I guess I’m there. Middle aged. By the calendar I’m there. Yup, I’m admitting that I’m 47. What sparked this rambling? Well, I was downtown with the kid in the minivan (yes! a minivan that I proudly refer to as my Mom-Mobile), and I stepped on the brake in preparation for putting the car into reverse, when I realized I hadn’t turned on the motor yet. And it’s not the first time I’ve done this. I’ve even put the car in drive when I was in the garage, meaning to put it into reverse… and it took me two times of stepping on the gas and then immediately braking to figure out what was wrong! Are you scared yet?
This past summer, I got totally fed up with the whole rigamorole of coloring my hair (from the time it took, to having to remember to buy the box of color, to hoping they had my color in stock, to the stink and stinging on my scalp, to seeing dark roots 2 weeks later), so I dumped it. I have stopped coloring my hair. Thank goodness I kind of like the salt and pepper thing. Although, for some reason, on a guy it makes him look like a stud. I’m getting used to it on me, and feel like I look wiser now. Like I’ve been around the block a time or two and haven’t just fallen off the turnip truck. This, in fact is true. I’ve never even been on a turnip truck.
I noticed last night, as I looked in the mirror, that when I smile, I have crinkles (sounds much better than wrinkles) around my eyes. Not to bad, I thought. Smile lines. But, the droopy skin under my chin (exacerbated by being quite heavy) isn’t quite so cute. Oh well. The skin is getting thinner. All part of the process.
The glasses have become bifocals, and the joints are getting creakier: back, knees, hips, a finger or two now and then. Much to my surprise, I found out about two years ago, that I have arthritis in my back and hips (and who knows where else). But most of the time, the joints are quiet and don’t talk to me. Once in a while, one will bark at me. There again, all part of the process.
But then why, when my body obviously ages, do I still feel like the same me that I’ve always been at my essence? Sure I’ve matured and learned a heck of a lot in the time I’ve been here. And my memory occasionally fails me. But the me that is me, still seems like the me that climbed trees as a kid. I’m still the girl who loves to feel wind whipping her face as dark clouds go roiling by. I still have the urge to help people. I still love music. Puppies still totally melt me. And when I’m driving down a country highway behind a red sports car that is doing 7 mph below the speed limit, I still get peeved. Why would anyone buy a sports car, especially a red one, and then drive it like it’s an old jaloppy?
What is it that is this me? That is my personality? I’m sure a lot of philosophers and thinkers call it a variety of things. And I have even wondered what becomes of this “me” when I get really old- we’re talking old age, not just middle aged- and die? Is it just lights out- game over? End of story? And how to find out what happens, when I’m not dead yet (said in my best British Monty Python accent), and I haven’t died to experience it for myself?
Well, I just happen to have a dear friend who has died twice (and came back both times). And I just finished reading two books that used mediums to interview people who are dead. [Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead, by Irene Kendig, and Party of Twelve: The Afterlife Interviews, by Barbara With.] With these sources as my reference, I can unequivocally say, without doubt, that when I get really old and die, it’s not lights out- game over. The me that is me will still exist. Phew! What a relief.