A woman of 45
I don’t go anywhere now without first checking my chin.
There are tweezers everywhere — in my kitchen, in my car, in my makeup bag, in my bathroom drawer.
Ya tu sabes.
Less than a month before 45, I find myself wondering how in the hell this happened. I know it is not an original thought, this whatthehell? And I cannot express my feelings about aging any better than Nora Ephron, ala why didn’t I wear a bikini, as she instructed, everyday between the ages of 26 and 34? And, I suddenly so get the neck thing.
But, allow me time to seek public therapy and do a little soap-boxing.
In my head, the age is around 24. If I were smarter, I’d focus on staying 38 in spirit, an age I believe was my peak for beauty and smarts. But, my waist was much smaller at 24, so there you have it, I guess. And really, 24 was, like, yesterday. Yesterday!
There aren’t many wrinkles on my face (thank you, Cuban DNA), but the fact I feel like napping every afternoon when I get home from work is a bit of a clue that things are changing. That, and my new, scary obsession with juicing and “well-living” documentaries on Netflix.
But the biggest clue: I gladly and greedily took an expensive Swiss neck cream and $99 anti-aging snail slime given to me by a cousin who sells cosmeceuticals. When I got home with my loot, I thought, shit, when did I become the woman who puts $99 snail slime on her face? ( Haven’t used the slime yet, so no testimonial. But the neck cream on the face is el fabuloso.)
I could talk on and on about how I believe my metabolism has betrayed me, how I try not to look at my own behind, and how often I say Amens for brassieres that minimize back fat. And embarrassing confession: I have, indeed, gotten a little wistful glancing at stylish, slender young women. I want a tee shirt: “I was hot once, too.”
But, here’s the thing, the fabulous bitch of it all: I didn’t expect to like 45. Society tells me I am supposed to fight against it, minimize and deny my years. Well, pal’ carajo to that.
There is great freedom and peace in knowing you have walked through rubble toward more stable ground, and survived. And that you can do it again and again should you have to.
There is liberty in knowing that no choice is a wrong choice, just a chance to figure it all out again. Deliverance in knowing that fear is bullshit and limitations are often of your own making. Hallelujah in absolute knowing that everything plays out as it should, and your only responsibility in this divine mess is to take the next right step.
In recent years, too many friends have been ill with life-threatening diseases. My parents have had health scares. Young people in our lives have unexpectedly died. All, experiences that throw your own mortality in your face.
Life is precious and fleeting and not meant to be semi-lived. No $99 cream can deliver that gut-knowing.
45 has taught me life is to be played out big and boldly, and with a sharp pair of tweezers.
It's all good.