Yesterday was my 19th wedding anniversary - and 24 years together.
We met in law school when I was 24 (yes, yes, honey, you are still a year younger).
He was way different than the guys I was dating and, in truth, I can't tell you what first attracted me to him. I mean, clearly he is cute, but I tended to date older, more sophisticated, more ambitious and self-assured guys.
But, something about him called to me (which is funny, because he was really a bit of a mess back then). He was smart, and funny sure, but something else: he was genuine. In truth, I was head over heels with him. There was tons and tons of chemistry.
We went through a few big bumps before we got married (including several break ups) and a few big bumps afterwards. Did I mention big?
And, yet, here we are.
Marriage isn't easy. And it isn't always exactly what I want. I imagine he feels the same.
But I still love the guy. I still admire him. I still want more than anything for him to be happy.
But here's the thing: I don't know where the fuck those 24 years went. And I'm pissed about it. And i want them back.
And, while you're at it, I want that waist and neck back.
I want that perfect, smooth skin, and my future stretched out ahead of me . . . even though, I am actually the happiest I've ever been at this particular point in my life. I want my future stretched out FROM HERE.
If only we could keep those lovely superficial externals as we gain the wisdom and contentedness that comes with middle age.
But we don't, and we can't, and I see this photo and pine for that external youth so badly it physically hurts.
I look in the mirror and see only the sags and the lines and find myself calculating the costs and risks of Botox and eye lifts and such.
I'm about to turn 48.
If I don't get a grip, what will I do ten years from now?
I should be so lucky, I KNOW.
|Norah, you will be missed.|
"At the age of fifty-five you will get a saggy roll just above your waist even if you are painfully thin.
This saggy roll just above your waist will be especially visible from the back and will force you to reevaluate half the clothes in your closet, especially the white shirts."
I bet you're all thinking how, faced with death, she probably didn't worry about such things.
But I bet you she did. And, I bet you I would.
Even after surgeries and during illnesses, women want to look good. We may feel too sick to try, there may be a level where we say, "fuck it," but it doesn't leave our mind.
It's not vanity. It's what we know. So much of our identity -- of feeling loved and wanted -- is tied to being attractive and young.
I want to be bigger than this. I want not to pine for that old waist and smooth neck, but I do.
I want to toss out the white shirts instead of fretting that my back fat will show.
But, I'm not there yet. I'm not there.
Even though, aches and pains aside, I am stronger physically now, than I've ever been.
Even though I feel lucky and blessed.
Maybe, instead of botox and tucks,
I just need to have faith that the internal truth of this shines through, bigger than the wrinkles and folds.
Or better yet, really figure out how not to care.