I painted my nails this week. I have been working on the house and planting things so I clipped those things back pretty drastically. I gave them what I learned was called "squoval" back in my silk nail days: flattened with a rounded edge. I polished them with a rosy nude color and applied a top coat and lotioned my hands and went to admire them and - wow. I see my grandmother's hands. MY GRANDMOTHER'S. Not my moms. How did I NOT get her long legs but instead her sturdy hands? They are abused hands. I use them as tools...my poor nails. Well anyway - I was sad. I used to have pretty hands. They were tan and smooth and seemed graceful to me.
Now they look a little pudgy and wrinkly. Sigh.
And it's the same way with my face - my body. It just ain't what it used to be.
All I can do is shrug. Because I have thought about the alternatives. Losing weight and pursuing youth and beauty: face lift, tummy tuck. But dang. It's exhausting, not to mention expensive. And really a losing race. And my 17 year old keeps telling me NOT to color my hair blue. Which I have seriously thought about. He said I said - and I don't remember it - that I told him to tell me it was my midlife crisis talking if I ever said I was going to color my hair blue. I called myself out. Because I knew I would do it. And I hesitate to condemn it, because I am ok with being care free and doing what you want as long as it doesn't infringe on others. But there comes a point where one should maintain some dignity right? Maybe not. Dignified does NOT sound fun.
But maybe instead of worrying about all the outer accouterments...I should focus more on the inner. I am sad that when I take pictures I don't recognize that person anymore. And goodness - photos are a huge part of life now. You can't do anything without getting your picture taken! AND posted on social media. I'd feel so much better about myself if I didn't have pictures or full length mirrors. But my answer to that is to again - shrug. What are you going to do about that?
So - what do I want to be as I grow older? I want to be easy to talk to. I want to listen more. To quit being so damn introspective and look outward. I want to have humor, to laugh, to quit worrying about the house and to enjoy people. But I want to be content when I am alone as well. I want to be someone who can skim over offenses and not take them to heart. To be secure enough in who God made me to understand that we hurt each other sometimes and it doesn't do to hold it against each other. I want to be home to those who feel homesick, to be an anchor to those who feel unmoored. I want to listen and quit the nervous babble - so scared that others will see that I am an idiot. Because I feel like one most of the time. I know others feel the same way. I want to quit judging others because they want you to see how smart they are. Or how spiritual they are, or how great they are at everything. I want to be happy for them. Impressed by them. Accepting of them - regardless of why I think they need to front. There is a quiet desperation (I know that term is used A LOT - but it suits my inner coocoo) to be KNOWN. If you really knew me. You would be impressed. And yet - I am quite aware that my gifts are imperfect and really quite unimpressive. But that is because my standards are ridiculous. All these things I see as failings - I see them in me. And they annoy the hell out of me when I see them in other people. I want to RELAX about it already.
My prayer is to enjoy what I have left of life. To be comfortable in my skin - and quite frankly - my clothes. I want to enjoy food, enjoy good books, good music. I want to have people over and sit in the midst of my little home even if it is a mess, and HEAR people. Enjoy who they are and what they have to share. I want to quit worrying about money - about how to make things right with the past...because sometimes you just can't. I want to quit this mantra I have about doing this thing "one day". Or feeling like I have to have the house in perfect order before I start some project because that is NEVER going to happen.
What I want to be has nothing to do with the way I look on the outside. It has everything to do with how I make others feel and how I feel about myself. I am asking God to make me kinder, more real, more aware of others, less worried about how they see me, and my house - and my dirty cars. They are so dirty right now.
Aging is a journey. I have not always traveled it well. I have either totally obsessed about or totally neglected important things. I have sought balance but haven't always been able to find it. I like myself best when I am worried about myself least. And - boom.
Therein lies the power of becoming what I truly want to be. Self-less. That may be unattainable. But I that is my goal, and what I think will make aging much more enjoyable.