How is it that it is August already? Summer is waning and I feel as though I have barely gotten into it. My legs are finally a shade darker than neon white (thanks to gradual self-tanning creams), my daughter has gone and come home from summer camp, the garden shops are starting to stock fall mums and I have eaten the first corn and tomatoes of the season.
All signs of endings, not beginnings.
Kind of like mid-life. My own personal August for all intents and purposes started a couple of years ago I figure. Suddenly it started requiring far more "maintenance" to remain looking like January to June and not July to December. I have to work out harder, eat less, drink less, sleep more ( as difficult as that seems to be), fuss longer with my hair and make-up and spend more at the salon than I did in the first half of the game.
I notice that when some women reach November and December in their lives, they actually start spending less as it must seem hopeless at that point. Why bother? I don't think I will be one of them. Every now and again I bump into a November or December gal who still works hard at pulling herself together and I admire her - "that will be me," I think to myself. "I won't let myself look like the women in my hair salon with that "old lady" hair.
You know - the ones who get their white hair permed and then go for a weekly "set". It looks like a tightly curled helmet. Just shoot me if I ever look like that. There is one woman in her late seventies that still looks hip and every time I see her, I congratulate her for not giving in. She still sports a spiky cropped do that requires a bit of "product" to make it stand up and she easily shaves ten years off with that style. She also still wears jeans and has not given in to the polyester, elasticized waist pants that so many others her age seem to have done.
I am forever inspired by that paparazzi photo that was taken of Helen Mirren a few years back in her red two-piece bathing suit at 63. She looked fabulous and if she can do it, so can I! It is a fact of life that it is easier for men. Case in point - the photos in the news today of Bill Clinton at his daughter's wedding. We look at his white hair and his sagging jowls and think - "hmmm, not bad for an old guy." However, we look at Hilary and all we see are her flaws. Kind of like we do to ourselves. Some days, I can look at myself in the mirror and see the same face I have seen my whole life and skip out of the bathroom full of vim and vigour, but some days I pause too long and start to examine the fine lines and start pushing and pulling my face this way and that to see what I might look like with a little nip here or a tuck there. Never a good plan.
I am finding it difficult to face the fact that I am in the August of my life. I don't even believe it some days. It's as though it has come as a shock to me suddenly, like some unexpected surprise I was not at all prepared for. I see old friends faces on Facebook - women from high school or university and for the most part, they shock me. Not all, but some. Do I shock them? Do they look at my face and do a double take? One thing I do notice though is their eyes - that is how they are still recognizable even if the rest of their face has become distorted by time.
And that about sums it up, does it not? The window to their souls. That's always still there. That part of them that is forever young, timeless and beautiful.
Amen to that.