9/2/10

On Wrinkles and Flat Butts

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...Image by Black Country Museums via Flickr
Can we talk some more about aging? Can we?

I am 45. I am squarely midlife. And I mean that literally because I'm booked solid until ninety.
I've got wrinkles. I've got graying hair. That's OK. I expected those things. Here are the things I didn't expect:

1. My butt to get so really, really, flat. I mean there is no definition at all. From the backside, I'm like a door. From the frontside, well, not so much.

2. The skin on my hands to get so inelastic. If I pinch it, it doesn't spring back immediately. It just sort of deflates like egg whites that you haven't whipped enough.

3. My skin to get so dry. There's this great description of the lead character in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale using butter as moisturizer. I loved it, but I never got it. Not only do I get it now. I've done it.

I wouldn't say that I'm troubled by these things, but I have lingered over them. I know a lot of women get cosmetic surgery to negate the physical affects of aging. (Check out 70 year old Rachel Welch.) I don't have a problem with cosmetic surgery -- for other people. If Rachel wants to look like a hot young mama that's fine with me. But I'm holding onto my originals, wrinkles and flat butt included. To be me, I have to be honest about who I am. I am a woman squarely in midlife, and I look like it. I reserve the right to change my mind, but today at least, I want to be reminded by my mirror image that I am getting older and that I will one day die. That's the truth, and my body -- all our bodies -- are testimonies to that truth. That's not a bad thing. That's just a fact. That doesn't mean I'm eager to die or decay, but it does mean that I'm OK with where I am in my life, and I'm OK with knowing that things will end badly for me, as, indeed, they end badly for all of us.
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29 comments:

Susan C said...

I love our friend Paula's one liner.

Me: I don't have any junk in my trunk.
Paula: Honey, you don't even have a trunk.

Jean Spitzer said...

I, too, am comforted by the knowledge that I could dye my hair, get a face-lift, etc.; I'm just trying out aging naturally.

Star said...

Yes! Better to err on the side of reticence, than to end up looking like a fish in a tightly pulled pony tail.

Olga said...

Your still a spring chicken, dearie!

Jess said...

I'm not even 30 yet and I need to replace my bras with size '36 Long'

Margaret said...

Susan: That's hysterical.

Star: What a great simile! Love it!

Olga: I'll take that!

Jess: You just gotta sell it, sister.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

My bodies aging fine and on time. Wish my brain showed a little more maturity

Weird about the hands isn't it? I've always found it interesting that my mother's generation adored the gift of jewelry, but by the time excess income was around to own it, they had those....um...hands

Stacey @ Entropified said...

I know what you're talking about (I'm 44.) I've got old lady hands now. They've always been been thin and bony, but now in addition to papery skin, they are being covered with brown spots. Grrr.

altadenahiker said...

Oh please, my hands looked like they'd been digging ditches since I was five years old. Probably because they had. (Hair color -- I'd do it, if it weren't so expensive. And you have to sit for such along time...)

Bec said...

I remember looking at my mom's hands when I was a little girl and the other day, I noticed that my hands looked exactly like I remembered hers looking.

Rois said...

Bec reminded me I used to sit in church and play with my Mother's hands,twirling her rings,poking her veins that popped up in the heat and would wonder at her spots. I am now the same age she was and I look at my own hands and it's a flash back to those quiet mornings sitting and waiting for the choir to sing the final song.
Oh, and my butt has always been flat so I guess soon I won't have one at all. Good thing there's plenty in the front towards the top,yup "the girls" will keep me from being too flat.

armyblond said...

Honey,

45 is still SUPER young. There is no reason to just let your self go the way you are describing. I hope you are exageratting.

I recommend some pilates to shape up your butt! And for your hands you should try some of this: http://shop.avon.com/shop/product.aspx?pf_id=33982.

Works wonders and is super cheap :)

Believe me, I know, I use it! Along with many other Avon products :)

Petrea said...

Vaseline Intensive Care lotion for those hands. Any lotion. Easy.

You are not squarely in mid-life. I am squarely in mid-life. (I will live to be more than 100, by the way.)

I don't know if things will end badly for all of us, but they will indeed end.

Daisy said...

I've also attained "my mother's hands". Don't know about the butt, I've always been "endowed" generously! But what fascinates me the most is not physical. It's all the mental crap I've discarded along the way. Caution has turned into curiosity. A lot of my "hang-ups" have hung up. I'm free-er than I've ever been before. There is more to aging than sags and wrinkles.

Margaret said...

Funny how we all had the mom's hands epiphany. Weird, huh?

Armyblond: I guess I need to get to work. I've actually always wanted to try pilates, I guess I'll have to put it on the agenda. Yes, Ma'am!

Daisy: That is so Baba Yaga of you. I was trying to make that point that not stressing about hands, wrinkles, etc. is one way of letting go of old hang ups and concerns. But you said it so beautifully.

... daisy... said...

The Handmaid's Tale!!! I loved it even though it gives me the shivers when I think of the story!
Well... aging... I've got a flat ass and a flat chest and I'm 35... I guess I got used to it by now.
I am scared of this kind of surgery... for one I don't know why I should undergo a surgery if I'm healthy. I mean we usually hope not to touch an operating table... and why should I choose to do it for "beauty"... then wouldn't you be scared to feel old inside of a young body? I'm already scared of death... really. I think looking younger by means of surgery... would make me depressive. I would look fake and too young and probably I would feel ridiculous too.... Who knows maybe one day I'll change my mind, but I'm pretty sure I want to grow old and happy... that means untouched by knives and doctors. I want to look like those satisfied old ladies... I want to be myself when I look in a mirror. To see my happy and young eyes among all the wrinkles I will get through laughing and smiling. Does this make sense?
I love your blog Margaret and you're splendid!!!!

Jess said...

I just tuck them into the waist of my pants and appreciate the fact that they don't get in my way as much anymore! ;)

pasadenapio said...

I've always been too afraid to get any "work" done. I'm quite sure I'd end up on one of those facelifts-gone-bad shows.

Shell Sherree said...

I asked my kitty and she thinks I should definitely try that butter treatment {shortly before sitting down within easy reach}.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

To be fair, it's not about looking younger...it's about looking refreshed. And Ms Fin, the first time I met you I thought to myself, what a beautiful epidermis she's wearing.

l continue to remain creeped out by excess diamonds on aged hands

Desiree said...

Hmmm, I'm waffling on this one. On the one hand I know someone who's been under a skillful surgeon's knife, and helped her look fantastic (she started out fantastic). But the botox thing?!?!? On the other hand, I am not going gently into cronehood.

claire said...

Nice post. Thank you.

I'm nearly twenty years older than you are, Margaret...

I have reached the time when I no longer look like the way I remember myself looking. Every so often, I have a shock when I see myself in a picture. But then I look totally unthreatening and toddlers in restaurant like to play peekaboo with me...

Aging is an adventure in letting go of control over the way one looks, unless of course one chooses a Dorian Gray existence, forever looking the same...

Daisy said...

This is the Andertoon that popped up on my blog this morning! Had to share ...
http://www.andertoons.com/cartoon/4317

phoebat said...

ah!!!! the butt thing is insane. it's like it moved around to my belly. one of my gifts to myself on 50th bday = stopped coloring my hair. still glad i did it (51 now).

marciamayo said...

I think cosmetic surgery is like paining the bathroom. It just makes the rest of the house look worse. If I were to start getting things lifted, I'd have to do an entire body lift and can you imagine how painful that would be?

Cafe Pasadena said...

I had never heard of Rachel Welch until your blog.

Laurie said...

I'm going to be one of those women with old hands and a ton of jewelry. You betcha!

I feel you on this one and I'd love to join in with a celebration of my aging bod but to be honest, I'm going to hate it when the jowls set in. I know that's where I'm eventually headed and I don't think I'm going to be all I-am-woman-hear-me-roar about it. Then again, I'm too much of a chicken to go under the knife so maybe I'll just distract everyone with my jewelry?

I turned 46 in July and suddenly my hair is going grey. I mean mad grey, not just a few greys here and there. I hate, hate, hate coloring my hair but I'm not loving my two-tone highlights here.

This is a wonderful post, Margaret, and one more reason I adore you -- you who will be a goddess at any age.

Margaret said...

Daisy: That comic is adorable.

Marciamayo: That is the perfect simile! Very funny. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Paula L. Johnson said...

I just turned 53 and think the "flat butt" phenomenon has passed me by. A pity; less booty would make shopping for jeans SO much easier.