A few weeks before my thirty-sixth birthday, I woke up as usual, at 6:00 am. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning, mid June. Sitting on the toilet and contemplating the day ahead, I looked down and there it was, a gray pubic hair. Instinctively, I shouted at my crotch, “Nooooo! This can’t be happening.”
[bctt tweet=”I shouted at my crotch, Nooooo! This can’t be happening.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I enjoy aging, like a good piece of cheese. I grow wiser, more confident, and more comfortable with who I am. Yet I hate the notion of growing old. I always joke that I have an old soul, however, in my heart of hearts I know that I am an eternal six year old, who loves jelly beans and wears her hair in pigtails.
Any sign of old age freaks me out, because I can’t reconcile the physical manifestation of my aging body with how I feel on the inside.
I was in the fifth grade when the idea of elderliness first dawned on me. Meeting my best friends during recess, I kept telling them, “we’re in the FIFTH grade! I can’t believe that we are in the fifth grade. This is so huge.” In the feeble mind of an eleven year old girl, the fifth grade somehow amounted to the threshold of adulthood. It marked a point of no return, where all innocence was lost amidst the hardship of life.
As the years passed, I didn’t put much thought into aging. I didn’t mind the additional burdens that came with each birthday. I became more independent when I went to college. I relished my responsibilities as a professional. But I didn’t take care of my body. I ate whatever food was at hand, mostly takeout. I didn’t have time to exercise as I kept 14-hour workdays and dedicated my weekends to post graduate school. By the time I was 29, I had achieved everything I set out to achieve, and then I hit thirty.
[bctt tweet=”A good day for me, in my early thirties, meant having regular bowel movements.” username=”wearethetempest”]
That was the beginning of the end. All of a sudden, my poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle caught up with me. I went up three dress sizes. I had agonizing back and neck pains that put me out of commission for days at a time. I was blind without my glasses. I couldn’t eat red meat or fried food without getting indigestion. A good day for me, in my early thirties, meant having regular bowel movements. But that wasn’t the worst of it. I became an insomniac. I’d lay in bed all night, staring at the ceiling, as weariness of my limbs penetrated to my mind.
I was at a cross-road in my life, and both ways led to a dead-end. I couldn’t muster up any motivation neither professionally or socially. I decided to resign my job and wander aimlessly. I’d wake up in the morning, as my mother and brother were getting ready for work, all smiles and upbeat.
I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through because I was ashamed of my melancholy. But when I was alone, I’d sit on the couch and cry until I could cry no more.
[bctt tweet=”I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through because I was ashamed.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Once I gave myself allowance to be sad without judgment, I started to heal. I acknowledged my negative feelings, I faced them. Then, I focused my attention on my physical and mental wellbeing. I thoroughly examined myself, and learned how to be proud of my strengths and accept my weaknesses. I started a new job and decided to pursue happiness, instead of chasing a career. I was able to carve out a new life from the remnants of my old one.
I’ve just turned forty a couple of months ago. The new decade brings along new ailments. Each wrinkle fills my heart with dread. I feel that my body is conspiring against me.
Now, that I’ve finally learned how to enjoy life, my body is getting in the way. It’s becoming a hindrance. I can no longer read for hours on end without getting glass-burns (red irritation marks on my nose where my glasses rest). I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without taking a moment to catch my breathe. I can’t be outside without sunblock. But it’s okay, because I realize that all of this is part of the growing process.
[bctt tweet=”I allow myself, a perpetual silly old fart, to be the person I am without loathing.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Now, when I find a gray hair, I remind myself to embrace happiness where ever it may be. I allow myself to laugh without the concern of crowfeet. I allow myself, a perpetual silly old fart with a decaying molecular structure, to be the person I am without loathing or judgement.