So, I’ll just say it, knowing I’m in the minority and that some of you will immediately click off the page: I’m not ready for Spring. Sure, I’m not in love with the leftover ice from last week’s storm that still requires me to wear crampons to go from my house to the mailbox, BUT…
…the better weather brings an entirely stickier situation: Shedding clothes. No more bulky coats. No more heavy sweaters. No more tights or the cover up of fresh bodily flesh for the sake of keeping warm. Before we know it, we’ll all be required to once again bare it all…
Nah, let’s not even go there. I’m going to put it out to the universe that we get at least one more really good blast of winter (I’m sorry, don’t write me!). And then, okay, I’ll let you have it. Besides, by the time Spring officially arrives, who knows? Between the thyroid medication, adrenal supplements, and the elimination of wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, caffeine, sugar, and taste, I should be ready for a second career in modeling by the end of April. (Stop laughing, seriously. Did you just snort?) Look for me in the AARP magazine (which is surprisingly delightful, oh God).
Delusion is so fun. Isn’t it?
Which leads me to my next question: Can you really be hot after 50?
I mean, here I am, busting my donkey to stay in decent shape, enjoying a deprivation festival that is not for the faint of heart, for one simple reason: To return to hotness.
Now I’ve heard all kinds of lofty stories for why people embark upon a journey of fitness. I don’t want to die from a heart attack like my father did at 55. I don’t want to succumb to the cancer my grandmother had, or the struggle with [insert disease] that my sister’s husband’s brother did ….I want more to spend as much time as possible with my children, have the energy to run and play with my grandchildren, teach all the little kids the value of good health…
You name them, the reasons why. I’ve seen and heard them all. And I certainly don’t want to diminish them – they’re all good stuff. But for me, the main reason is not so lofty or complicated: I just want to be hot.
But if I get there—if I shed the pounds and learn to manage the tiny little lines that continue appearing around my mouth and eyes—will it be worth it? When I was younger and lost weight, I could wear all the cool clothes, and it was great. I could be “hip” and “trendy” and there were no boundaries. Everything goes when you’re young. One feather earring. A tight pair of jeans with studs. A tee-shirt that says, “Bubba Joe’s Boardwalk Crabs”. But does it when you’re, gulp, not so much? How much longer can I be fashion forward (if you consider my uniform of yoga pants fashion forward, which I most certainly do …).
Will size matter when I’m wearing a powder blue polyester pants, a silk shirt that harkens back to the disco huckapoo shirts of the 70s (Google it), and a pair of sensible orthopedic shoes?
I say, heck YEAH. Besides, you wouldn’t catch me dead in another huckapoo. Don’t ask.
I don’t know why, suddenly, this has only recently dawned on me – it’s not necessarily news and I knew that it was coming. But the other day, it hit me hard: My next big birthday is 60. Granted, not until December of 2022, but still. I’m inching ever closer to the 10-year anniversary of my first colonoscopy. It’s in eyesight. And I don’t like it. Not one bit.
I mean, what the what? I don’t feel like I could be almost 60. And I certainly don’t think I look the part—but then again, who looks in the mirror and says, ‘Yeah, I look 60, maybe even 65. No wait, 60.” No one. Not if they’re even remotely self-preserving.
So the other day, I’m in the bathroom at work with one of my younger counterparts. As I examine the two new lines around my eyes, I blurt out, “Goodness, 60. In a few years!”, chased by a deep sigh. (Sometimes, I forget there are other people around.) To which my colleague, who’s in her very early 30s, drops her jaw. And I think: There is a God.
“No WAY,” she says. “No way.”
I nearly got on my knees and genuflected at this response. And I’m Jewish.
“Yes, ma’am, next year. Crazy, isn’t it? Just goes by like this.” And I snap my fingers.
“I can’t believe it,” she goes on. I think about putting her in my will.
“Thanks,” I say, smiling. “I pretty much exercise five times a week (big lie) and stay vigilant to a diet of mostly cardboard. Anything without flavor and hard to get past your windpipe. That’s the secret to the fountain of youth!”
“I mean, I would have NEVER put you past, like, 41,” she says.
WHAT? I needed a moment. She couldn’t have said, “…late 30s?” Would it have killed her? Do I really look like someone in her 40s? I mean, SERIOUSLY? (And yes, I’m 54.)
I must have looked stunned, because she pulled her shirt down, told me to have a nice weekend, and scurried on out of the bathroom. Run, little Jezebel, I thought to myself.
The only thing that ever bathes me in relief after a situation like that one is that someday she too will look in some mirror and realize she’s almost 60 – if she’s lucky.
Then, you know what I did: I let go. Really. Came to my senses because here’s the thing: None of us can control the aging process. Well, non-surgically that is (hmmmm….). Which leaves me with little choice but to either a) find a good cosmetic doctor and start selling beads on the side to pay for it or b) embrace it – climb that hill as gracefully as my good jeans and shaky self-esteem will allow. I am embracing my inner Sherpa.
What do you think? Got any age-defying secrets to share? How do you plan to clear that hill? Do tell. I’m listening.
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Jill Sherer Murray is an award-winning writer and speaker who studies creativity, relationships and self-growth. She is also the founder of Let Go For It®, a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping individuals let go for a better life. Jill’s TEDx talk as well as her advice column, Big Wild Love: Let Go For It® were created in service to her loyal and growing fan base, who seek support in the act and the art of letting go for the love they desire and deserve. Follow Jill @letgoforit on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.