Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How We Learned to Love The Things That Suck: Age Over Beauty

When I was young I assumed I would enter into my middle age with resources - for creams, and powders, procedures, and whatnot. So I didn't sweat the load about aging per se - the whole sagging, puffing, plumping business, I mean. Well, none of those goods and services I'd banked on have come to pass. And yet, though I find myself looking hard upon the border between the beginning side and the other - peeking over top of the bell curve of life - I feel... better. I figure 90 for a conservative life span for this day and age, although I keep telling my kids I am going to live to 135 - just to annoy them.

I'm less insecure than I used to be for no apparent reason. I'm certainly not as thin as I used to be. In those days I didn't feel it though. I look at pictures of my younger, svelter self and think, "Stupid git! She didn't even notice!" I'm less fit than I was before I had children, less gainfully employed, less free. But also less anxiety-ridden. I've learned, counter-intuitively, that if I slow down I actually get more done. I've learned, rather imperfectly let me point out, to shut up and listen more. I rarely have too little to say and generally in the opening of one's mouth less really is more!

I'm less hard on myself and other people - and by that I don't mean to say I thought so much ill of others as I'd assumed they'd think ill of me, which is an accusation of bad-behavior if you think about it. I've learned that self-loathing and self-pity, while they may illicit sympathy for someone young and pretty, at middle age and above just make you look like an asshole. I'm certainly years past the powdery buff of beauty intrinsic to youth. But I've learned that outer beauty is for catching partners, inner beauty is for keeping them.

I don't claim to be wiser though I am older than I used to be - but aren't we all?! I didn't come by any of this through smarts, or searching, or spirituality. I think I just got bored. How long can one keep up the self-deprecating? And since my standup comedian career never materialized it wasn't really doing me any good anyway. So, at some point I just figured, eh, why bother. I'm fine. Or in the infinite wisdom of Popeye, "I y'am what I y'am".

If I had a porch and a rocking chair you'd probably find me in it, hand tucked in waist band, watching cars go by. Certainly much more fascinating than picking on myself.

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