Having an aging body requires constant forgiveness. Forgiveness for not being fertile, lovely and young; for having wrinkles, for no longer having perky breasts, for having creeping cellulite that has worked its way up to your armpits and down to your knees.
An aging body is not beautiful by our current standards, and like many other women, I often bemoan mine. It’s only until something goes wrong that you appreciate it. Lately I’ve been trying to appreciate my body and than it for keeping me breathing, thinking, eating, shitting and being alive. An aging body means being a bit more loving; admitting that all night session of drinking may not be a good idea or passing on the cappuccino. I started to honour the sheer strength and efficiency of my body rather than just its esthetics. So what if my ass is wide and looks like freshly made ricotta cheese? It doesn’t hurt and holds my hips and legs together so I can walk.
When you get older you make a covenant with your body. I’ll forgive you for being a bit battered and not so sexy anymore. I promise to appreciate you more at the end of the day and not ask you to go beyond what is reasonable. I’ll exercise and keep all the parts moving and working. Not to make myself beautiful and young again but because you need maintenance, like any older model.
What lies ahead of older women if we give up the ridiculous quest for youth? What happens when we stop caring if other people find us attractive and decide to spend our last moments chasing after the illusive youth and thereby losing what precious time we do have. Do I want my crowning achievement in my later years to be that I “didn’t look my age?” Who gives a shit about that when there are more interesting things to pursue?
As women, we are not taught never to look at aging in the eye and ask it what it wants from us. Instead, we push it aside and talk with great bravado about not looking old as we slap on more –age-defying lotions and cover up that grey before rushing off the yoga and then weigh our luncheon to make sure there is not too much fat on it. What would happen if we just gave up chasing our youth and let it slip away into the past where it can be something we think about fondly with great affection?