Someone once told me they were afraid of dieing without leaving anything behind to be remembered by. It came across at the time like some ego-driven, selfish comment that I wanted to yell back at “that’s not what life’s about! it’s not about doing something to be remembered by, it’s about doing something that can make a difference today, whether your name is attached to it or not isn’t important, no one will ever be that important!” But I think I’m equally if not more selfish and ego-driven. Because while I can honestly say I’m not afraid of dieing, I am utterly and completely afraid of growing old. And that has nothing to do with making a difference in the world today and it will never affect anyone else but me. I am scared of not being that graceful old woman that has long grey hair and still goes for walks and goes snow shoeing with her dog, the one from movies and rejuvenating facial cream commercials. What if I’m that distant, frizzy thinning haired lady that still wears clothes from the 1990s and can’t keep up with the kids of today and all the technology business.
Ex-boy and I joke about how we would allow the other to commit suicide or euthanize the other if we get incapacitated. But it’s true. Those people that are kept in comas for years and years because someone swears it’s an act of god they’re still alive is bullshit. Someone else having to wipe my ass when I get old because I can’t? Nope, can’t do it to myself or the other person. It’s these kind of things that make me cringe. Or even watching someone try and make their way through a garden or the beach with a walker? Sometimes when I run I push myself really hard because my dad lost his ability to run and if that ever happened to me I know I would go nuts. So I have to get the running in now, be appreciative of it, let it keep me sane while it can, because if for some reason that disappears with old age or chance, I believe I wouldn’t last much longer.
And then there are the shallow reasons I don’t want to age. For men, middle age is something society can easily find attractive. But for a woman, entering middle age and then going through the whole birthing thing if you decide to have children, and having to re-coop from that alongside the slowing metabolism and the old-lady butt, the one indicative of someone who doesn’t work out because it sags and tends to look like you’re wearing a diaper… Yes, I’m a shallow person indeed. But it’s what keeps me standing in front of the mirror every morning an extra minute for every year I get older, stepping on the scale in front of the mirror naked, examining if that mole on my butt has travelled farther off to the side or if it’s staying put, if my thighs are touching more than yesterday, if those laugh lines don’t disappear as quickly as they used to, and damn if I don’t start smiling I’m going to have those wicked old lady frown lines.
I wish I could focus my energies on leaving something behind that I could be remembered by, it’s starting to be a more admirable pursuit than being the girl stuck in the mirror, trying to figure out how she’s going to pull off fooling everyone into thinking she’s aging gracefully.