Is this the year that the allure of “me” begins to wither its way towards unseemly? Or innocuous? Is this the year that I may age-out of being irresistible? I’ve turned 58 years old.
This is my new fear about aging. So far, I’ve managed to not dwell on the cliched, much-mourned about, typical, in-your-50s losses: I no longer look like my 25, 35, or 45-year-old self (Been there. And survived). My cheekbones are starting to form the skyward, upper reaches of a V-shaped face, with my chin and neck falling towards pointy – kind of like going from perky to pelican (I just try to smile a lot to pull it all up). My knees are really starting to hurt when I bend them (Then don’t bend them! Downward dog pose gets you to the same place).
Or even that I’m meandering my way towards dead. None of that really rattled me at 57.
But what I don’t want to become is tired and dull, and therefore done. I hope that I will never, unexpectedly, and without warning or remedy, lose my ability to see the enchantment and delight in life, and will therefore become less enchanting and delightful, regardless of what I look like. Worse would be if I didn’t care. Because, to me, it’s allure that makes someone attractive, and can keep us all going. It’s begot from confidence; spirit. That human magnetism that draws people to you – entices, intrigues, beguiles. I look for that in people. It transcends physical beauty, the eye-of-the-beholder kind, which will not be beholding to you for life.
Hopefully, the flimsier the potency of the seen, the firmer the unseen, the inner beauty. Your appeal oozes even more from what you exude, not how you look. Those intangibles – charm, rapture, kindness. People enjoy being around you. We all know the beauty with no personality whose attractiveness is diminished with every spoken word, and the less-than beauty, whose effusiveness and exuberance paints a glorious glow over their physical selves. Their allure is a constant.
Of course, praise for all these inner workings, does not mean that I don’t have my moments of lamenting over the realization that, undeniably, from this point on, only one head (maybe), not all, will turn (sometimes) for a second look. That I will no longer be able to run down the beach with unbounded joy into the ocean without looking like … just picture it.
But I do get a new kind of satisfaction at any comment that may hint at the possibility that “really old, wrinkled, and maybe dull,” is not coming at breakneck speed.
When I told my mom recently that, in two years, when we go to the movies, I will be asking for: “Two seniors …”
“Well, they’ll have to proof you,” she said, without a flinch. “Because they will not believe yours is the face of a 60 year old.”
Yes, it’s my mom speaking. But she’s honest, and is never one to mince words: “You’re nothing but a party girl” (8th grade); “What’s the matter with your hair?” (last Monday). And she would never dole out disingenuous praise.
So that comment will help to fuel my alluring smile at least until 60.