Platitudes on Aging and Other Annoying Things

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I hate platitudes. You know those annoying statements people say to make you feel better about a situation. I come from a line of women who live long lives, into their eighties and nineties. Based on that kind of lineage, I anticipate a long life too. I’d prefer to be one of those women who age gracefully (whatever the heck that means).

My mother, a proud woman, wore her crown of white hair and the wrinkles on her face with pride. Coloring her hair would have been an insult. “I earned every one of these gray hairs raising six kids, ” she said, more times than I can count. Never at a loss for words, Mother had quite a few trite statements and tiresome clichés in her repertoire of advice. None of which prepared me for the grim reality of aging. I would’ve preferred the truth.

In honor of all aging women, I want to share a few of my mother’s favorite platitudes, sprinkled with a bit of honesty. So, grab a bottle of wine or two and brace yourself, ladies. You’re in for a bumpy ride.

Those aren’t wrinkles; they’re lines of wisdom.

No, they’re wrinkles. Your face is just the beginning. Those suckers spread faster than lines on a Google map and it ain’t pretty. You’ll wake one morning to find perky boobs that once pushed lace-trimmed bras out in nose snuggling cleavage deflated like helium filled balloon gone bad. Sexy bras get shoved to the back of the drawer and replaced with thick strapped, hard-wired versions. Once upon a time, I could slip into a sexy little lace number as quickly as it came off. Now, it’s like gymnastics — shaking, pulling, and tucking those girls into their rightful place and praying to God, they’ll stay.

Those aren’t hot flashes, they’re power surges.

Yeah right; slap CEO on my nametag and call-it-a-day. Panting, turning red in the face, and wiggling out of one’s clothes at an alarming rate, is not offering sexual favors or a lap dance. It’s a damn hot flash, and on those occasions, rest assured, I can kick ass and take names.

Your best days are in front of you. (What a crock.)

My best days were when I had the energy to work ten-hour days, enjoy happy hour with friends, make dinner, help the kids with homework, and have wild sex on the dining room table (or other impulsive places). Wild sex these days is watching the movie version and reminiscing. My body doesn’t bend that way anymore and this ain’t Hollywood. Those grunting and moaning sounds ricocheting off the walls have more to do with the pain in my hips and knees than pleasure.

Age is just a number.

No, it’s a flagrant reminder you’ve been usurped. Younger, thinner, more beautiful women are the ones turning the heads. The only heads I seem to turn these days are old men at Target. And trust me nothing brings the truth home more than an old man at Target, making a move on you.

The trick to aging gracefully is to enjoy it.

Seriously? I don’t think so. Aging is taking me kicking and screaming. I’m a proud woman (got that from mom) and vain. I never leave the house without makeup, earrings, or perfume. Penciling in the lines takes longer, but I refuse to be one of those women with lipstick half way to her nostrils. Did I mention you’ll need a magnifying mirror in your bathroom and reading glasses in every room of the house?

Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.

Freedom to roam around in circles, parking lots, highways, and room-to-room because you’ve forgotten where you are or what you’re doing. Some call this sightseeing, strolling, being disorganized, missing a turn. I call it, “Where the hell is my car? What did I come into this room for and where am I going?”

You haven’t changed at all.

Yes, I have. My face sags, my ass sags, my boobs are hard-wired, I get lost in the driveway, and can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less the last time I had spontaneous sex. My gnarled hands couldn’t open a jar or pick up a penny if you held a gun to my head. The pain of getting up and down makes me hesitant to sit. I don’t sashay, I waddle on legs stiff as iron pegs with feet, and the popping sound is not my gum, it’s my knees. Sedans (too low) are history. Give me an SUV with GPS; my sense of direction went south with my looks. And, driving at night might as well put Stevie Wonder behind the wheel. I can’t see shit.

My husband in a moment of great wisdom told me, “Honey, God made our eyes so vision would fade as we age.” He removed his glasses. “I can’t see a thing. You’re as beautiful as the first time I saw you.” He’s such a sweet talker; I’m swooning.

Gray hair is beautiful.

A few gray hairs, I can abide, but when I wake up and look as if someone dumped fertilizer on my head while I slept, enough is enough. My hairdresser is on retainer, and if my husband has to skip a meal or two for me to afford a cut and color, well all I can say is, “I’m watching his health.”

It’s better than the alternative (my all time favorite).

Ok, there’s some truth to that statement, but not much. Still, it gives me hope. They say all will be made whole in Heaven and I’m counting on it. Is sex included?

The truth

Aging sucks and someone (my mother) should have warned me. So here are a few words of wisdom from my hard-knock school of aging.

1- Repeat after me Botox is my friend. Your husband won’t notice, remember he can’t see.

2- Put your hairdresser on retainer, Clairol says, “You’re worth it.”

3- Sweating the small stuff will give you wrinkles, so don’t.

