Sunday, June 27, 2010

my aging body

I've been 46 for 8 days.

This morning I rode my bike up the west side highway to the George Washington Bridge and back. 17 miles roundtrip. It's the 3rd time I've done that ride in less than a week.

This week the cosmic owner of my yoga studio mentioned she was impressed with how my practice has blossomed.

One of my favorite yoga teachers is coming back after a year away and is only teaching advanced classes going forward. I can't wait to dive in for an hour and 45 minutes and see what happens.

I've been relatively sugar free for more than a month.

This is just about the best physical shape I've ever been in.

In some ways.

I just bought a fabulous vintage dress (there are some people who will remain nameless who think I shouldn't be sharing this story, but hey, it's part of me and my aging body) that looks like something Barbara Eden would have worn when she wasn't being in her genie costume. Shades of purple, gold and green, fitted top and ballerina skirt held together with a see-through mesh band that winds tightly around my ribcage. I saw it hanging in a shop and knew it was meant for me, that it would fit, that it would feel like I'd always owned it as soon as I slipped it on.

It did. It was perfect. A little on the short side for me but nothing I couldn't pull off. Until, someone quietly mentioned that my bra was visible in the mesh band. No wardrobe malfunction worries folks, I hadn't left the house. But yes, there was my black bra peeking out, hanging lower than I ever would have thought it did.

But, there it was.

My breasts are changing. My skin is changing. What once was firmly in place isn't in the same place anymore. My breasts hang lower. My upper arms, while muscular and toned—all that yoga makes a difference—sag. The skin covering my thighs sometimes looks like its about to drip off.

My hair is now shot with enough grey that I can't pluck them all out and pretend they're not there.

I have two age spots.

There are some seriously deep crevices etched into my face.

My body is changing. In some ways for the better. And maybe the other ways aren't for the worse. Maybe those changes are just what are meant to be.

My job is to hold onto that—that getting older and celebrating where I am instead of groaning about where I'm not, is the way to be.


Amy Oscar said...

I can relate to this - about six years ahead of you on this journey and things are definitely not in the same places they once were. Some days it drives me crazy - other days, I'm very "whatever" about the whole thing.

As when I was 15, 25, 35, 45, there are things I like abut the way I look; things I'd change; things I am really really unhappy with.

What's different now is that with this perspective, I can see that even in college, when I had a perfect size four body - toned, trim and everything in its place, I wasn't satisfied. And that, for me, is the most important awareness aging has delivered.

It's liberating to realize that no matter how young, old, heavy or thin I've been, inside, I've always been me - and lately, finally, Im satisfied with that.

lisa adams said...

I think it's hard to grow old no matter what, and complaining is allowed. As the years have gone on (it's been 3) since I had a double mastectomy, friends more and more like to joke about my new reconstructed boobs that defy gravity and never need a bra. That is an upside to the whole experience. When I look at the "before" picture of my chest it is unrecognizable.

I know I'd be complaining bitterly about the saggy stuff now. Instead I see most of the other things you mention, but I quickly remind myself that my body has tried to betray me health-wise numerous times and growing older is my badge of success against it! I'm more accepting of myself physically because I've seen that the alternative -- death-- is not preferable.

I remind myself daily that if everything works right, I must accept it. And that part, as you and Amy say, comes with the age that changes the body in the first place.