Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aging Gracefully, What a Joke! by Brenda Whiteside

Early 20s
I'm not fond of aging. This is my story, and I'd love to hear if you've had as much trouble as I have.

Every decade has brought a new complaint from me, a new hurdle to get over. The year before I turned thirty was one of my worst. There were milestones missed, intended accomplishments that never came to fruition. Wow, was I hard on myself. And then the physical signs of aging reared their ugly head.

My husband tells me that I approach aging with the wrong attitude. There should be joy in making it to the next decade. He doesn't understand my angst. I'm ecstatic to make it through every year. It's the physical aging part that has always made me...hmmm...angry, I guess.

I actually didn't mind turning forty. But then the forties started disappearing. Time sped forward and I went kicking and screaming toward the next decade. I dared anyone to acknowledge my fiftieth birthday. FDW warned a good friend
One month from 40
who was planning a surprise party that if she valued our friendship, and her life, to let it go. Luckily, she did. And I'm happy to say, she threw me the party for my fifty-first birthday. Thrilled me. So much fun.

And the years passed. I didn't know the meaning of the term "aging gracefully." The hurdle of acceptance was taller than Mount Everest. I quit wearing a swimsuit. The next thing to go
51st birthday party
was shorts. A few years later, sleeveless tops were taboo. It's not that I hadn't taken care of myself. My diet was excellent and exercise was a normal part of my routine. But there is only so much you can do as the years pile on. Vain? I suppose. But nothing could deter me, especially when those close to me proclaimed "you look great for your age." Argh! Yes, definitely vain.

Last week, that gigantic hurdle crumbled. There was no big ceremony, no
Well into my 50s
cosmetic surgery, no miracle. My four-year-old granddaughter wanted me to go to the pool and see how much she'd learned at swimming lessons. When I said, I would watch, her face fell. She wanted me in the water with her. How could I possibly say no?

I'm free!
I dug out my discarded swimsuit, held my breath, and tried it on. It fit. I peeked in the mirror. Okay, I don't look like I used to. How could I? I have a beautiful little granddaughter. I'm a Nana for pete's sake. But something just came over me, and I really can't tell you what. Padding across the cool deck, following that little girl into the pool, my self esteem was just fine. I had so much fun. And I am who I am. Isn't that aging
Thanks to this little girl
gracefully?


26 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Aaack! I hear you, Brenda, and feel your physical (aging) pain! The worst part is how you don't feel any older inside but outside so much feels different. It's hard to reconcile the two. How wonderful that your granddaughter coaxed you into that pool. If I ever have grandchildren, I hope I'll do the same (presuming I don't die of old age first!). You look fabulous, by the way. :-)

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh yeah, Leah, inside is totally different than outside.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Your post made me cry. I'm going to miss my eldest grandson's wedding this Saturday, and it's tearing me apart. Tim is a gentle-hearted thirty-year old. Being the nickname freak, I am I call him my Prince.

I'm in a lot of pain right now with two kidney stones. Just walking through the grocery store yesterday was torture. Calvin can't handle flying right now, perhaps never again. His heart is acting too weird and he falls a lot. The "stones" and I have to pick him up. Flying is out. So, we'd planned on driving the 880 miles, doing it in two days. Since driving is too hard for him, I'd be the person behind the wheel, hoping the pain wouldn't get worse OR the stones decide to pass somewhere in Kentucky or southern Indiana.

We love our grandchildren. Just as yours made you see you the way she sees you--with loving perfection--each one brings an unconditional love and almost reverence to our lives.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh Vonnie. So sorry you'll miss it. I can imagine your angst. Grandchildren are so totally loving and see so much more in us than we do. I remember once when my son was about six my mom, his grandma, complained about her wrinkles. He put his little hands on her face and said, "Grandma, they make you so beautiful."

Alison Henderson said...

I have to admit I'm not aging gracefully. I'm fighting it all the way, and right now paying a very uncomfortable price. I exercise five days a week, alternating cardio and weight-bearing. Last Thursday, I was doing strength training with resistance bands and got carried away. I managed to strain every single tiny muscle in my neck and throat and have been in agony ever since--can't even swallow water without wincing. It would certainly be easier to give up this nonsense and just give in to the effects of time, and maybe I will, one of these days. LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

I look in the mirror and think, that can't be how I look. I still expect to see someone who looks like my daughters. I see cute clothes that don't look cute on. It's not easy as we pass that fifty mark and head for sixty and beyond. I'm glad you and Sadie had a ball!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Ah, Brenda, you hit our buttons. One of my friends calls herself 'old' already...I'm not ready for that label. Forget elderly or aged...even 'senior' makes me wince. I WANT to age gracefully, but I seem to be screaming 'no, no!' all the way. Perspective: I'm in Niagara Falls right now...I'm on the 26th floor watching/hearing the falls as I write to you. 99% of the water flowing over the falls is melt from the Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Me? In the scheme of things? I'm quibbling over 20 or 30 years. Really? 28 million liters of water flows over the falls per second. I might count as half a cup.

Beth Trissel said...

I totally hear you! AND we are about the same age. I loved your honesty. This is sooo me. Thanks!~

Margo Hoornstra said...

It's true, my inside age is so at odds with my outside one. It's like what the heck just happened? So great the way grandchildren can take us as we are, and love every minute of it with us. After my recent health scare, I'm thinking aging isn't something to dread, but to celebrate!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

You look amazing. I haven't worn a swimsuit in so many years. Seems like a lot of people my age are grandparents.

Hebby Roman said...

Brenda, you're so ahead of me. Unfortunately, I didn't take care of myself, and then, belatedly, now, I'm doing Weight Watchers with my DIL and her mother. They're both life members and committed, they help me a lot. But I still get into a swimsuit, who cares? And the very best times I have today now is in the pool with my TWO granddaughters, one who's almost four and the other who's 18 months. They're so much fun, you forget yourself. I can safely say, for me, family and especially grandchildren, are still the best ways to overcome the aging thing. Takes your mind off yourself, that's really the key. Isn't it?

Andrea Downing said...

I'm dong my best to age gracefully but sure as heck is hard. In my 50s, people still thought my daughter and I were sisters. Suddenly, I got into the 60s--and one thing after another in the health department including AFib and heart pills that make my metabolism go backwards. Haven't worn shorts for years an this year am reluctant to be seen in a bathing suit. But I'm doing my best and it doesn't seem to stop me from the important things in life--road trips and travel and mixing with family and friends and writing and exercise (no grandkids just yet--daughter just married). Life goes on....

Barbara Edwards said...

Oh boy. I don't want to think about aging. If my kids didn't know my birthday, I'd never mention it. The years are flying by and I'm flapping my arms to keep up.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Alison, you have the right idea but maybe need to moderate. Exercise is so important for youthfulness. Getting old wouldn't be so bad if we stay fit and live well those last few years.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Jannine, my sister and I were talking about the clothes issue yesterday. Even if it fits and you like it, at some point there are clothes a woman of a certain age should avoid. I don't believe in going dowdy, but using a little discretion to remain tasteful.

Brenda Whiteside said...

It is all relative, isn't it, Rolynn? I'm not exactly docile about the whole aging thing even if I have thrown off some of the vanity to romp with Sadi. I HATE having my picture made anymore. I want to update my author pic, but am NEVER happy with the results.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, Beth and Margo.

Brenda Whiteside said...

So, Vicki, listen to Hebby and get into the swimsuit!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Keep working at it, Andrea. Or bet yet, forget it and just enjoy life!

Same for you, Barbara. We just need to enjoy.

Mary Gillgannon said...

I hear ya, Brenda. But one of the perks of aging is gaining wisdom. It seems like that's what you've done. Grandchildren are the future and it's our job to make it a good one. Cheers and best wishes.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Entertaining and insightful post...Thanks for sharing Brenda. :)

Debra Jupe said...

Oh wow! You expressed how every woman feels as they mature. Thanks for such an insightful post.

Diane Burton said...

Vonnie, I hurt for you--being in physical pain from the kidney stones and emotional for missing your grandson's wedding.

Brenda, good for you. Who cares what we look like, besides ourselves? When I was in Arizona, I'd see women wearing all kinds of dress--shorts, sleeveless blouses, whatever--and it reminded me of the poem (not sure if this is the right title) When I Grow Old I'll Wear Purple. I'm older than most/all of you and I'm just happy to be here, aches, pains, and all. I'm thrilled that I've played with my grandchildren and looked forward to The Boys when they come in November so I can play with them, too. Life is good.

Laura Strickland said...

My problem is, I ignored the fact that I was growing older--FOR YEARS. Simply didn't pay any attention to it. I mostly live in my head anyway, with my characters, right? And most of them are young and beautiful. Then it hit me--people were seeing at me differently. And I took a good look in the mirror. ACK! Imagine the shock! I hate mirrors.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Well, Mary, I'm not convinced I so wise. But Sadi is still teaching me!

Thanks, Joanne.

Thanks, Debra.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Yes, Diane, Life is good!

Laura, you're funny! You hate mirrors the way I hate cameras.