Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Art of Aging and Slathering

Have you seen the preview for This is 40?  When Aaron emailed me a link to the trailer and said, "I swear - I think you wrote this movie" I was intrigued.  A few minutes into the trailer I was laughing and rolling my eyes.  I guess I can see (barely) how Aaron could think (wrongly) that I'm a little bit (I mean a tad bit) like the woman in the trailer who is freaked out about aging.  My fifty recent "I hate myself - I have wrinkles - I want to die - just go ahead and put me down now" meltdowns may have something to do with Aaron thinking I'm slightly (just a teensy-bit) scared (terrified) of getting older.

I'm not turning 40.  I still have a few more years to go, but still - I've been feeling old and tired lately.  We've all heard that beauty is fleeting.  I guess I didn't totally grasp that "fleeting" means beauty's rate of slippage could effortlessly pace with the likes of Usain Bolt.

Beauty is not fleeting.  It's galloping.  Galloping.  Beauty makes a break for it faster than a male exits a room when women start talking about birth or breastfeeding.

I have friends and read blogs written by women who completely embrace Gravity.  They have befriended Gray Hair.  With lighthearted laughter, a simple shrug, and a "Meh" they face that dreaded day when women must decide capris - not shorts - are their only summer option.

Their resolve is admirable and regrettably completely foreign to me.

For the time being, I have rock solid plans to go down breathlessly flailing and fighting wrinkles, weight gain, and floppy arms.  I don't want to care about my outward appearance.  It bothers me how shallow and vain I feel about my appearance changing.  I don't want to waste brain space worrying or spending time on areas of life that simply do not matter in the larger context of this world.  I make all of those statements while I'm obsessively slathering all sorts of creams and ointments in various key bodily locations.  Hating aging and coping poorly is obviously where I am right now.  I am well aware that I'm fighting a losing battle, and I'm fighting it with gusto which makes me both vain and idiotic.  Fabulous, right?  The logical side of my brain (this section inside my head is minuscule and only takes up a very tiny amount of space) reminds me that I've never seen a 75 year old lady - of the non-Hollywood, mortal variety - who looks like she did when she was 25.  Yet here I am - rubbing anti-aging cream on my face and neck twice daily.

How is everyone else feeling about getting older?  Are you handling your body changing better or worse than you expected?  How do you cope?   If you're young - go stand in front of a mirror and whether you feel like it or not - tell yourself how beautiful you are - hug yourself and chant, "It only gets worse.  It only gets worse."  Take lots of pictures of your legs.  One day you may or may not fall asleep crying, holding a picture of those gorgeous legs flowing out of shorts so short they stole sleep from your mother.

Most importantly - how is everyone fighting aging?  What products do you love?

Okay fine. (insert eye roll) Most importantly (I guess) - good thing our worth is not tied up in our physical appearance, that Aging's gnarly hands can never lay a wrinkled finger on our inner character and beauty.  That liver-spotted hag who visits me in my sleep and dances a devilish jig, whispering, "Sag.  Sag.  Sag!" is unable to wither the parts of my soul that have grown and are forever breaking forth in new life.  Growth, maturity, and a deeper faith mock Death and Aging. True beauty will ultimately win. (Right after we all go senile, forget the names of our children, people ignore us, and we start wearing diapers again - oh my gosh, Aging - I hate you.)

(she clears her throat) So for realz -

You better share your anti-aging secrets - your plan - if you've got one.  While I'm drinking plenty of water and performing neck exercises, I'll also be taking notes.

My plan - drink lots of water, exercise, whine a lot, wash my face every single day, cry, curse natural forces, slather, slather, slather, slather.  I'll be sharing the specifics in the next few posts.  Hope you'll hang out and contribute to the conversation.

"You sure are mean since your body got weird."  -- This is 40


LD said...

Um you know what I do for a living, right? I am happy to provide the hookup for products, filler, and even Botox. You just say the word :)

Sandy said...

Way back in the day, I had determined that I would not be one of "those women" that lie about their age. Ahem. Well, I have yet to do it, but it is getting awfully hard to choke out "I'm 51"!! As for slathering, I don't know that it's doing much for me, although that doesn't stop me from doing it. I do think getting suffient sleep is important, also staying out of the sun for extended periods.
Keeping my aging eyes on Christ is the best thing to do as I age and watch my "outer man" perish, knowing that my inner man is being renewed day by day.
Looking forward to future posts on the subject

Ps- your word verification doesn't like me!

Bob & Judy said...

There are two things that have helped my skin wrinkle later than other women my age (she says, deludedly - which is not even a real word).

1. Greasy teenage skin translates to later wrinkles. Having to wash my hair and scrape the oil off my forehead at 15 - fair trade for fewer wrinkles at 57.
2. Sunburning in 15 minutes, therefore NEVER having had a great tan, translates to later wrinkles.

Neither of those is a plan.


Bob & Judy said...

Oh, and I want to adopt LD so that we have a family member who will get my wrinkles filled.

Hendrick Family said...

Yes! I've heard that oilier skin means less wrinkles later in life. I was really trying to hold onto that UNTIL I reached the point where I still have oily skin, ZITS, AND wrinkles. I have one word for this sad combination = RUDE.

If my zits would just go away before I get a lot more wrinkles, I think I'd be happy.

Sun - I wish I could go back to that young 20 something and tell her to stay out of the sun.

LD - You know you've always been my favorite, right? I mean, there was never a question.


Hendrick Family said...

And I need to mention -

I want to age as slowly as my mother-in-law who may be aging even slowly-er (also not a word) now that we have Lauren on our side.


Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

1. I'm a total grease ball. And I have a slight double chin. (It might sound beside the point, but it's not.)

2. Are you 34 this year? I'm telling you, 34 is when it all went down-hill for me. I thought I was ROCKING it! Then BAM. 34.

3. This totally wasn't helpful at all, was it?

kg said...

I think getting plenty of sleep would help! As does being happy and not too stressed.....HOWEVER, much of that seems beyond our control...I like keeping a young cute child in front of me!

Anonymous said...

I had little wisdom, maturity, financial sense and/or faith as a "young adult". (Train wreck is really a better way to describe young me). I'd take brain cells over youth any day! And since I'll get wrinkles anyway, I just as well focus on all the ways I'm blessed, enjoy life & choose smile lines over wrinkles caused by frowns.

keridwp said...

gosh...i really hope this post is full of your snarky sarcasm:)..... especially the bit about standing in front of your mirror saying it only gets worse.........because truthfully this is really a problem in our society...our daughters and sons are buying into the beauty industry with drastic measures.....why because momma can't age gracefully and the world tells us imperfection is ugly....we are spending our money on poison and lard suction...on diet pills and miracle cremes..i want my son who is in the beginnings of the zit infestation to understand he is handsome regardless...i want my daughter to believe me when i tell her she is beautiful but she won't if i am busy fussing over my jowls and muffin top......heather i remember your post with your wedding photograph and honestly you are more beautiful today....


Hendrick Family said...

Keri - thanks for your kind comments about my present day vs. past appearance.

I obviously won't argue that caring about aging is right - as a matter of fact, I think I said pretty clearly that I don't like how much I care about this, but pretending I don't would be dishonest and ridiculous.

So - in light of that confession, I hope there is space for us all to truly listen and appreciate where we as women happen to fall at any given moment on the spectrum of personal growth.

Like I said - people who have your level of security about aging are admirable to me. I'm just not there yet and pretending I can magically arrive at such a place is probably as silly as thinking these creams I'm using are magically going to delay the inevitable.

Thankfully there is grace as we learn, right?

I'd love to say I'm able in this moment to pass down all the beautiful lessons about aging gracefully to my kids as you are confidently passing down to yours. For now, given where I am in this, I hope I can pass down to them the inner struggle I face as I try desperately to hold onto the truth I want to believe about aging - but struggle to translate into my every day life. For now, what I'm passing down is less about great, timeless truths about aging, and more about what it is to struggle for the faith to believe in what we can't always see with our eyes.


Alyssa said...

I think I love you. And FPFG for that matter.

Shawna said...

I wasn't one of those chicks who could eat what they wanted and stay skinny (with or without exercising). All my friends were perky and skinny and ate candy bar after candy bar. I was determined to look like them so I took up running; 3 miles a day regardless of the snow on the ground (I lived in Colorado). I don't remember it making much difference and it didn't transform me into one of my slique friends.

I was toned but not kick ass muscular and certainly not thin, so I added in lifting weights and eating tons of carrots (my skin took on an odd orange glow!). I thought a tan would make my muscles more defined but my skin wasn't interested in tanning. I remember a football player looking at my neck/upper chest (I don't think it was my boobs, but who is to say) and said "Why don't you get some sun?" Of course now I have all kinds of snappy comebacks (I would love to go back in time to share them with him!), but back then I was shocked and just stared at him. Well the years passed, diets and exercise continued, thinness evaded me and my self-esteem stuggled. I didn't feel like youth was my friend. The best things that came from those years of struggle are: nutrition knowledge, exercise habits, and the determination to try to think positively.

So basically when I was in the "bloom of my youth" everyone was more fit, more thin, and more tan. Now I look around at others my age and commend myself (it shames me to admit that!) for being able to squat, run, jump, and hell, get off the floor with surprising ease. I feel like all the years of exercising have finally paid off; it is such an ingrained habit that I consistently do it.

I am still not thin (sigh), but I am somewhere between the women at Wal-Mart and the chicks at Target. I am trying to be truely ok with that, but perfectionism runs in my blood. My skin is healthy and not particularly wrinkly (no tanning is now in my favor). My nutrition is better than ever, and I am strong. I am now 42 and feel better about myself than I did when I was younger.

The sad thing is that I have spent so much time, energy, and anguish regarding my physical appearance. Who knows where I would be if I had spent that time on my spiritual growth.I agree with Keri...our society isn't helping make this better.

But...on to what you really wanted to know!

My gracefully-aging stratagies... daily green juice, no refined carbohydrates, plenty of sleep, sunscreen, Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Serum (Target $25), exercise, and dry brushing (not on the face). I also use coconut or other oil on my body instead of lotion so it soaks in and nourishes the skin rather than coating the top layer.

I think I should investigate other strategies, such as meditation. I have noticed that those who spend time in meditative prayer seem less stressed and more connected, are more serene, and thus look younger.

My mom swears drinking from a straw creates unnecessary wrinkles around the mouth. I guess I will have to live with those because I can't live without straws.

I can't wait to read what others are doing or suggest!

meg duerksen said...

i can't wait to see that movie. :)
i know that isn't what your post is about but just wanted to tell you. ha ha ha
as long as your husband thinks you are hot....which i am sure he does...that is what counts. believe him.

kristen said...

my mother in law and I were just talking about this! hahahh! i love it! it is really so hard. I don't want it to be and I want to not care. ugh. and I can't read your parenthood posts because I haven't caught up yet but I am so excited!! i was a late bloomer with that show but now I just love it. and by the way, you are like so gorgeous. and don't look old at all :)