Posts Tagged ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’

Today is my sixtieth birthday, and the only way I can describe it is surreal. To give you an idea of just how foreign the number “sixty” is to me, I first typed the title of this entry as “On Turning Thirty.” Even my fingers are in denial.

Unlike my teenage years, or young womanhood, or my years as a wife and mother, this is an age I never took time to imagine. It snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking; perhaps while I was asleep, or stuck in traffic, or playing my zillionth game of Spider Solitaire. Somewhere between forty and sixty, I lost time.

Despite feeling a little shell-shocked, reaching my sixth decade doesn’t bother me as much as I expected it might. I’ve watched so many of my friends die much too soon. How can I not appreciate each day that I am given? I’ve been so lucky. Healthwise, I don’t feel any worse than I did at forty. It may be one advantage of having the aches and pains of fibromyalgia for so long. My age has simply caught up with the way I’ve always felt. The asthma that plagued me at a younger age is under control now, thanks to medical advances. To think I once believed that it would probably kill me someday. I never could have predicted that I’d feel this good at sixty.

Surprisingly, I have developed a fascination with the aging process, as if it’s happening to someone else, as if the person in the mirror is not really me. I study the gradual appearance of lines in my face as if noticing them for the first time. I am spellbound by the skin on my hands, how much thinner and drier it seems. My nails have changed. I wonder when all of it began and why I didn’t notice.

And then there’s my neck.

A few years ago, I watched author Nora Ephron being interviewed on a women’s talk show. She discussed her new book on middle-age, and the procedures some women endure to appear younger. She ended by saying “but there’s nothing you can do about one part of your body.” The title of her book was “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” She was right. And the irony is in knowing that at a time in my life when I prefer to cover my neck, I can no longer stand the heat!

Yes, I am now sixty. I may have to say it again and again until it sinks in. I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser than I was at thirty, but the reality is that inside, I am very much unchanged, with the same values, the same passions, the same sentiments. The greatest difference comes from acknowledging that time has passed more quickly than I ever anticipated, too much of it forgotten.

From this point on, I have to try harder to savour each moment, to make the days count for something. Life is much too fleeting, and there are still memories to be made.

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