When did I become old? When did people stop saying “You don’t look your age” or “You look at least ten years younger than your real age” and start saying “You look good for your age”? What does that mean, “You look good for your age”? Does that mean you look good? On the other hand, does it imply “I know how old you are and you look close to that age”?
I was aging very nicely in my early fifties. No wrinkles except a few tiny crows feet around the eyes, good skin tone with no cellulite in sight, and salt and pepper hair that I camouflaged by frosting my hair. I rarely had to use skin moisturizers, except a little on my face as a preventative measure, and I rarely sat out in the sun. To stay in shape, I exercised at home three days each week and became a mall-walker, joining other seniors walking a designated path throughout the inside of the local mall.
When I turned fifty-five, I noticed the skin around my elbows were getting dry, wrinkly-sagging skin and started using moisturizers. I started using moisturizers on my face and neck morning and night. The crow’s feet had seemed to increase around my eyes, but there were no other facial wrinkles. Friends and family told me I looked much younger than my years, so I felt good about myself.
I became very ill last year just before I turned fifty-nine. The medications I had to take caused me to gain a lot of weight and dried out my skin. Determined to take the weight off, I exercised three times per day five days each week. Not only did I lose the weight but I also toned up my body. That was a good thing. However, the dry skin never went away even after I stopped taking the medications and tried just about every type of cream or lotion my budget could handle.
This past June, when I put shorts on for the first warm day of summer, when I looked in the mirror, I saw something I never thought I would see – wrinkles on my knees. I do not know where they came from. I always had nice-looking legs. There is only one way to hide wrinkled knees during the summer, and that is to wear capris. However, if you are short and petite with thin legs, as I am, capris do not flatter. As the summer progressed, I noticed probably 99% of my skin is dry. Twice daily moisturizing is now a way of life. The crows feet around my eyes have given way to noticeable wrinkles – but only if I smile. Most make-up only increases the visibility of the wrinkles, so I have had to cut back on the amount and types of make-up I use. My hair is more salt than pepper, but that is okay with me. I just wish I had more of it, no matter what color it is.
So, when did I get old? It seems as though I just woke up one day this year and found more wrinkles, dry skin and gray hair. I looked in the mirror this morning and studied the person who looked back at me. If I can be objective, I have to admit I do not look like I am fifty-five, let alone fifty. Therefore, I do not look ten years younger. I am not ashy or tired-looking. I suppose I will have to admit to being sixty. Life goes on.