Out of the Shadows: A Letter to my Younger Body

Dear Younger Bod,

Where did you go? I miss you and all you had to offer. You were with me for so long…and man, did you give me some fun times!

But I want to make a few confessions to you as I sit here in front of my mirror and check out…well, your successor. She’s here now in all of her might and has seemingly and magically appeared and evolved as a friend who I’ve come to know quite intimately over the last 10 or so years. A stranger who has worked her way into my life of 52 years. I hope she’s not going anywhere soon, though…I think I will keep her around for a bit. I’ll introduce you to her, but let me first say a few things.

I’m sorry that I critiqued you constantly. For years I thought you weren’t good enough. I didn’t think much of you, at least lovingly, and I was constantly trying to change you when you were just fine. I must have been such a nag. Having me look at you like you weren’t good enough must have been hurtful. I sure didn’t appreciate you the way you always deserved. I also know that I probably didn’t take care of you as well as I should have, selfishly and ignorantly thinking I had youth and years on my side. I should have listened to mom! I am sorry for that.

I loved how you gave me the best eye lashes ever! Such a gift. Your lashes were the envy of the masses, girlfriend. Just a little mascara, and you lit up the room, both plain and adorned with mascara and color. Now, well, my new friend is a little stingy with flaunting the lashes like you always did, and it seems like she demands a bit more mascara, and that is IF I actually imbibe in that luxury with her.

Yikes, and can you say wrinkles? Thank you for giving me lots of good years without the map of life….I guess I had to earn them, right? A thing that mom warned me about. Moms just know, you know? Mom knew you were going to give me lovely reminders in my later years about the eye cream, wearing sunglasses to avoid squinting, and well, just plain taking the bitch-face off my face! But you know, the new sista, I think she wants me to know that it’s okay to have lived and be living a life of laughter, tears, fears, worry, no sunblock, not enough sleep, adventure, the recklessness of youth causing scars, sunburns, wearing my heart on my face…and she’s brought me proof of living and has definitely left her mark. A free engraving or colorless tattoo on my face. A few road tracks and “11’s” in the big scheme of things – I think we will survive it together. I give her lots of TLC now to maybe make up for the neglect and just plain carelessness with which I tended to you, love.  

You didn’t give me nails but that has never been important, so that part I am not bitching about. You know I’ve always been a simple, no fuss, dig-in-the-dirt sort of girl, and breaking a nail has never been my modus operandi. I think that she is giving me much better nails because I’ve learned to fuel her with better foods…she’s eating well, I’ll have you know. I really appreciate that she can still grow them without pits, grooves, or splitting. Small miracles.

And the hair! First you gave me toe-head blond, then you transitioned to some kind of weird light brown, and then you presented me with grays. I remember when you sent me your first gray. I was at a car wash checking out my forehead, and there you were. Eeek! Gray. Disgust. Fear. I call the grays the “new friend from my future,” and I do have to admit that sometimes I hide you temporarily. Each time you bring them back, I ask if I should just let you do your thing and see what happens to my whole head if I let you loose to do your thing. Will you go crazy on me? I am sure I will find out one day when I let the hairdresser go…not quite ready for you to do your thing there…yet. But soon, I am sure of it.

The new friend, well, her outlook is insightful and wise, yet her vision is a bit flawed and no longer 20/15. She makes me wear readers, for Pete’s sake, and I cannot go anywhere without them. Can you say “read this at 5 feet away?” She lets me do that, but no chance when it’s inches away. The nerve of her. Luckily, she is still only requiring the 1.50 power, but man, she makes me turn lights on now every.single.time. And sometimes I even have to increase the font sizes so she cooperates and lets me get my work done. But I am good with it because she’s introduced me to a whole new fashion accessory that makes its appearance in many colors and forms and is literally found wherever I go…car, office, kitchen, bedroom. What’re ya gonna do?

And why did you never warn me about crêpey skin? What the heck! She requires so much maintenance with this. Who knew? Thanks for letting me live in some really good skin for so many years. The price to pay for a life in the sun and doing life “ad lib” on the boat, on the mountain, in the pool, in the tanning booth, and in the sun. Dang girl, I beat you up! She’s helping to make me look a tad closer to my age, and in many regards that has its benefits as far as credibility in my profession. I’m good with it (like I have a choice unless I take her for a trip under the knife which is not going to happen). The new look she’s given me – I call it the look of wisdom and experience. Do you like that? She’s helping me cope by giving me insights about not stressing and not caring as much and being okay with right now and just letting that stuff go. Most of the time.  

One last little thing you never had me deal with – jeez, a little stomach roll? You never made me deal with that! We really cannot figure out where that little thing came from….hmmm. But she’s making me be friends with it (well, you know those friends we “tolerate”), and we continue to work on it a lot ‘til we can obliterate it. She’s made me have some come-to-Jesus moments about the importance of a good diet to a make sure we keep that sucker at bay and so I can zip the jeans without too much trouble. I never appreciated how much food you let me eat with not too many issues. Really, she’s got me on a tight rope to keep things in check, but I think you understand that there are more important things in life so I won’t take too much more of your time belaboring that point.

The new friend. Meet her. She’s the older version of you. The mature one. The one who has some stretch marks, wrinkles, and some sagging in a few places. The patient one. The more accepting one. The one who I now hold sacred. The calmer one. The one who has more boundaries but who has let me do more things for myself than I ever did with you. The one who doesn’t have the need to be right all the time. The one who executes more and ruminates less. The one who is learning not to judge…most things. The one who is going with the flow. Mostly. The one who lets me keep hacking away at keeping her thriving and figuring out life. The one who is okay with setting boundaries. The one who’s not living with guilt for every little mistake, flaw, or perceived failure. The one who will grow with me until I croak (literally and figuratively). She’s here to stay, young sista. We are getting to like one another. We gel, you know? As imperfect as she is, she’s the perfect one for me right now. 

Thanks for getting me here, young one. We’re good. 

                                              Love,

                                              Me  

 

Photo: Mohave National Preserve 2014

Blog 7 of 30 out of 30 days of practice. Constructive criticism welcome. Learning to laugh at myself and loving trying things…drop in the comments if you can relate.

Thank you. 🙂 

 

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