Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Gifts of Age


After putting it off for years, I finally took myself to the dermatologist to have a couple of suspicious spots looked at. 

"Gifts of age," she told me, after a biopsy revealed nothing sinister.  "Seborrhiac keratoses." Ditto for any number of little bumps here and there. I am blessed with gifts of age.

Her phrase, however, set me thinking about other gifts of age. Oh, sure, there's diminished strength, endurance, eyesight, hearing and many other gifts I'd just as soon not have. But there are other gifts of age that deserve appreciation.

There's an increased appreciation for little things like the smell of new mown grass, the flash of a yellow swallowtail against the spring green, the delicious cool of night air and the caressing warmth of the morning sun. Even simple things like scrambled eggs or sliding into bed between clean sheets are sensory delights.

I'd like to think too that another of my gifts of age is a philosophical tolerance. Increasingly, I find myself thinking, Not my circus, not my monkeys in reaction to some manufactured flap in the news or on social media.

Pronouns? Have at it. I'll do my best to honor your preferences. Lifestyle choices--clothing, hairstyles, body modifications--I'll nod, semi-appreciatively, and be glad I don't feel compelled to keep up.

I remember back when I was a teen, (that time when fitting in seems so important) one of my friends, who was very popular and attractive, confided that she looked forward to being an old lady so she could sit in a rocking chair and smoke a pipe.

That was never my ambition, but I do rejoice in the thought that I'll never wear high heels or panty hose again. 



Anvilcloud said...

Ageing does have its perks, and it does bring a certain amount of liberation.

JJM said...

Your essay today reminds me of Jenny Joseph's poem: "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me ..." Far more sensible than heels and hose, methinks.

Barbara Rogers said...

As another woman I certainly appreciate the move from "dressing up" for occasions (whether it be work or play) to being comfortable and cassual most of our lives now. I don't think men have ever tottered around on heels, or had snags cause runs in their hose. I like wearing earrings in my one set of body art piercingsm so I kind of understand the adornment some women choose with tattoos and various rings and studs all about them. I have learned most men don't wear ties anymore to work...perhaps to certain religious ceremonies (weddings, funerals come to mind) I love scarves now. Silk preferably.

Sandra Parshall said...

I have never worn high heels in my life, so that's something I haven't given up. But I see women well into their seventies in sky-high heels -- women like our lovely First Lady -- and all I think about is the danger of fractures if their footwear sends them sprawling. I also see older women getting tattoos that call attention to their aging, wrinkled skin, and I wonder what pleasure that gives them at such an advanced age. But as you say, not my problem. We all get pleasure from different things. I would take great pleasure in good health, but that's the one thing I don't have. Nothing makes up for that. I hate being old because it means pain and disability. BTW, I had a spot biopsied and it turned out to be pre-cancerous. Vigilance is best, whatever our age.

jennyfreckles said...

I do agree. Although the amount of time 'maintenance' requires on this aging body these days is ridiculous. I very much agree on the panty hose!

Anonymous said...

A number of years ago, when I discovered the first Seborrhiac keratosis, my then- doctor smiled and said "You're going to hate this...they're called senile keratosis." Not sorry at all they're naming them something else now. :)

I rather liked high heels - most of the time. Freedom from pantyhose was a joy, but not as much as giving up panty girdles. Also got rid of my bra in the 70s. No, I didn't burn it, just quit wearing one. After all those 'comparing myself to others' teen years you spoke of, and feeling inferior because I had small 'boobs,' and many years of bra-strap discomfort, there was finally a benefit of not being well endowed. I chose my clothes carefully and no one was aware that I was enjoying the freedom of not wearing a bra! Ahhhh.

I keep reminding myself that getting older is a privilege that many are not given. (Some days that's a lot easier than others to appreciate.) I also try to remind myself getting old-er is a given, if we're lucky, but FEELING OLD and thinking of yourself that way is not required.

Mary Maupin said...

Heels, panty hose, or make-up! And a couple of other items I guess I won't mention.