Embracing the loss of youth

YOU want to be young? But you can’t be — older is what we all get.

Getting old is a natural thing and we must not be afraid of the natural. Trees, animals, and everything else that is alive age.

I am not afraid to look old. I don’t know indifference, I ignore bitterness. If something unpleasant happens to me, I put it behind.

Women in that certain age are in their oneness: their hands brushed tears away, hands that were once held by and warmed husbands. Indomitably they are widowed by men who couldn’t cry or touch and died of heart attacks.

Brilliantly aging with my grandchildren, Ezekiel and Eliana.

I never expected to be such a poor sport about aging, because I never expected to be old, or at least accept aging very badly. But I am not clutching it in high-pitched sighs and smiles that tell of pain forgotten. In a fragile package are my age spots, menopause and arthritic hormones. Many times, during this examination of the woman of a certain age and the world she lives in, I’ve asked myself, who cares?

The only reason that I’m adding words to this subject is to clear away what I consider to be a thicket of misconceptions if not timidities. Bernard Shaw (GBS) said that it’s a pity, youth in wasted on the young.

This is untrue! Youth is wasted on the old if all they do is pine away to be young again. By embracing the loss of youth, I’ve transcended my anxieties and the dread of growing ancient.

I speak of growing old not gently, perhaps not even gracefully; but with a wonderful outrageous sense of style. I will wrap a scarf around my neck to hide a turkey’s neck, flutter my bosom with bold Swarovski beads that will blind an eagles gaze, be swathed in glitz and glamour. I’ll be sweating glitters.

My voice will be lighter, and I will dress myself: Christian Dior-ed, Valentino-ed and buttered with flowers in an Oscar de la Renta — if you have the taste and money to acquire it.

I will defy the grave with bright colors and perfume (guaranteed to wake the dead and kill the living), tending time, which is more fragile than youth.

Be unduly dignified, having earned the right to dress and sing and dance any way you please. I could even take up belly dancing, and unlock all my inhibitions.

Our identities are not tied to our age. We’re never our own age, as we come to terms with aging, we create our identities in our own terms.

Now, I can demand the freedom to take life less seriously. I will flaunt my gray hair, wrinkles, double chin and falling wombs with the acceptance that beyond age, lies a gentler joy and peace that sanctifies old age,

I shall stop reflecting on such things as the nature of melancholy, or how sickness could be caused by the state of mind. I shall transfer my illusions to more attainable men, and forego men who out of range like Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Henry V, or Clint Eastwood. Perhaps, at some point, throw away the books, along with self-restraint. But in no time will I throw away a sense of fierce independence as a human being and the desire to attain distinction in terms of mind and spirit and expression, and its existing horizons. I am not going to be worried of what others think of me, or by what standard of morality I am judged.

By the time a woman is 70, she is either wanted as a woman of 70 or not really wanted at all. She doesn’t have to fool anyone and accept the fact that competing with women for younger than she is over anything, and is not only degrading, but futile.

The affection I now receive is for me, the real me. This was worth waiting for.


E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com.

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