Speaking of aging, ever notice that just when you’re getting used to how your body works Nature starts switching things up on you? Think about how long it took you to fit in to your skin; how many decades passed before you got truly accustomed to your own personal Bumper Car of a body that moves so deftly through space, navigating its way past everything else out there. It takes years to be able to say to yourself, “OK, so THIS leg turns out a little, which is why I walk like Charlie Chaplin.” Or, “I get it! My ribcage has been plunked down on my pelvic girdle with a little rotation to it!”
If you were made more like a Lego figure, you could just screw your rib cage down a notch until it sat straight again but no. This is how you are made. It’s how the Jell-O of your connective tissue ‘set up’ when you were livin’ on the inside, getting knit up in your mother’s womb, as the Bible puts it.
But it’s all OK – sort of – because you know by now how to ‘drive’ the little vehicle that’s been rented to you for this all-too-brief trip down Life’s highway.
OK until the shape-shifting starts, that is.
We women get a foretaste of shape-shifting if we go through pregnancy, when the body changes faster than Alice when she tosses back the ‘Drink Me’ potion that has her bumping her head on the ceiling of the White Rabbit’s foyer. Suddenly we’re as big as ocean liners. We look like a turtle with its shell on backwards. We bump into things. Our mouths are farther away from our spoons so we spill a lot and what we spill lands on our turtle shells.
It’s pretty perplexing but it finally ends and we go back to our normal size again.
This doesn’t happen with the changes that come with age. Your keep waking up mornings to find that you’re just a tiny bit shorter. I sometimes feel like that paranoid guy who calls the private detective to figure out who keeps sneaking into his house and sawing half-an-inch sections off the legs of his furniture.
And then there’s your hair: It thins. It loses luster.
Guys are lucky right now what with the new fashions: guys going bald can just shave the whole dome, grow a goatee and – boom! – they become Trendiness itself.
I came upon a beribboned box containing coils of long midnight-dark curls, harvested from This Old Head in the early 1980s. They seem as remote from my current hair realities as the tresses on a doll’s head.
One of my favorite movie scenes of all times comes from the 2009n film It’s Complicated where the character played by Meryl Streep, giggly from having partaken of a mind-altering substance associated with a person’s youth, finds herself in the bathroom, laughing away with her former husband (played by Alec Baldwin) and her future son-in-law (played by John Krasinski.)
It’s all fun and giggles until, in this slightly altered state, she catches sight of herself in the mirror and stops mid-titter.
Is THAT what I LOOK like?” she gasps in horror.
It’s a sentiment we can all identify with because yup, it’s what we look like all right. The mirror doesn’t lie.
I guess what we have to do then is just be thankful we’re still here to show up in mirrors, then get back behind the wheel of that little bumper car of a body and cruise on down the highway.