Glory days

The other day I had just finished showering, preparing to teach an evening class, when the dryer finished its cycle. I brought the basket upstairs, in my bathrobe, and pulled on a pair of socks that were on top. I am now ruined for non-dryer-warmed socks. Regular socks are just a sad imitation of a superior product. However, it would be pretty bad, ecologically-wise, for me to run the dryer every time I put on a pair of socks, and yet it is a very tempting prospect, especially on a day like today when we are in “winter storm warning;” at minus 21 with a ton of snow I wish I could just live in the dryer. Or maybe have clothes made out of electric blankets.

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Brr!

Speaking of ecological warriors, because of changes – FINALLY – made by the CRTC, I was able to actually see Superbowl commercials yesterday! For those of you not in Canada, this is a huge thing. Local stations would take over and instead of seeing the big-time commercials, we would see locally-made commercials for a furniture warehouse, or commercials for the actual television station that we were watching. Normally my husband would just record the whole game, start late, and zap through the commercials. But not this year! This year I got to see this one with Melissa McCarthy and this one, which is my new favourite thing and, proving that advertising really does work, I am going to look into this hair care line.

My hair has reached critical “it’s winter” dryness and that, coupled with my grey-root situation that is typical in this stage of my hair-colour cycle, is making me feel a bit dreary. I am trying to reconcile my I-Am-Woman-And-Growing-Old-Is-Beautiful-Screw-The-Youth-Culture mentality with my Eeek-Don’t-Look-Too-Closely-In-The-Mirror mentality. Know what I mean? I want to not care about my marionette lines and my undereye circles and my forehead ridges, but vanity, it is the last to die. I wrote this piece all about self-care and I love it, I really do. I think it’s one of my favourite things I’ve written in recent memory, and I believe every word I wrote, and yet it is HARD sometimes, to smile while looking in the mirror. I mean, in some ways it’s not, because I suffer from a mad case of Bitchy Resting Face, and smiling alleviates that.

Ah, I should not focus so much on appearance, am I right? My friend and I were having tea the other day and talking about exercise and keeping in shape, as we grow older. “It’s not about aesthetics,” I said, and then, for the sake of honesty I added, “Well, maybe it’s a little about aesthetics.” I wonder what age I will be when I stop caring about my appearance. Death, maybe?

Does anyone else suffer from this internal struggle? I don’t want to care about my appearance, but I do. I want to celebrate my aging self, and I do, but I also am starting to fully understand why celebrities get plastic surgery. Can you imagine being an actress, seeing yourself in reruns? For the vain – scratch that, for anyone – that would be difficult. And in this time of filters and Instagram and photoshopped everything, it’s hard to remember what real people actually look like. And for me, I feel very strong and healthy, and so it’s sometimes startling to see myself in the mirror, pre-makeup in the morning.

On that note, I was half-watching a movie with my husband on the weekend: Fifty Fifty. It is a very touching – and, apparently true – movie about a young man with cancer and a fifty-fifty chance of survival. No spoilers here, except that we were 95% of the way through a movie when I realized that the mother was played by Anjelica Huston. She’s aged, I thought, then mentally slapped myself because of course she’s aged! She’s not dead. We should all be lucky enough to age. What a terrible way to think, especially while watching a movie of such content.

Am I alone in this? Anyone else struggling a bit with this whole “looking our age” thing? Come here and let me hug you and pat your back with my knobbly, veiny old hands. xo

Comments

  1. I’m 47 and totally feel this struggle. I find I’m generally ok with aging. I’m ok with my wrinkles usually and the fact that certain parts of my body are never going to be where they once were no matter what exercise I do. That said, I find lately I’m struggling because I’m getting that under the chin loose skin thing and it’s bothering me a lot more than wrinkles or sagging. I’m not sure why it upsets me, but it does. I want to get comfortable with it because I’m not going to have plastic surgery, but I’m struggling and not sure when/how I’ll stop noticing it and being slightly bummed out by it every time I look in the mirror. Sigh.

    On a lighter note, growing up we had radiators for heat. They were complete crap at heating our house, but the BEST for warming clothes in the morning. I’d put my pants and shirt on them at night when I went to bed and in the morning they would be toasty warm. This is the only thing I miss about radiator heating.

    Finally, the scene in 50/50 just before he goes into surgery made me cry unexpectedly. Just thinking about it now, makes me feel kind of weepy. Man, being a mom has made me soft 😉

  2. I was going to suggest radiator-warmed socks, too, if you have radiators. Also, we have a space heater in the bathroom because there’s no working heat in there. The kids set their pajamas in front of it when they’re in the bath or shower to get them toasty before bed.

  3. You’re definitely not alone in the slightest. I was so secure in aging until my brother passed away. Now, everything seems to nag at me. My parents are going to leave me! My husband is going to leave me! I’m going to leave my kids! Everything feels like a physical reminder of that now & it sucks. Fighting to get back to where I don’t care or even feel empowered by body.

    It also doesn’t help that my husband is getting sexier, I swear to god, by the day. I think more women express interest in him at 37 than they did at 17 & 27. WTF, nature.

    Love you Nicole. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  4. Cara-Lynne Auld says:

    Sometimes when I am teaching yoga, I have to admit to the class of all the many benefits of Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) my favorite is what it does for my face.
    On a side note, I think Kramer developed that “fresh from the dryer” addiction.
    Namaste, Nicole, well done.

  5. smothermother says:

    I have been blessed with good genes and look 10 years younger than I am. As long as I die my hair. I am probably about 75% grey now. I was looking at my roots the other day thinking, maybe I should just let the grey come in and embrace being 45. But then I knew that people would think me older than 45 because of the grey. Being told I look so young for so long and jumping to people thinking I’m older than I am made me book my next appointment at the salon pretty fast. Maybe one day I’ll embrace the grey. When I’m 65 and my knobbly hands and age spots reveal my age.

    You are definitely not alone!

  6. Same here – I’m also getting increasingly fretty about my appearance as I age. I’m 46 now and starting to think about stopping dying my hair, but between that and the chin sags and, as you so awesomely put it, the marionette lines, I’m worried I’d look like I’d aged 20 years overnight. I’ve never been one to fuss over my appearance but now I wish I had some skills. I don’t even know how to put on eyeliner, for heaven’s sake, and I think a little care in my appearance would go a long way to making me feel better about myself.

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