my life than they were when I was 22. I remember having a pity party at 28, and a 34 year old told me that her 30s have been the best years of her life. 🙂 I’m not aging too much yet. I have a couple of fine lines under my eyes though, I think. But on my birthday, I did have a couple of people die a little of shock, and it’s like, “What am I supposed to look like at 32?” 30 is the new 21. 60 is the new 40. Anyway under 21 is a baby. People don’t age like they used to. I saw a 60 year old woman on Wednesday that I would have sworn was 40. I still can’t believe it. She must sleep on ice on something. 😀

  4. I loved your response to growing older. I’m 62 and when I turned 60 I thought how fast time is going by. I was really depressed but you find the good things life has to offer. You have that with Jake so enjoy each day and don’t worry about wrinkles. You’ll always be beautiful to me. 💋💕

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