I haven’t thought very much about aging, and that is because the whole idea scares the shit out of me; I haven’t yet, at the ripe old age of thirty-mumble, come to terms with my body and my relationship to it, how to keep it healthy and happy and give it what it needs, how to truly and completely accept this carcass of mine, how to truly and completely accept that the person who loves me and sees me naked every day thinks my body is beautiful. And now you want me to think about what I’m supposed to do after the ravages of gravity and the great heft and enormity of all those accumulated years settles upon my boobs and my butt and my thighs and my neck, even? I don’t think I can do that.
The whole idea seems unbelievably daunting, and the inevitability of aging, well, inevitable and speeding ever-closer. The rapid onset of the wrinkly years is somehow a terrible joke and an awfully unfair one, too. Do you ever get to stop and catch your breath and figure out where you are and who you are, before you have to start all over again?
I was a pre-teen and terrified of my budding breasts, my period, the
fact that I had hips and then suddenly I was worried about their size,
which became worry about what someone would think of my breasts as my
shirt came off and my bra came undone, even as I began to worry about
the size of my ass and the shape of my thighs and the out-thrust of my
belly and the teenage skin problems that never quite cleared up and
cleared out and now I am thinking about the lines under my eyes, the
elasticity of my jowls, the structural integrity of my thighs, the
fortitude of my breasts and their perkiness, my desirability in the
face of the breakdown of my body.
How am I ever supposed to
forge a peaceful, loving relationship with my body when it just never
stops? Will I ever? Or will the beautiful and natural aging process be
what finally shuts me down, has me showering in my clothes and slapping
away loving, horny hands? Because there is no way I am going to age
like the unbearably beautiful Helen Mirren. No, I fear that I will end
up as one of those withered apple dolls, shrunk to half my size and
Though science says, maybe not. Maybe you can keep having very satisfying sex
when you are a senior citizen. Crazy! Unbelievable! Whoa! But
seriously, what that says to me is this: maybe with age comes wisdom,
and with wisdom comes finally accepting the fact that imperfection is a
fact and not a flaw in itself; that this is what bodies do–they sag
and hang weird and look nothing at all like what you see in the
magazines and you are perfect and touchable at every age, so throw off
your adult undergarments and get to knocking boots, beautiful.
It is a wonderful notion, as long as you try not to picture your grandparents doing it.