Hey All, Its’ been a while. I am compelled to continue my newest adventures into dealing with the Realm Of My 60th Year. Here goes.
Now at age 60, I sit down to rest (part of my daily life now) if I am weary. I absentmindedly stare down at my now-wrinkled hands. A smirk crosses my face as I see some familiar genetic traits, those of the hands of my Gramma Goularte and my Auntie Eleanor, my Mom’s older sister. Aunt Eleanor’s hands were the truly beautiful, always graceful and poised; in her youth, she had done some modeling and she knew the trick of posing her hands ever so gracefully so they always looked good in photographs. My inherited too-large hands, the over-sized nail beds, the long tapered fingers revealing many of my Mom’s Portuguese roots. Funny how those traits get passed on to us from our family gene pool, whether we may love these traits or abhor them, they are part of what makes us who we are.
Reminiscing, I remember how skilled my hands and fingers once were in my youth as a keyboard musician, who’s well-rehearsed and well-trained fingers flew across the keys with great speed, much ease and dramatic showmanship. How quickly these hands have betrayed me now, weakened by wire sculpting and wracked with pain from over-use. Hands that have now wrinkled up without any warning, without forgiveness. I woke up one day a few years ago and my hands, fingers, feet and all my toes looked as if I had been soaking in a too-long warm bath. This seemed to have happened overnight. I stupidly tried to wipe the wrinkles from the back of my hands, thinking it was just dry skin. Then reality kicked in and I drew my breath in a bit. How can all of these wrinkles be happening so soon? Suddenly 30, 40, 50 years seem to have passed with the blink of my now 60 year old eyes. Funny how that happens.
My wrinkle cure of blobbing on tons of creme doesn’t seem to have helped much; all it’s done is create my slimy footprints across the hardwood floors and made my grip holding onto wet dishes as slippery as snot. Never did like the creme idea anyway.
The wrinkles on my face have taken a bit longer to surface, but when they finally appeared, I twisted and grimaced my face side to side, raised up my eyebrows, open my mouth and dropped my jaw as big as I could, flexing my neck muscles in front of the mirror; all in an attempt to smooth them out, at least temporarily. I am always disappointed and a bit angry when they settle back into their now comfortable places on my aging reflection.
I happened to glance in the mirror the other day, when getting ready to shower, and the words ” YOU LOOK OLD”, shot through my brain and drop down into my mouth, still open in disbelief. Not “Grampa and Gramma old”, I tried to convince myself, just me looking tired in a very wrinkled flesh-colored baggy birthday suit, where there once was a smooth as silk body without a wrinkle or droop in sight. Maybe it’s the mirror, I reasoned. If I clean the mirror, maybe I can wipe away all those years of wrinkles that have gently and slowly crept into the reflection I now see. I am saddened by the reality that I truly am no longer in my prime (can you say cellulite?”). Haven’t been in my prime for some time, actually. Nonetheless, my mind continued to ask the proverbial question, “What happened to the young girl in the mirror?” I was pleasantly relieved when the mirror fogged up again…
Am I not suppose to be wise, at this age? Am I not suppose to have been incredibly successful, endlessly happy and eternally beautiful forever? That’s what the media, magazines and the Internet has told me for so long that I did believe them, once upon a time. I might have hated these wrinkles if given to me at a younger age when I couldn’t have appreciated them but now, at 60, they hold a special place in my heart. They, like my too-large hands, have been passed onto me by my loved ones, in swirling and complex wrinkled patterns, etching childhood memories and family events in my heart, my hands, still crystal clear and very much alive. I haven’t “earned” these wrinkles, as some people like to say, I have inherited them from my family members whom I have loved so deeply and profoundly all of my life growing up, and for that, I have no regrets.
So bring these wrinkles on, 60 year old body. I look forward to your artistic palette of new wrinkle designs, God willing, for many years to come…Night Everyone.