Aging well? What the hell does that mean?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 4 comments

in Aging Well, Health and Wellness, Women in Midlife

I’m going to turn 50. Soon

And, not to be melodramatic or anything, but, if genetics have anything to do with it, sometime after that, at some indeterminate point in the future, I am going to wither away from some horrible disease and then I’m going to die.  I’m just thrilled. Can’t you tell?

I don’t want a big party to celebrate my half-century mark like my husband had this past summer. But then I never want a big party anyway.

The last birthday party I had was for my 40th. What a freaking disaster.

What the people attending the party didn’t know was that I was secretly taking Clomid in my desperate (and ultimately doomed) attempt to have another baby. In case you don’t know, Clomid makes you crazy. I spent half my birthday party hiding in my bedroom closet, sobbing into a towel, and the other half laughing maniacally while trying to hide the fact from the party guests that I was secretly taking Clomid and crying hysterically in my bedroom closet.

I’m sure everyone was fooled.

And I’m equally sure I never want another birthday party as long as I live, or at least not this year.

Just because I don’t want a big birthday party with those damned black decorations and balloons that read “Over the Hill” doesn’t mean I don’t want adoration. I fully expect my children to call me and fawn all over me, and that my husband will take me out to a nice restaurant for dinner and bring me home and show me that we’re not dead yet. Since I’m entirely terrible at remembering anyone else’s birthday, that’s all I expect. (Everyone who knows me can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.)

To be honest, in case you couldn’t tell from the second paragraph, I’m not too happy about turning 50. I’m thinking about getting a facelift, a boob job, and maybe a tummy tuck, too. And one of those light treatments that gets rid of your age spots.

But then if I do all of that I’ll look strange and people might look at me with pity and think, “Oh, poor dear, she’s trying too hard.”

But if I don’t do anything at all they might think, “Oh, poor Chloe, she’s not aging well.”

There really is no winning this one.

Face facts. We live in an ageist culture. And a woman over 50 is invisible, or she damn well should be. Unless she has the good sense to be Helen Mirren or Susan Sarandon. Then it’s okay, because those women have aged well.

I don’t feel half-way to antique. I feel pretty good. I’m fit and active and can walk the socks off most 30 year olds. Heck, earlier this year I made my 22 year old daughter beg for mercy in the gym.

Age is in your head. Except it isn’t. That’s a lie we tell ourselves. Not to put too fine a point on it, but aging is the road most of us are going to take to dying.

It was four years tomorrow that I went to Tennessee to save my mother’s life. And it was one year ago that she up and went and got terminally sick all over again and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it. My friend Anne says I’m not over it yet and that I’m still grieving. And I say, “uh huh, no, I’m fine.”

Everything is fine. My mother died. She was 17 years older than I am right now. What if I only have 17 years left? And what if I only really have 12 because the last 5 of those 17 years is spent sick and suffering?

I’m disabling comments for this post because I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want your reassurances blah, blah, blah. Nor do I want any of your irritating lectures blah, blah, blah.

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