Sometimes I look in the mirror or at a picture – like today on the first day of school for my teenage son – and think back at all the first-day-of-school pics I’ve taken with him and compare. Today I looked at the picture and actually uttered the words, “Oy. Old.” And I didn’t mean my growing, gorgeous teenager. I meant me.
Was that really the take away of that important moment??
What if we women took all that money — what do they say it is? 3 gajillion dollars a year just in the US alone?!? – and we took that money and time and energy, and spent it on meditation classes, good Buddhist books, even therapy for god’s sake, instead of spending it on fighting aging with products and surgery? Like really. No, not just saying this, but like really started a movement about it?
This morning after looking at the picture, I sized myself up in the mirror. Yep. This is what 48 looks like. On me I mean. It looks like a lot of different things on different people. And then I stood there for a second. I could do all kinds of things from Botox (NOT a good choice for an actress who generally needs her eyebrows to do things she tells them to) to an eye tuck to… oh hell you know the list. It’s RIDICULOUS how many options there are ranging from $15 eye cream to $150,000 worth of surgery over a lifetime for some. (Did I mention I live in New York?)
And the words that came to me, that always come eventually when I get my prefrontal cortex back on-line are: “Eh. I’d rather just learn to love it.”
And the crazy thing is, learning to love it is TOTALLY doable. Learning to see things in different ways. I’ve been in therapy. I’ve been to endless self-help speakers. I’ve read ALL the books. I’ve written one too. I’ve done Buddhist retreats. I’ve listened to my elders. I’ve admired my gorgeous redhead great aunt Charlotte who passed away at 96 last year and who was filled with life and smarts and humor and confidence every minute I knew her. Like really. Not just bullshitty self-acceptance. The real deal.
And 99% (okay 92%?) of the time I’m down with how I look. But it is startling to see changes. And feel them. I wrote a song called “Halfway Closer To Dead” last year. Here it is. (Click on the pic):
Photo: ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/CHRONICLE
And I have to keep listening to that song to remind myself what I actually believe. I mean I wrote the damn thing! With my husband even! But some days I start to forget the message.
I started a hashtag called #SayYourAge. People have jumped on board. I love that. I am honestly having more fun (and more material) from aging than from not. My mother< columnist Ellen Goodman, created a non-profit called The Conversation Project to get people to talk about end of life choices. Most of us are going to die, I’m guessing. And we seem to be aging, whether we agree to it or not.
I think I’m going to agree to it.