Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “Seriously?”
When I was twenty, I was sure that I would manage to be one of those women who age gracefully. You know, slender, fit, silver haired with long dangly earring, sipping a fine wine at a cafe in Rome. I imagined my face to be serene and smooth, with just enough laugh lines to give me character.
I had a vivid imagination.
Reality is a little bit different, you see. (sigh)
Of course, I still have the image of that beautiful older woman in my head. Which why I’m always sort of shocked to see the stocky, round faced lady with the bifocals standing there in pictures of me.
Sometimes I’m a little annoyed with my body. How did it manage to get so creaky? Why do so many parts of it hurt these days?
And what’s with all the extra padding?
Sometimes I get frustrated when I wake up with a sore neck just from sleeping.
Or when my legs are aching from a half hour on the elliptical. Or when I’d really like to go hiking with my husband, but I know my heart would palpitate me right off the mountainside.
Sometimes I don’t appreciate my body at all. “I’ve been feeding you salad and kale shakes”, I tell it. “Shouldn’t you be a lot leaner and meaner by now?” My body doesn’t usually answer me. Frankly, I don’t think it hears as well as it used to.
At times like these, I think back on all that this body has done for me. I make myself remember all the things I put it through in college. I think back on all of the hikes and camping trips in the rain. All the rocks and dirt I’ve made it haul around as I built my gardens.
I start to feel a little sheepish.
I begin to remember the times when my body acted like an absolute champ. When it performed miracles.
I think about my three pregnancies, when I made that body incubate a real-live human and then give birth to it. I remember labor and delivery when my clumsy, swelled-to-ridiculous-proportions body turned into an Olympic Champion and did what had to be done with precious little help from me.
I remember my body pregnant with one while chasing the other two around the house. I remember it staying up all night to rock a sick baby, then going grocery shopping in the morning.
So I pat it on its chubby little shoulder and tell it that I’m sorry.
I guess this body has earned its creaks and aches and padding. I guess I should learn to appreciate it.
After all, I don’t imagine its going to get much more spry in the future!