I've been thinking about Bette Davis lately. More specifically, I've been thinking about this quote...
I think Miss Davis had it right. It's not easy, man. This aging thing is tough stuff.
I've always looked younger than my age. I'll never forget one time when I was at the fertility doctor and I was lying back with my feet up in the stirrups and from down there between my legs my doctor said "You have a very youthful uterus." Which I took as a tremendous compliment. But it was exactly what I had expected. I was very youthful all over.
But no more.
I don't really mind the whole looking older thing. I really don't. I'd rather look like myself than like one of those women who have mutilated themselves with surgery trying to look younger. They make me sad. There was a great interview with Frances McDormand in the NY Times recently about aging. She said that looking good should be a boast about experiences accrued and insights acquired, a triumphant signal “that you are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalog of valuable information.” She makes me happy.
But the other aspects of growing old are a drag. The other day, Jude teased me about saying "a drag". He informed me that only people my age and older say "a drag". I told him that having your child tease you about saying "a drag" was a drag. But I digress...
Menopause is an awful thing. Really, truly awful. I ran into an old friend at an audition the other day and she said "I always used to say that God was a woman. But there's no way in hell that a woman invented menopause, so I think I was wrong." It's really hell. I have decided that the reason God created menopause was a "propagation of the species" thing. The older you are, the less energy you have to care and feed the children, so for the good of the species, the mothering thing needs to be handed off to younger women. So God created menopause so that, between the sweating and the belly fat, no man would ever want to have sex with the old broads again, and would move on to the younger cavewomen. I believe this to be true.
My body is betraying me. I get so tired. I've been exercising like mad lately, which makes me feel great right afterward, but by 8:00 pm I just crash - can't keep my eyes open. The idea of going out after 8 at night fills me with dread. I just want my bed and my Netflix. The other night I didn't go to my choir rehearsal because I had gotten up that morning at 6 am to meet the film crew that was filming our front yard, and then had taken a "Slow Burn" class at the Y, and by 6 pm, I was so, so, so tired that I just got into bed. The idea of getting into the car and driving anywhere was just beyond me. I was asleep before Jude.
I keep thinking "I may be older, but at least I'm wiser." But that's bull because my brain is like a stinking sieve. I forget everything. The other day, I had the following thought process...
Okay. Jude has a half-day at school today, which means I need to pick him up at noon. So I should go to the 9:30 spin class at the YMCA. Then I can be home by 10:30ish and can shower and change. Then I can be over to the church by noon to meet the guy about the bingo equipment. Perfect!
Hmm. Have you noticed the problem here? If not, reread it quickly. That's right, I scheduled a meeting at the church at the same time I was supposed to pick my child up at school. And I really, truly didn't notice this discrepancy. I was operating under the misconception that everything was going perfectly. Until about 12:20, when my kid started sending me ornery texts - "WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!!!". By the time I got over to the school, I was 47 minutes late, which Jude is still complaining about. And saddest of all, I LIED to him about why I was late! I told him I got stuck at this meeting at the church which ran late. I just couldn't admit to him that I had just totally derped. That's a word Jude invented - derp. It means exactly what it sounds like it should mean. And I do it all the time.
If it's this bad now, and I'm only 53, what's it going to be like at 83? Will my brain have melted into a gelatinous goo? Will my middle-aged spread have widened into an old-aged sprawl? Will I end up like Mommy's friend Cathy who talks endlessly about her gas?
I am determined not to let any of this happen because I am NOT a SISSY, though it's hard to keep this in mind when you're having a hot flash. So to encourage myself, I will leave you with a couple more words of wisdom from Bette Davis...
"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead."
and if that doesn't work...
"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne."
Go see Ginny Marie and her other Free Choice spinners!