Monday, July 13, 2009

Varicose Villa, Apt. 27

I embrace my life: my arms are wrapped so tightly around my 27-year-old existence that I often wish it had a pausing effect. It would be nice to halt the gray hair that's currently only adding "sparkle" before it completely squelches my brown; it would be nice to stop the backs of my legs from looking like a road map to Varicose Villa.

But I know the clock won't be stopped, and I do look forward to so many things, like meeting our future children and continuing on this road where my capacity for happiness seems to keep increasing. My reasons for wanting to freeze time are mostly cosmetic with a vain undertone, but I wish it weren't such a struggle to want to face a tomorrow where my outside appearance will inevitably continue to decrease in curb appeal.

I have a fat list of physical blows to be dreaded, and the recent news of a dear family friend tripping over her bedroom rug--not the curb, or the stairs, but a rug--landing herself in the hospital with a broken pelvis, sure doesn't help! I shouldn't act like this made my jaw drop. It's to be expected. She's 80.

(Note to self: my klutziness could become life-threatening.)

A few years ago, we were renting a basement apartment in Sandy, UT and the owners lived upstairs. We became friends with our time-worn landlords. Caroline, the wife, was my personal expert in crocheting and knitting, and her husband Ernie was always offering us his fresh garden vegetables. The night before we moved, we took a break from packing and cleaning and paid them a surprise visit late in the evening. They seemed thrilled to have us stop by, although slightly embarrassed.

"Don't mind me," Caroline giggled. "I already took my teeth out."

And that's when I was brutally reminded that sometimes when you get old your teeth fall out and you get dentures and remove them at night. Ack!

Still, dentures and all, Caroline was completely lovable and lit with life.

Life. I have to tell you about Verna Garrett, my aunt's mother. She must be in her 90s now, and I've heard countless stories about her acting like a 30-year-old wonder woman. Tales of how when she was about 84 years old, she drove daily to a neighboring town to attend a water walking class at 5:30am. One morning she ran out of gas in the middle of a large intersection, so she sat on the back bumper and pushed her car off to the side. Just as she managed to huff and puff her car to the curb, a policeman pulled over to ask what she was doing. Amazed that she had moved her car, he asked if there was anyone he could call for her. She declined, but said she would appreciate a ride to the pool.

(Um, I'm younger than 30, and there's no way I would've made it to water walking that morning, or any morning at 5:30am.)

When Verna went to the medical center to get her annual flu shot, a sign at the front desk informed her of a serum shortage and that flu shots would only be given to the "elderly." She read the sign and left, concluding that she'd have to come another time. When later rehearsing the dilemma to family, she said, "I know I'm older, but I'm certainly not elderly!"

Many "elderly" friends and loved-ones have shown me that although difficult, aging is a beautiful thing with the right attitude. I'm learning to look forward to the future, varicose veins and all. I want to savor each era, pass on my crocheting tricks, befriend a vain-stricken young woman one day and show her true inner youth and zest. Maybe I'll inspire her to fret less about the bags under her eyes.

Instead of digging my heels in and clinging to my age with a death grip, I'll welcome the birthdays. I'll embrace my life from within so when Death arrives, I can say,

"You're here already? Before we go, come look at this beautiful sunset."

13 comments:

  1. I agree, why be ashamed of your age? Why dread birthdays? Thank you. That was beautifully put.

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  2. Your mother is gorgeous. I don't think time will be much of an enemy to your looks!

    Very nice prose.

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  3. How true. I'm afraid of aging physically too, terrified actually! But you bring out what we really should be focusing on. We need to look beyond what we can see and live life to it's fullest! the better we do at that, the more rewarded we will be in the life to come!

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  4. I may not have any varicose veins but I'd still trade legs with you in a heartbeat! I am embracing old age myself. I have my bad days but am mostly excited to be turning 30 in January! Yikes!

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  5. Oh, I have been missing your writing! I loved this post. I've had aging on my mind lately, too--just noticing things changing slightly and surely--and I've been trying to shift my thinking to accept what's going to inevitably happen. This helped! And it helped me remember that there is so much more to life than how our bodies look over time. :) I do forget.

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  6. what a great post, it was like a breath of fresh air. Thanks for reminding me, I am stuggeling with getting older as well. Hope your week is happy. Lots of hugs.

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  7. Thanks for sharing such lovely thoughts. I embrace my aging and I'm proud that I actually made it this far! I've only got about 40 years left and I plan to celebrate every minute.

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  8. Beautifully written, Marie! At our family reunion last week I watched my 85 year old grandparents square dance and I couldn't stop smiling. I hope to age gracefully as well, not on the outside necessarily, but on the inside. I want to be square dancing with my husband at 85!

    I also want to mention the baby belly that will never go away, no matter how many crunches I do. That is my personal dread but I'm trying to convince myself that it is evidence of the wonderful career I chose to have and to wear it proudly along with countless other women.

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  9. This was lovely. It put a smile on my face and I needed that today.

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  10. I really liked that piece of writing (what do you call it? I'm kind of dumb about the writing world) Anyway, I really liked it! There's an old couple in our ward and they really are the cutest people! One day as they were leaving the chapel holding hands I said, you guys are so cute, I hope my husband and I hold hands like that too. And the wife said to me, we love each other so much we really do, but these days we hold on to each other for balance! It made me laugh. I hope I can embrace what the future brings me, but I'm with you, I dread it.
    And my varicose veins get worse and worse each month, not just the look, but they're painful :(
    By the way though, you look GREAT!!

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  11. p.s. I might have already told you this, but here's another story to make us feel old.
    I was at KFC with Jaran's family and the song, With or Without You came on overhead, and I asked his sister who was in high school, if they still play this song at all the dances. And she said, "I've never heard this song." :)
    CRAZY!!
    Ya that's the first time I felt "old"

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  12. Beautiful!! My old moment (if you care.=) We were watching kid jeopardy and they had a question about New Kids on the Block and none of the kids on the show knew the answer. That was depressing. At least with time we can embrace our knowledge and pass it on to the younger generations in hopes that they will make this world a better place!

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  13. how can you be so gorgeous and so talented! miss your smiley face...

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