I know I am past middle age now but I do not believe it... well... until I look in a mirror. Then I see some old woman I do not even know. On bad days the strong family resemblance to my mother's female relations, specifically my Great Aunt Ruth, makes my life-long depression even deeper and more desperate. Sometimes I wake up amazed that I have not killed myself long before now. I seldom look in the mirror. That is why I show up at the cube farm at least once or twice a year with my dress inside out or my shirt on backwards.
Another plague of aging is the way my brain starts and stops and hiccups and sputters in a most embarrassing way. Sometimes I forget what I am saying in mid-sentence. There are days when concentrating is out of the question. Depending on how motivated I am to recall a fact or a name or a reason or the history of a project, it might take two or three days to dredge something from the memory banks.
I prefer to live in denial of my aching knees that snap and burn and hurt like hell going up or down stairs, or my poor aching fingers becoming misshapen and wrinkled. My eyesight is worse every year. My hearing is fading, damaged long ago by amplified rock'n'roll blasting at inhuman levels and Harley Davidson motors and naked ears traveling at 80 mph on the wide open road.
I will not use the words "fat" or "sagging" in this post. To a woman, they are like Kryptonite to Superman.
We have to grow old right before our own eyes. If we stayed young and beautiful and strong right up to the end, death would be uncommonly cruel. And speaking of death... people I have loved long and dearly are departing. I have already outlived Significant Other two and three, much to my sorrow. My Grandmothers are gone and all of their generation in my family. My mother and her brothers and sister are gone, too. My dear Patti gone. So many others already out of here... and many more diagnosed with disease and illness that will age them quickly and take them away, too.
That is the trouble with living a life. It is sometimes difficult and sad and nothing stays the same. If you weaken, the herd surges ahead leaving you to the wolves. Like the old lady last night at the gas station. Gas was $3.54 at a grand opening and people were congregating like African herds at that last water hole. If you had a place in line, you could not let anyone intimidate or bully you away from your turn at the pumps. A young gal shoehorned her fast little car in behind me and in front of an RV. "Good show!" I thought to myself. Just as I had finished up, a woman about my age in a big white van pulled up facing me. She had already made everyone angry by going the wrong direction. By blocking traffic in four directions, she thought she was going to wheel into my space as I left. She did not see the young tigress behind me. The herd pressure from everyone attempting to get past White Van made her finally slam into reverse and wheel backwards at an alarming rate. The guy on the other side of the pump and I both shouted as she was closing in on a small car behind her. The crash seemed inevitable. At the last possible moment, she stopped inches from the pristine hood of a much smaller car trapped behind her. I took the wiggle room to get the hell out of there.
As soon as I pulled forward, Tigress zoomed into the vacancy she had been patiently waiting for. White Van wrongfully assumed she had been cheated out of her turn and laid on the horn, making a big White Van Ass of herself, red faced and bitchy. She had not a single friend in all the herd. (In her secret heart, she was cursing that giant van, too.) She was forced to wait, steaming and humiliated while Tigress filled up. I drove away feeling pretty damned good about myself. I still have what it takes. I kept my place at the watering hole and got out alive.