A few years ago, I discovered my first grey hair. It was long, luscious, healthy … and actually quite beautiful. It was also in a nicely hidden place that made it easier to pluck so I forgot all about it. Nobody wants to see grey hairs, especially down there.
A few days ago, I found my first wrinkle. Well, I shouldn’t say I found it really, since it appeared a few years back when I had lost a lot of weight. When I saw it for the second time, it was in a new bathroom with a light above the mirror, so chances are it’s been there for a while and I just didn’t notice. So much for ‘black don’t crack.’ Le sigh.
I didn’t think I’d be one of those people who worried about aging. I considered it a beautiful thing, a sign of wisdom and experience. I couldn’t wait to see those streaks of silver in my black-and-purple dreads. Of course I have been feeling old in other ways, as my teen gets all excited over stars I’ve never heard of, and pleads her puzzled ignorance regarding Mercy Myra, Faya Tess, He-man, She-ra, and Kid Rock.
But this is different. So I Googled 69 ways to reduce forehead wrinkles. Suggestions included everything from botox, lasers, and organic oil massage to facial yoga, special make-up, and hiding it with bangs. I’m not sure which one scared me more.
I didn’t think I’d worry about age because I look like a college kid. The greatest perk of my job is I can wear what I want. That means jeans, hoodies, sneakers, and purple hair. Plus, my office is next to campus, so even the students think I’m one of them. It’s actually quite flattering most of the time.
But as the wrinkles begin to appear, I feel my body sag. I start to think about the things that come with aging. Creaky joints, hunching backs, shrinking height, loss of memory. I think the worst thing that could happen to anyone is Alzheimers. And I don’t even want to think if I would rather lose my hearing or my sight. *shudder*
I’d like to think I’m bigger than this, that my intelligence and life-view can overcome this drastic fear of aging, that I’m being ridiculous ‘coz I’m only 33. But as I squint at that tiny forehead wrinkle – and remind myself to stop squinting because that makes it worse – I realise I’m just human after all, and like all humans, I don’t want to be old.
♫ Somewhere I belong ♫ Linkin Park ♫
The Alzheimers, incontinence, and inability to wipe my own ass terrify me. But the idea of looking in the mirror and not recognising myself, or having my grandkids look at photos of ‘young me’ and not know who that is … that’s really sad. But I guess it’s all in how you look at it, and hopefully one day, I’ll grow up enough to look at it like this.