“Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”- Psalm 103:5
It’s the special birthday. Born in ’57 and age 57. I am reflective and for the first time ever on my birthday, I reflect on whether I am beginning to feel the effects of aging.
I’m moving my body on the yoga mat, so I begin by taking a mental body scan and it dawns on me that I have been starting to feel some interloping physical twinges. I can’t call them aches or pains or I will have given them energy, but let’s call them “subtle nuances” and the one in the lower right back is the ringleader. My mind starts to notice other things I had overlooked as I continue through my yoga practice.
Having been small in stature my whole life, I have lived in tall high heels. Recently, I told myself I was buying into the “ballet slipper” craze. I caught a picture of the Dutchess’ sister, Pippa Middleton, wearing red suede London Sole ballet flats and she looked amazing. I bought the exact red pair of the pricey shoes online and felt like I was still fashionably hip as I wore them every day in my work as a lawyer.
Strutting the flats to the courthouse I got off the elevator on the fourth floor only to see a younger woman attorney examining the roster of case assignments on the wall outside the elevator, poised with her hip cocked, and looking sleek in a pair of drop dead gorgeous patent leather stilettos. They were red of course. All of a sudden I felt like Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm in my red suede ballet flats.
“Jennifer Aniston says you wear heels because it puts you closer to God,” she commented when I complimented her shoes and I wondered when I stopped living in the clouds and became plastered to the Earth. For that matter when did I start taking the elevator in the courthouse instead of walking up the stairs?
The next day, I boxed up my ballet flats and dug my most awesome pair of heels out of the closet. Since I had a date for dinner that evening as an early celebration of my birthday, I threw on a skin tight dress, convincing myself I could still channel my youthful self. My steak dinner was delicious but difficult to digest in the skin tight dress.
I have a habit of taking pictures of my food and my courteous date not only accommodated this habit, he helped me stage the food layout ” just so,” and then took the camera to include me in a few of the photos. The skin tight dress didn’t show up in the photo as flattering as I had led myself to believe it looked in real life. And the big honkin’ steak in the middle of the photo looked like a dead carcus. (So much for that fabulous Facebook photo opportunity.)
We had an incredible bottle of wine at dinner and I added to my “noticing” list the fact that alcohol now seems to make me hot flash. This despite having bio-identical hormone potions concocted at the compounding pharmacy just for me, slathered all over my body at any given time. I decided to count this alcohol limitation as a plus, since it will keep me from having one of those telltale signs of aging: becoming a person who goes to Costco and has a cart filled only with several bottles of booze and a large bag of trail mix.
Being organic and holistic I have resisted botox and other “helpers.” I made the mistake a year ago of asking a nurse practitioner friend who has a clinic for those practices what she would recommend for me. After she pointed out several crevices, wrinkles, and asymmetrical landmarks I had not even noticed I got depressed and binge ate for two days. Instead, I went to a fabulous esthetician who administers microdermabrasion, a vacuum sucking device that takes off layers of older skin. “There goes 1984; it was a pretty good year,” I joke to her as she runs the vacuum tube over my face.
They said on my Sunday morning preacher show that retirement isn’t biblical so instead of planning for that I’ll go ahead and realign, regroup, respond and resign myself to whatever is next. And the secret, as far as I can tell, is to have gratitude and faith.
I am grateful that on my 57th birthday I can pop into a headstand and stay there forever. Thank you God that somehow through life’s twists and turns I always made physical activity a priority.
I am grateful that somehow years ago I persevered in my education and work life so that I am able to make a comfortable living with work that I love. As a result I can buy a new dress or pair of shoes, and if I foolishly purchase a dress that is too tight or a pair of heels that throw my back out or make my ankles wobble, I can give them to Goodwill and make someone’s day.
I am grateful for a positive outlook and my insistence in declaring with faith, “my youth is renewed,” and promising to make that declaration daily in my 58th year.
I am grateful for the determination that no matter how many years I have left, I will “finish strong” moving my life forward with purpose and passion.
Most importantly, thank you God, that I have faith that all your promises are true.
And I am grateful, that I am alive.