Friday, September 18, 2015

Still pondering

I'm feeling a bit exposed because of what I said on the blog yesterday, but I've decided that being honest is important. So I am still pondering here about why I feel old this week. Yes there's jet lag, and there's the fact that Boulder is one mile high so the air is thinner and it's important to pay attention to drinking lots of water. Less oxygen makes physical work more tiring.

When the kids were younger the childcare needs were relentless - not that I did very much, but I did help. This time around it's their energy which is relentless, which is wonderful but it's also exhausting. 

I haven't been on any bike rides or gone out on my own as I did when they lived in San Francisco. What I've been doing is being a Gran. I'm living the life of my Gran when she came to stay with us as children. The day begins when the kids wake up and patter downstairs to my room in the basement and we chat until it's time to get up. 

They go to nursery school some of the time. And when we're not all out and about, I'm around while they play. It was another wonderfully hot day here yesterday and I sat on the garden bench and knitted (how grandmotherly is that?) while they pottered, making "soup" from leaves, flowers, water and mud, played in their version of sand, swiping things from each other, being admonished and making friends again. 

Then Wendy set up the outdoor dining table on the patio with materials for art work, and they were busy with that. Lux made a family of rabbits from paper plates and lolly sticks, and Cece had a glitterfest. 

My job was to open packs of glitter and make sure the glue stick worked.

It's a different life from my life at home: a two week interlude to be with my family, undiluted by writing or pitching, or all the other stuff that takes my attention at home. But I do have intervals of time on my own to lie in the hammock and think about life and death and aging. And that's what I'm doing. 

Oh, and as a postscript to yesterday's post, Lux said last evening that a woman at her school was like me: she was old. So I asked her how she knew I was old, and she said "Because you have wrinkles."

So there's no getting away from those wrinkles, folks. I'm just going to have to suck it up.


marmee said...

I can remember being 56 or 58 and thinking what a doddle ageing was...AND that i was ageing well...

Now I am 65 and sometimes get a real shock looking in the mirror with my reading glasses on and sunlight showing up each wrinkle and crater and I wonder that people don't run screaming from me! And I am ashamed that I am still so vain, still so wanting to look good.

Oh but one thinks back..all these years, all that has happened , that has been overcome, that has been gained and I think its fine. I have one grandchild, still a toddler, that I love beyond the telling of it and it is my very age ( the years under my belt and on my face) that allows me to love him so deeply, so much more effectively than I loved my own children.

Even so, it is painful becoming the crone.

Sue Hepworth said...

Your comment is wonderful, Marmee.
It's a relief that someone understands so perfectly exactly how I feel.
x x x x

Ashbee said...

I'm 58 and struggling a lot with this right now. Perhaps thats because of excess weight making bones and joints creak - chubby faces don't have wrinkles, a small compensation I guess. However my 4yr old gd said it as it was when she pointed to the woman at the next table recently and declared her 'big and fat like you grandma!' rather loudly. I was doubly embarrassed and disappointed that she'd noticed!

Sue Hepworth said...

Oh, poor you!
This reminds me of when one of my young sons said to a visitor with acne - "Why are you so spotty?"

Anonymous said...

I remember watching Julie T Wallace in The Life and Loves of a She Devil' in 1986 - when I was a mere 36, happily unaware of personal vanity or any thought of ageing.

One line was so shocking I've never forgotten it:

'We make good old women, us dogs.'

It hurts to lose our looks, it just does - but it's only us who care!

Our real beholders still miraculously see our beauty.

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, it hurts. I am just so disappointed that I care so much.
I want to make up my mind to stop caring.
Thanks for your comment.
And Ashbee, I do so sympathise with your embarrassment.x

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the wrinkles. I was shocked to see what I looked like at seven in the morning when I spoke to someone on FaceTime, and saw myself in the corner of the screen; it was like something out of a horror film. My face seemed red, my eyebrows turned up at the corners like Jack Nicholson's and I had bags under my eyes. I don't like that at all!

Ashber said...

Oh I wasn't embarrassed for long. Lol! Out of the mouths of babes etc. But this ageing lark is really tough, tougher than I imagined back in my forties.

Anonymous said...

I turned 60 last December and thought it no different to 59,or 58 come to that but as the year has turned I get more aware that I am no longer the younger energetic 50 something.

And in a fair world I would be retired now, not working till I'm 66 to get my pension. I am working still but part of that OAP fraternity, the elderly, those who when I was younger we brought to the mid week over 60s club lunch club with afternoon entertainment - because they didnt want to go out in the evening!!

I just can't get my head around it! Its mad, though I like concessions on the train and free prescriptions - I can get free prescriptions but have to wait till I am 66 for my bus pass - how mad is that ?

And at last I have given in and started to colour my hair - trying to pursuade my lovely conservative early 20's hairdresser (whom I cant leave as she is a family friend)(and she does cut it well) that a deeper shade of red highlight would be just the thing if she really can't cope with putting blue streaks in for me !

So I am not at all surprised about angst about wrinkles. I am with you there - all the way.

and by the way I am discovering poets through you, loved this -

Love Jen

Sue Hepworth said...

I think it's these last two years that have made the difference to me. Before that I was happy with what I looked like.
And as everyone else is saying how old they are, I'll be 66 in a few weeks time. Aarrrghhh!

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Jen
Anthony Wilson's blog is the first thing I read every morning. I'm glad you like it too.