When I was a girl, observing the adults at cocktail parties, I formed a mental list of things that I would never do as an old person. For example, I wouldn’t dye my hair (or, as my mother put it, “restore it to its natural color”). I wouldn’t automatically wear makeup every time I left the house. I wouldn’t talk about taxes, politics, and other boring subjects. I wouldn’t complain of aches and pains…and so on. I have grown up and done all of these things.
As a child, I had planned to age gracefully. I was certain that I would have the body of a twenty-five-year-old –fit and strong — but with soft gray hair and crow’s feet by my eyes. It didn’t occur to me that my entire face would get wrinkled and my hands would look veiny. How did this happen to me?
In all fairness, overall, I look fine for my age (61, in case you’re curious). I am not a haggard old witch. But it is still surprising to see how I have changed, internally and externally over the years. Sometimes it bothers me, but today it makes me laugh. As a girl, I was certain I’d become a kindly, spry old person. Actually, I hope that part still comes true.