aging · curiosity · self-care

A Silver Fox with Twinkle Toes.

8.18.18I moisturized my toes last night.

Perhaps like you, I don’t give much thought to the care of my feet or toes, but as I was preparing for bed last night, Creme de Corps in hand, I figured why not.  They’re looking a little … well, wrinkly.

Last week a friend came by, and due to some sudden weight loss and new “in our 50s” naked time happening, she’s concerned about the crepey-ness of her belly skin.  (Hmm, I don’t usually moisturize my belly either!)

Reading Druckerman’s There Are No Grown-Ups, I reflect on the French ideology summed up as, “Être bien dans sa peau” — To be good in one’s skin.  To feel comfortable, confident, at any age. 

I’ve picked up copies of More magazine, geared toward women over 40, for a decade.

My first memoir was Anne Kreamer’s Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters.

To say I’ve had my eye on how to age in a way that feels humble, appreciative, and graceful would be accurate.  To say I still fall into thought-traps about body image would also be accurate!

My friend is not scared of her aging, but aware that it’s different.  I’m aware I can’t eat dessert every day without seeing it on my body the next.  I’m aware there are more lines, more crepes, more gray on the lady carpet.

I’m aware of an excitement, too.  What will it be like next?  What new feature will I notice?  I like to age.  It’s a constant, every-day science experiment!  (And as a cancer survivor, it feels like a blessing to “get to” age and discover at all.)

Aging is ultimately something I can’t choose to do.  But it is something I can choose how I relate to.

Which is why I’ve gravitated toward learning from others what it’s like for them, their experience and their coming to grips.  Like most things in life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

enjoyed massaging cream into my toes last night.  I liked paying minute attention to who and how my body is, this lifelong partner, passenger, and driver.  This body houses my entire ability to be here, and I want to witness it with awe.

(And, sure, I wish my butt held any “cushion” at all but, “If wishes were horses…”!)

I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna (though I know I do, and that’s okay), but embracing my body and its aging—nay, development—is like embracing Time: it will happen.  Full Stop.

What kind of a person do I want to be when it does?

 

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curiosity · growth · relationships

Curiouser and Curiouser

2.12.18 curiouser

Several years ago, I had this exchange with an old boyfriend:

“I know what you’re going to say–” I started.

“In that case we never have to talk,” he wisely interrupted.

Uh hmm… well, I do suppose he’s right.  If I believe that I already know how people will act, talk, behave, and respond, then why bother talking to or engaging with them, anyway?  If I think that all people are is a prescribed set of responses and actions, what on earth is exciting or surprising about them — and, more to the heart, what on earth am I learning?

Yesterday, I listened to the SuperSoul podcast interview between Oprah and Brian Grazer (a Hollywood writer and producer, whose name I’d not known, but whose movies I’ve cherished: Splash, Apollo 13, Parenthood).  He’d just released his book, A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, and I loved what he had to say in the interview and promptly downloaded the book.  (My most pleasurable way to clean my house is while listening to books — and this one is read by Norbert Leo Butz, one of my favorite Broadway musical actors [yes, with a name like that, I’m sure he had no choice but to become so incredible he couldn’t be laughed at!])

Brian Grazer’s message is apparent in the title, but what struck me was the idea of remaining curious within my own relationship.

At the start of our dating, and for many months after, my current boyfriend repeated the following, partly as a habitual mantra and partly as a badge of honor: “My first answer’s always, ‘No.'”

As a woman who enjoys lots of new experiences, I was frequently given the chance to hear him say his cherished mantra:  No.  I don’t like movies.  I don’t like vacations.  I don’t like parties.  I don’t…

Yet, as soon as we’d complete one of those new activities, he’d almost invariably (if begrudgingly) admit, “I love…!” or, sometimes the pride-preserving, “I guess ___ isn’t so bad.”  Or, maddeningly, “Why didn’t we do this before?!”  *insert eye-roll emoji*

Over our year-plus together, we’ve both noticed an interesting shift in his knee-jerk response from “No” to “Maybe.”  As his girlfriend, this has been exceedingly wonderful to hear.

However, at times, even “maybe” is too foot-dragging, too oppositional, too much effort for me to convince, and I become disheartened, occasionally pessimistic, and sometimes dour about the prospect of trying new things together, moving into new places in our lives together.  And I stop hoping.

Now, while this might be a reasonable reaction to a wall of “no,” the pure truth is that the answer is increasingly, “Sure!”  While I may quietly lament a lack of verve or passion for life, the truth is that he’s increasingly taking action, showing verve, and expressing passion.

What I’ve begun to realize is that my own pessimistic reactions have become static, sedate — and outdated.  J. is not the man I began dating — he is becoming a new version of himself.  Yet I can still react to him as though he is the negative nancy I knew.

I have lost my curiosity.

I have begun to assume what his actions and reactions will be.  I have lost sight of what is happening today by pasting it over with a staid version of yesterday.  I have limited him to a vision of who he was, rather than who he is and is becoming.

How very sad.

So, my action for myself is to now notice who and what is truly in front of me.  Yes, sometimes that is still a nay-sayer, and that can be true, but how about noticing the Yeses, the That was Funs, the We should do that more oftens–

And mostly, the increased Joy.