4- Invest time and money in yourself. Your husband won’t miss the groceries you’re not buying, and besides, you’ve paid your dues.

5- Enjoy the moments and laugh a lot. If we gotta go, go out with a smile on your face. How you get that smile is up to you.

To be fair.

Aging isn’t all dome and gloom. There are advantages. Life experiences have taught me about people and trust. Trivial things matter less, and I’ve figured out the important things in life. The best thing about growing older, however, is letting go of all the nonsense. Whiners and stupid people best stay back, I’ve lost my tolerance. Grow up, life isn’t fair, and there are no guarantees. Political correctness, I flushed it down the toilet where it belongs. I feel a freedom to say exactly what’s on my mind and without apology, and if someone doesn’t like this old lady, tough shit.

Your turn is coming.

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26 thoughts on “Platitudes on Aging and Other Annoying Things

  1. Age is only a number. I don’t know if you’ve ever read that book, “The Secret”. My sister shoved it in my face because for some reason it was necessary to read it. Though she thought it held a secret or something that was secret to me, the point of the book is/was there is no secret, it’s all perspective.

    I used to color my hair. When my daughter was too young she figured if she convinced me to do mine I’d let her do her’s. It was something we shared, smart kid. After a while my hair had the consistency of doll’s hair and took eons to dry that it began getting that funny smell, you know, like when something takes too long to dry. The other thing that impressed me were the diehard hair coloring women with thinning patches of hair and bald spots. I’ve since stopped. My daughter kept on for a while but she doesn’t go there anymore either.

    I know I’m changing. I know my body is different but I keep up as best I can. Listen to what it tells me about foods – sometimes you’ve got to change up the diet – not eat as much, give up something because it doesn’t compute physically anymore. I exercise, use good hair-care products to take care of what is now a white, gray, and some brown-is-still-there color. It’s still wild and curly, I still like it long and when someone tells me they love my hair in all honesty I think they’re crazy but I say ‘thank-you’. When I feel comfortable enough with a person, you know sometimes you come across someone to carry the conversation further with, I express that and am told how it shines in the sun and all the colors together and whatever else they see – well, it’s in the eyes of the beholder as it goes.

    Aging gracefully means giving in to age… the hell you say. When I turned 21 I knew it was the perfect age. No doors were closed to me, no one could say I wasn’t old enough, I was finally totally responsible for myself and 100% accountable for my actions – a serious note, yes – but I was finally fully a part of the world. I thought to myself “I don’t need to get any older. I can stop here.” And so my outlook has remained but still I make it a point to pay attention to what my body tells me, we’ve been around the block a few times after all.

    I’ve got a fridge magnet that says ‘How Old Would You Be If You Didn’t Know How Old You Were” – I can’t say one way or the other. Another adage – ‘youth is wasted on the young’. I remember being young and dumb, those decisions and naive conversations, but I’m older now, wouldn’t trade what I know for the world and I know just how to be young. Waste not…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad you liked it. Unfortunately, all we can do is laugh at ourselves and squirrel away enough money to walk proudly on a nude beach one day. Besides, there’s only some hope Botox do. Lol. Glad you stopped by. Thanks for reading and commenting. Feel free to enlighten others. 🙂

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  2. OMG nude on a beach? I will not even look at myself in a mirror, nor let my husband see me! I know age is just a number but mine is high enough thank you. Being a teenager you think you will never be this old or when I would ask my mother how old she was and thinking 47 was way old. I have gotten past what I thought was ancient when I was a kid. It went way too fast for me. One thing I tell younger people is record what you did for your birthdays, say 18 to 40 because when you get my age you will never remember! Or maybe you will not want too. Great post Sheila!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Was April 9 a tough day for you, Sheila? If you hate platitudes, I can only imagine how you feel about euphemisms: the males among us live with, “grass don’t grown on a busy street,” and, “a little salt goes well with the pepper.” It’s all BS.

    The thing that disappoints me most about ageing is that I live at a time in history and our culture when age is no longer respected. I was promised, as a young, mistrusted buck, that when I got older I would always be given the benefit of the doubt. Instead, I am the target of insults from passing youth, consistently profiled at airports, and the very, very last choice of anyone looking to hire or publish. It strikes me as profoundly unfair to be straddling the problems of youth and of age, all in one lifetime.

    Sorry I haven’t checked in for awhile. I’m glad you are alive and sagging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! You had me laughing out loud with that last line. Thanks. April the 9th was no worse than some other days. But, I hate this aging shit! My mind tells me I can still do anything I want to but ye’old body has different ideas. I agree with you, once upon a time, being older meant more respect. Unfortunately, it appears the youth of today haven’t a clue and apparently neither do the parents who have failed to teach them basic manners and the definition of respect. Hope you enjoyed the post. As always it’s a pleasure to see you in the Cow Pasture.

      Liked by 1 person

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