And the drumbeat carries on.
I think I'm having a midlife crisis. How trite, you might say, wondering what precipitated such overused words. Such a passing thought may have never entered your head.
It started suddenly, this questioning of everything and sudden morbidity. An old lady was crossing the street. I looked at her, much like I look at anyone. No. That isn't true. I look at people differently. I look at other women to gauge how I look next to them. Am I fatter? Fitter? Prettier? Better dressed? I look at men to compare with my husband. I've yet to find one I like better, thank god. I look at kids to compare to my kids and babies to affirm that yes, my babies really are the best babies around.
But I rarely, if ever, look at old people. That is until lately. Lately I can't stop. I look at the old ladies going to the grocery store, taking their time in the parking lot, walking carefully. I look at the mothers and daughters, daughters perhaps ten years older than I, escorting mothers to doctors, to the mall, to wherever they need to go. I look at old ladies by themselves. And it hit me, this completely non-novel thought. I can't escape that. I can do what I can, eat right and go to the gym and wear sunscreen that makes me break out. I can pretend im my head that I'm not getting old.
But I am.
And there is no way, no how, that I can avoid it. I mean, other than the obvious, dying before I prefer. There is no way to circumvent the neck, the wrinkles, the sagging. The pain I imagine accompanies it all. The slow. The gait.
I read these women, these strong career women who I admire/dread/envy, like Barbara Amiel and Judith Timson, and these women are there. They aren't a few years away, like I am. They are if not right on the edge, then fully immersed in old. A few years ago they seemed ageless. Now they are aged.
I have nothing on this. No solution, no conclusion.