Monday, March 24, 2014

At the Crossroads of Aging

So last month I turned 40, and as I write this, I will be going to my first mammogram this afternoon. Ugh. To say I’ve been contemplating life, aging, and all things related, is an understatement.

I find myself standing at a crossroads in the road, unable to turn back because the bridge behind me is washed out, but not sure which path to toward the future.  Both paths will get me there – is one better than the other?

The one path is marked “Grow Old Gracefully”.  The other path holds a sign, “Look Youthful Longer.” So here I stand, weighing in on options.

I’ll be honest, my heart is leaning towards “Grow Old Gracefully” path.  This path embraces a late summer landscape that is alive with beauty and life.   I’ve always believed in this saying, “Never regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”

Aren’t these baby wrinkles signs that I’ve been able to live life fully? A souvenir to remind me that I’ve had the privilege of laughing often, of gaining wisdom through the trials? Aren’t they a reminder that my days here on earth are numbered and I should embrace each and every one?   A memento that I am lucky to have lived so many days already?  

So, should I try to hide, or erase, or eliminate these beautiful baby wrinkles, because our culture embraces ‘youth’ more than ‘aging’? 

I admit, I look in the mirror, and sometimes I frown when I see these baby wrinkles; I mean, how did they get there so fast on my face? I’m not sure I like them at times, but I do believe they hold a secret beauty, a contentment that is to be embraced. I’m trying to discover that, even as I’m researching anti-aging products from my laptop.

The other night, laying on the couch, I look up at my husband and ask, “Are you looking at my gray hair?” To which he responds, “NO, your gray hairs! (emphasizing the ‘s’!)   Ha,ha. Oh, the honesty.

Yes, I’ve been styling my hair differently lately, trying to pull the top hair over the gray hair underneath.  In my 40 years, I have never colored my hair.  My blond-ness does well to camouflage the changing color, but should I color my hair now? 

Will it make me feel younger, live happier, if I take the “Look Youthful Longer” path? The path that appears full of springtime flowers? But, if I walk that path and pause to sniff the flowers, will I discover their beauty is only on the surface? Are they just silk flowers planted in the soil to give the illusion of beauty? Should I pretend it’s spring, when really it’s the end of summer? Shouldn’t I embrace the beauty that the end of summer holds?  

Shouldn’t I just smile because yesterday when I walked out the house, my husband ‘revved’ the car motor when he saw me?  Then, when I opened the car door (everyone was waiting on me, and he totally should have been upset because I was making him late) simply smiles and says to our girls “mom revs my engine!”?!  Oh, the happiness -- he still calls me as ‘smokin’ hot,’ with my baby wrinkles and graying hair!  

Is there a third path I’m missing? Can I somehow have both? I mean when the end of summer comes, I try to hang onto it a little longer, I’ll cover my flowers to keep them from getting frostbite.  I take longer walks, and simply stop and lift my face heavenward letting my skin soak up the last of summer’s golden rays. 

I don’t know what this coming year looks like.  I imagine before the year is up, there is a good chance I will have bought some anti-aging creams and got my first highlights.  It’s not that I think those things are necessarily ‘bad’ – like I said, I’m just standing at the crossroads, contemplating.  Are you too? What is your take on this?

 Are you further down the path, how did you make the choice?

 Do you have a favorite quote on aging?

An increasing number of people, including gerontologists, biologists, engineers and futurists, believe ageing is a disease, and one that can be cured. One of those people is Oxford biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, a leader of the anti-ageing movement, who believes we can rejuvenate the body by repairing cellular and molecular damage - and that a person has already been born who will live to 1,000.

Don't try to stretch a season into a lifetime! Know when to let go and move on.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

I must admit that this morning I was a tiny bit sad that my girls didn't care about leprechauns or leprechaun traps or green milk or green glitter.  They are growing up. Those days are gone.

I keep repeating the lyrics to Alan Jackson's song, Remember When, "We won't be sad, we'll be glad, for all the life we've had and we'll remember when."

Those days were fun, and I LOVED them.  But now we have to create new memories!

Tonight I am making traditional Irish Soda Bread.  I mean my friend MaryKate O'Malley shared her grandma's authentic recipe - so I definitely MUST try it, right? I'm not sure if my girls will eat it or not - it does have raisins.  Maybe this will make them love raisins again! :)

Here's the recipe if you want to try it too: 

I am also going to make Shepherd's Pie for the first time tonight! :) We'll see how this goes! :)

I decided to do some research about Saint Patrick, because honestly, I know nothing about him!  Here's a few things I discovered (which I'm sure most of my catholic friends already know!)...

  • March 17th is his date of death
  • He is credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland
  • His color was blue, not green
  • St. Patrick was English, not Irish
  • St. Patrick was sold into Slavery 
  • He used the shamrock to teach about the trinity - father, son, holy spirit
  • There are no snakes in Ireland (although he was not the one to drive them out).
  • More Irish descendants in America than in Ireland. 
  • Irish immigrants were once treated as poorly as African Americans, and organized St. Patrick's Day as a time of unified political support 
  • Ireland is an island (how did I NOT know this?! #embarrassing) Been a few years since I've studied geography or looked at a map of Europe! 
I'm planning to share these facts at dinner tonight, thought it would make a fun conversation.  

I'll probably buy some green juice for dinner (why, oh why, don't they make ecto-cooler Hi-C anymore -- I LOVED that stuff!) and some mint ice-cream -- because I think my girls will still LOVE those green things! :) 

One day I'd love to explore the Ireland countryside...maybe I'd even kiss the Blarney Stone (although it kinda sounds gross!)! :) 

Kylemore Abbey - 10 Places to visit in Ireland: