My mom’s reflection overlayed mine in the mirror this morning. I saw her lines, sags, and bags. Her silver locks, wispy and white. I smiled at us. Without trying, my face had morphed into my mother’s.
I often hear how “aging is BAD.” True, our bodies break down. And, we struggle to cope with the wrinkles, flabs, aches, diseases, forgetfulness, lethargy, libido, and more. But, the curse of aging is just psycho-babble. Plastic surgeons make BILLIONS on our fears. Advertisers make more. I got a brain freeze when a 26-year-old asked me which face cream I thought was best at preventing wrinkles. Did she even look at my face? Mark Twain said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” Bless you, Mr. Clemens!
Some of us are gym jockeys. Fighting the good fight against aging. I admire these people. I do home workouts but don’t beat myself up over missing a day. My goal is to keep trying harder and to wear my bumps and bruises with grace. My aging face confesses how I’ve handled quests, adventures, mishaps, tragedies, and comedies. Coco Chanel said, “Nature gives us the face we have at 20; it’s up to us to merit our face at 50.”
We all know that gravity sucks. We curse it when peering into a magnifying mirror or waking up stiff and achy in the morning. I find myself asking Siri, “How old is ____?” Then I wonder why that actor who is my age looks SO MUCH YOUNGER. My husband’s theory is “She’s had work done.” Yet, gravity is an equalizer, bridging the gap between youth and old age. We can masquerade our faces or cut out our lines and bulges, but underneath all this expensive fuss is just us—human beings on a planet. Humans who can love, comfort, create, laugh, learn, hurt, and hate. Our bodies house our humanness, our souls. Wouldn’t the rewards be greater by repairing our spirits instead of our faces?
Aging doesn’t make us invisible. In fact, Betty White said, “I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot!” Old age empowers us. Inspires us to be more authentic and in the present. We socialize more. Accept more. Laugh more. Forgive more. Love more. And, risk more.
Tonight, I met Mom’s face in the mirror again. I was gratified to see her in me. My mom was a loving, adventurous woman. Finding her in my gestures and my crooked fingers and wrinkles is reassuring. Her unconditional love graced me through childhood and uplifts me in my aging days. If you remember anything from my bantering, remember this: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” (Satchel Paige)