There has been a lot of angst going around the blog world lately. Problems, thoughts, ponderings. It seems to be hitting the 50+ group, although I’ve read quite a few -50 uncertainties as well. It is like we all are jugging the self-esteem balls, and we keep dropping one or two on our foot. The foot doesn’t break, but it sure as hell hurts.
I myself was going to write a blog about feeling like I’ve really aged in the past year. You know those movie stars and rock stars that come out of mothballs for one reason or another, and you find yourself saying, “Man, have they aged!” You know — the ones you loved in your teens or 20’s or 30’s. You cut them no slack for having lived — whether it be through raising a family or doing drugs or surviving tragedies. You want to see them fresh and perky and full of energy. Not wrinkled or bloated. For that reminds us of … us.
I find that at 60 I’m caught between making excuses and living them. The wrinkles and extra pounds and the inability to fall asleep at night and achy legs and feet are from meds, stress, drinking caffeine, sitting at a desk all day, walking the dog, and a hundred other things. It can’t be that I’m getting old. I mean, Keith Richards looks old. Chevy Chase looks old. Surely ~I~ can’t be looking old like that.
This goes beyond our sound reasoning, beyond the I-loved-raising-my-family and the I’ve-been-through-a-lot-of-stuff stuff. It’s the accumulation of all those years of self criticism and/or questionable choices that’s winds up as lines on our faces and girth around our middles. It’s all those rock-and-roll concerts, college parties, and lonely nights. It’s the sleepless nights staying up with children, hard physical jobs, and watching all those soccer games in the rain. All these things play with our skin, our circulatory system, our psyche. A day at a time, a week at a time. Until one day you wake up and you say, “Damn!” We eat right, we exercise when we can, and worship in our own way. We are kind to animals and love our kids and take up a cause like walking for cancer or volunteer at the library and do breathing exercises to relax. And still the legs ache at night, the circles under our eyes remain, and our hair still turns gray.
The good thing is that we can always steer ourselves in a positive direction. We can become pro-active, getting active in projects and people that keep us too busy to be counting years. We can try and make a difference in the world, or at least in someone’s life. And we DO that.
But still, there are tinges of regret in the eyes of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. To be honest, there will always be a tiny flicker of sadness that I will never be as beautiful as Angelina or as smart as Einstein or as creative as Giada. And now and then there will be a faint whisper of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Looking backwards is a natural action; regret (in some form) a natural reaction. I don’t like the idea that the road is longer behind me than in front of me. Nor do I care for the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
But then I turn on the stereo or put my ear buds in and listen to my IPod, and my youth comes rushing back to me. And I realize it’s never been gone. And will never leave me.
Come on — I know you’ve got it in you. Put on your favorite music — country song, disco song, hairband song. Turn it on and TURN IT UP. You’ll see you’re not an age — you’re a legend.
When we started this band
All we needed, needed was a laugh
Years gone by
I’d say we kicked some ass
When I’m enraged
Or hittin’ the stage
Through my veins
And I’d say
We’re still kickin’ ass
Kick Start my Heart, Motley Crue