I used to have neutral thoughts about aging. Maybe it was because my parents and all their relatives seemed to look the same from year to year. Then I turned 40 and a wave of panic set in. I started to draw a mind map of my thoughts about aging.
The signs of aging were evident before that milestone. At 36, on March 29, 2003 to be exact, my eye spotted a grey hair peeking out from my natural afro. I froze. Next came a battle between me and it. I finally succeeded with the help of my tweezer. The hair now rests on a page in one of my journals with the caption “My 1st grey hair!”
I recall the late Nora Ephron on the Oprah show saying her neck had started to show her age. She wrote a book called “I Feel Bad About My Neck” and had resorted to wearing a neck scarf. From then on, I started to apply a healthy dose of moisturizer on my neck twice daily. So far, so good. Next, I will try some of those neck stretching exercises…..”as seen on TV.”
Television can certainly raise women’s awareness about aging – like wrinkles and crows’ feet, or about Botox and sagging eyelids. I have the latter. That was another Moment Of Truth.
Around 2007, I had decided to try wearing contact lenses again after an unsuccessful first attempt many years prior. As I took off my glasses and went closer to the mirror to insert the lens, I could not see the eyelid where I should have later applied eye shadow! Immediately I went to Google and entered “droopy eyelids.” Diagnosis? Aging! Not convinced, I casually mentioned it to my doctor on my next visit. “Look at this?” I asked, taking off my glasses. Diagnosis confirmed.
Two years ago, I told my Ophthalmologist that when I wore contact lenses, I could not see the text on my computer screen. She responded “the reading difficulty you are having with the contacts is called presbyopia. It is the ‘seizing up of the muscles in the eyes’ that happens when you turn 40. So you have difficulty adjusting to near and zooming in.” Another confirmation.
Women’s Health Expert Dr Christina Northup believes that getting older is the opportunity to increase your value and competence. She offers up advice to mitigate the effects of, and negative thoughts about aging. This includes doing activities which increase Nitric Oxide such as meditation, exercise and sex….not only the physical act! Omega 3 fats, magnesium and iodine should be added to your diet. I have taken on some of her suggestions.
For my 40th birthday fete, the theme was “Forty, Fitter and Fabulous Fete On The Hill.” I’d later joked that perhaps a more appropriate theme would have been “Forty, Flabbier and Falling Over the Hill.” But as I advance towards my 50th birthday year of celebrations, I think I should adopt the title of Dr Northrup’s book: “Goddesses Never Age.” I am not trying to fight anything anymore, just living each day with gratitude.
By Michelle McDonald
Michelle L. McDonald has been writing since her teenage years, when she started posting entries in her diary. Since then, she has developed this hobby into becoming a Features writer and Blogger. Since 2003, her work has been published in the Jamaica Gleaner, SHE Caribbean and on www.caribbeancricket.com profiling International cricketers and writing “off the field” features from the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
On www.yamfoot.net Michelle posts candid stories about living in the Caribbean. Professionally, she is a freelance Service/HR Advisor and Trainer and is based in Grenada and Jamaica, although she considers all of the Caribbean her home.