Category: Aging

it’s not dark yet…

Aging actually could be fun if it weren’t for the dying. I think it should be fun because really, like Bob Dylan says, ‘It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there’. 

We know so much now and so much better. We have so much experience, we have come to understand what’s important. We know how to value beauty, people, time. We know how to appreciate the things that have challenged us and others. We know that less is more and that experiences trump things. 

And you must know how to have fun, wild crazy fun. Right?

It’s not aging that scares us, it’s dying of course. It’s the dying, stupid. If we just continued to age on and on, if our wrinkles acquired wrinkles and our sags got sags, and then we metamorphosed into something else, something very different looking than the average human being, and, assuming the parts — the livers and hearts and knees etc. — could be replaced, we’d be fine with aging. At least I would be.

Even though the future of life as we know it seems precarious, I would still like to be around for the show. And I find it hard indeed to think of not being here to see, taste, hear, and feel wonderful things.

I have really greedy eyes, I devour pictures of things like they were food. When I say pictures, I mean both the live pictures that my eyes register when I’m out and about, and the images I consume, everywhere from Instagram to TV, books, and magazines.

And feelings. 

Feelings, little rushes of exhilaration due to art, love, exercise, and amusement — soul food. 

Because I’m a visual person, I can’t imagine not seeing beauty, and because I’m a very physical person, I can’t imagine not ever again feeling the rush of endorphins I do when… (more…)

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she’s become mannish

‘She’s become mannish,’ they used to say. I’ve heard it myself. It was a term given to a woman well into menopause, a woman whose facial features had become ‘coarse,’ more like a man’s. The point was, she was decidedly not feminine. And obviously, the term was derogatory, most often extremely so.

She’s become mannish.

With time, the term mannish has disappeared, and sexist talk has become slightly less overtly offensive. We no longer call women mannish, but we still insinuate that they’re past their ‘prime.’ And critics might comment that certain women have not ‘aged well,’ (it’s like reading a menu at a steak house), or that they should do this or that to make their look softer, more feminine, when what they mean of course is younger.

In short, we want them to make themselves more palatable, to not remind us that the process of aging marches on. The process of aging marches on, though. I recently heard the philosopher of ethics, Heather Widdows, talking about beauty say:

We all sag, wrinkle, and die. 

Celebrities like Frances McDormand, who may have once been called mannish, are now heralded for their ‘bad ass’ looks and attitudes. And even though I’m tired of the saying bad ass, especially when applied to older women, I agree with the sentiment. I completely understand why when someone like McDormand, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allie MacDowell or Jessica Lange are seen with little or (more…)

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a rag, a bone, a hank of hair

‘A rag, a bone, a hank of hair.’ That’s the inevitable answer to the question ‘what’s going to become of me?’ A rag, a bone, a hank of hair, that’s what. The clump of flotsam you come upon on the beach. The kind of stuff you can be both drawn to and freaked out by. The kind of thing kids might say “ugh” and “ewww” about.

I explore those things, poking at them with a stick, and then tugging on the line, holding the wad up with two fingers like it was either a delicacy or a wad of hair just fished out of the drain.

A rag, a bone, a hank of hair.

It’s what I’m becoming, happily, almost joyfully. I’m deeply aware of it happening, the shedding of what’s no longer necessary and the increasing focus on what’s good and lasting.

On a superficial level, I still go about my indulgent routine of… (more…)

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Anna Wintour and bare arms

I wrote recently about my “profound sadness” at reading about women our age wanting to hide their arms. I exaggerate, but it’s something I am very much interested in, if not obsessed with. Then yesterday, perusing some of the channels of social media that I do, I discovered this picture of Anna Wintour.

wintour

 And hallelujah sister, Anna Wintour does not feel bad about her arms!

I’ve been watching Anna Wintour’s arms now for awhile (see, it really is an obsession). I noticed years ago that she favors sleeveless dresses. Besides her ubiquitous sunglasses and snooty attitude, both of which I appreciate, she is often seen sitting in the front row of fashion shows in exquisitely cut, sleeveless Armani, Missoni, or Chanel frocks.

One can understand why she might like sleeveless dresses, she has very nice, toned arms. Apparently she’s an avid tennis player and still today you can see that underlying fitness. We all know that Wintour can afford to wear anything she wants.

Obviously though, at the age of 67 she still wants to wear sleeveless dresses. 

I’ve seen advertisements for creams that are supposed to fix the crepey skin of the upper arm, but I’ve never heard of any sort of cosmetic surgery for upper arms. If there was, I’m pretty sure Anna Wintour would know all about it and perhaps she would have it done. I like to think though, that just maybe she’d say to hell with it.

In any case, I find this picture of Wintour empowering, and I don’t even like that word.

Whether or not you can afford Chanel, if you can dress with style and feel good about yourself, don’t feel bad about your arms, bare them.

Anita

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