February 28, 2012

The Five Stages of Aging Grief - April Aasheim

As another birthday approaches I am conducting my traditional ‘take stock of my life’ assessment. For the most part things are going well. I have an amazing husband, a loving and supportive family, and a group of awesome, imaginary friends. I have a roof over my head, a car that works, and a subscription to The National Geographic. I may not be rich but I’m not poor either…in fact it’s probably been far too long since I’ve missed a meal. And when someone asks me what I do for a living, I now say “I’m a writer” without apologizing first. I realize, for the most part, that I’m a lucky woman.

Of course, I can’t stop there, with the counting of blessings. That wouldn’t be me. There is more to taking stock of what I have. There is also taking stock of what I lost. So every year I trudge down the hall, enter the bathroom, and confront the ‘mirror of truth’ for my annual physical evaluation.  

Who is this person, I wonder, as I gaze bleary-eyed at my reflection. It sort of looks like me but the coloring is off. The chin is doughy and there are lines where there used to be smoothness. Actually, it kind of resembles…no…Oh shit!

I start applying stuff: lotions, conditioners, putty, anything to de-line and de-dough. Just a little fix to get me through the next 365 days. I check my notebook, the same notebook I’ve used every year to chart the progress. Every new line, vein, and divet is recorded and it seems there is a steady upward slope of crap coming my way that is exponentially increasing. Gray hairs that have been creeping in are staying and bringing friends. The property value on this scalp is going to tank. My eyes are so puffy and dark it looks like I haven’t slept in 22 days, up 3 days from last year. And my knees, the cruel pranksters, allow me to squat down but not get back up. Maybe it’s time to consider getting a Life Alert. I write it all in my notebook and punctuate it with a sad-faced period. The end is nigh.

Another birthday means saying hello to some things: wisdom, new opportunities, and 10% discounts at fine, major retail stores across the country. But it also means saying goodbye to other things, like the body parts I’ve long held dear. Years ago I made the decision that I would age gracefully and not become one of the Botox monsters I’ve seen on reality TV.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t lament my losses. And in the spirit of dealing with things the way I’ve always dealt with things (by bitching about them on paper) I’ve come up with the Five Stages of Aging Grief:

Denial: I’m not getting older; I’m advancing into my future.  That isn’t a wrinkle on my brow; it’s a sleep crease. My butt isn’t drooping; my legs are extending. My gums aren’t receding; my teeth are growing. I’m not losing my mind; I’ve developed Adult Onset ADD. When I look in the mirror I don’t see my mother staring back at me, I see…Oh Shit!

Anger: Oh, cruel Universe! Why hast thou forsaken me!? One morning I’m young and nubile, frolicking in the park and the next minute I’m dragging my bat-winged arms and I can’t remember why I’m even in the park. And the hair. Why did you give me long, thick hair just to scraggle it up, thin it out, and make it an entirely new color!? I don’t think you’re very funny! I want no more of it! I’m out of here!

Bargaining: Universe, I’m sorry about that last rant. Hormones. You should know. You gave them to me.  I’m taking supplements now. I do have one small favor to ask. Please don’t take the boobs…anything but the boobs.

Depression: Why did you have to take the boobs? There’s nothing left for me here. I might as well eat a bucket of ice cream and retire to the couch to watch Hoarders and Lifetime Television until I’m dead. The remote controller is too heavy to lift anymore. Do they really have to air Latrisse and Depends commercials every five minutes?

Acceptance: Lifetime Television’s not so bad. As a matter of fact, Desperate Housewives is starting to make sense. Lynette really did face some obstacles in trying to get back into the work force at her age. You go girl! And look at Madonna. Still doing cartwheels at 80.  Hope she’s got on her Depends. And actually, now that I think about it, my mother isn’t so bad. Sure she might have a few wrinkles but she can also do a mean downward dog in Yoga class.  And she does have all of her hair, even if she dyes it purple. Maybe this year won’t be so bad after all.  

And with that I settle into another year. Time to saddle up, sling the ole boobs over my shoulder, and ride off into the sunset. Who needs young and nubile? I’m going for old and crazy.

1 comment:

  1. Also very funny to a woman so old she's not afraid to post book reviews as Grandma. Believe me; I relate!


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