Who on earth decided it was ever going to be okay for us to gain facial hair whilst simultaneously losing our sight? I don’t mean going blind, merely the fact that I now need binoculars to put make up on and still I can’t really see the lovely tache on my upper lip, until the sun shines. Perhaps it’s a good thing the sun is shy up here from time to time, so that, when it does brilliantise my face, turning me into a shiny gorilla with eyebrows (thin and greying) that feel quite happy to spread (thinly and greyly) both up and down, I can gasp, and then get over myself. Add to this joyous sunshine discovery my slightly shaky hand, my meanly sharp tweezers and my sagging skin and I have one result.
I could not look, of course, but it isn’t about me seeing me, it’s about you talking to me with your 20/20 vision whilst trying madly to focus on what I’m saying and suppressing the tidal rise of giggles as you watch my untamed facial hair waggling at you like feelers, only in all the wrong places. On cloudy days, I am fine about it all, in fact, I quite forget, but not on sunshiney days.
I remember well, as a child, watching such feeler activity in the older generation. I know that rise of giggles and how very hard it is to keep them from erupting into my mouth. I thought these women looked like jokes, like a cross between apes and heavily perfumed witches Some even had warts and that’s another unwelcome thing that just comes to us all. The lucky ones find them beneath their stoutly sensible clothing; others find them on their noses. I check mine for warts every morning and, so far, the binoculars tell me I am safe.
These disrupters of my harmony are unkind at the very least. At this stage of life, when silly aches and pains deny me the chance to leap over a fence when being chased by a bull, or a wasp, I find a seed of rage has taken root in me. I’m not saying we should have these things whilst young. I’m wondering why we have to have them at all. We have to be filled with beans as a matter of choice and not because there is no challenge to challenge back as in youth and middle age. And they are nothing really, these aging things, nothing more than an opportunity to bite back when bitten by this getting older thing.
There are many wise wisdoms about the journey into old age and I know most of them, but in my opinion, aging is too quick in coming, sending many of us into the sickness queue. Because of what? Fear, that’s what. And I refuse to give fear an inch of room. When we get an ache or a wart, we have a choice. Flight or fight. If I get my eye lashes all stuck together, so what? It is extremely hard to apply mascara whilst peering through binoculars anyway. Does this mean everyone with 20/20 vision has a giggle at my expense? of course it does. If I feel the odd twinge and if I grunt as I elevate from a comfy chair, well, so do most over 60’s. I check my grunt levels, however, and always find a laugh somewhere in my mouth. Words escape me too, but if I search the room, I always find them in the end. My mum said once, whilst we drove into town, ‘oh look at all those men with their arms sticking out!’
Thing is, I can giggle about it, as can she, for, like her, there is harmony with me and the aging palaver. And, if I have lived as a rebel thus far, then I can rebel on.
So can you.