As my sister Ethel (I wish I could say her name has been changed here to protect the innocent, but it hasn’t) lay awake during the night a while back, unable to sleep, she asked herself what she would like to change about her body. She has hit that age, you know, where it feels like she has to accept that all of us eventually become victims of Father Time, especially when we don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars squirreled away for the entry fee into the Youngest Looking Old Person In The Coffin Sweepstakes. (Relax, sis, you have a lot of years before you reach this point – although not as many as I have J )
Being the always-supportive little sister that I am – okay, younger sister that I am, I decided to help her with her list. It’s more fun than counting sheep, and requires fewer grey cells than the old Twenty Questions required. With this in mind, let’s take a trip to the body shop, dream of that new you, and pick the one thing you would want most.
Let’s start at the top. She said she wanted her old hair back – the thick, lush chestnut-colored stuff that cascaded over her shoulder and curled just a bit at the end. That would be awesome, although in my case it would be problematic because I am not sure what color my hair used to be. Thanks to that wonderful twisted generic rhizome I was blessed with from my father’s side, it has been grey longer than it was any other color. That said, any color might be better, as long as it didn’t have the texture and thickness of armpit hair.
If she had that wonderful hair back, though, it would be nice to have the unwrinkled face and unbaggy eyelids to go with it. Of course, that hair hanging down around your ears might now mess up your limited hearing, so you would need your hear-a-pin-drop hearing back, and if you are doing that, you might want to ditch the glasses and restore your better than 20/20 vision you once had. Since we’re in the neighborhood, maybe we can work out a deal – trade in a chin or two for perhaps new earlobes that don’t shake when you move your head.
My sister, it pains me to say, has been blessed with perfect teeth. No matter how old the rest of her gets, she has worked like a trooper to keep those pearlies in perfect shape. She is a dentist’s nightmare, because when he looks in her mouth, there is no new pool liner there, no new Bimmer for the garage, no winter on the Riviera. I am not so lucky, so we should probably throw a whole new set on my tab. If we’re dreaming, let’s dream in Technicolor – make em so that they are the impervious, untouchable, low maintenance ones that I never have to worry about again.
Back to the hair, though – to do those new old locks justice, we would then need the arms to be more toned, more durable, able to spend hours up, working on the hair to keep it looking incredible. Hair is work. Beautiful hair is more work. With that amazing hair back, though, it would be wonderful if it draped over shoulders that weren’t so hunched or flabby. The tips of that wonderful hair curled above those wonderful perky breasts – gravity really is a heartless bitch. Sis, remember when I teased you about how you could save money by buying bandaids for those puppies, instead of shelling out for a bra? Well, I do apologize, and ruefully acknowledge that membership in the ginormous-boob club comes with a price. Like gravity, karma is also a bitch; together, they are merciless. Your list won’t require scaffolding and miles of duct tape to pull those puppies back up where they belong. For that, I am jealous. I should point out though, that the way mine are going, in a year or two, I won’t have to worry about polishing the toes of my shoes... the boobs will take care of it for me (if I can just keep them out of the gravy when I’m making dinner).
We all wish for the tight butt and the toned tummies of our youth. Even skinny people have saggy skin on those areas as they get older. We also should consider some digestive parts. Can you imagine what it would be like to again eat without having to run through the list of things that would cause heartburn, gas or our gallbladders to revolt? There was also a time when our knees, or in my case, ankle, didn’t creak with every movement. If someone had told me when I was twenty that, at the age of fifty playing tug-of-war with my ankle to unlock it would be routine, I would have laughed in their faces. Do not worry though about that harbinger of quintessential old-age – the bowel discussions. It won’t happen here. On this blog, bowels are totally off limits. That’s my gift to those of us sharing this journey.
There is a curse, and maybe even a lesson, in this exercise, I suppose. The curse is that we can’t turn the clock back, no matter how much we want to. We can slow some of the process down, we can do our damnedest to maintain what we have, but we really can’t stop it from happening. The lesson is that, it seems despite our reluctance, our bodies work as a magnificent symphony, parts in concert, aging together, to make us what we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be it. There is undeniable beauty in that.