I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older. And what it means to grow old gracefully.
I discovered a streak of grey hair and other than triggering vanity and panic, it occurred to me that in the blink of an eye I’ll be an old woman. Sagging, with wrinkles and weakening bones.
Am I gonna fight it with cosmetics and surgery? Am I going to do more than look after myself with exercise and diet? Push against the course of nature?
I read a model locked herself away once she aged and lost her beauty. So much of her identity and self-worth hinged upon how she looked.
Like all women, I grew up with the desire be attractive. At every family reunion, my aunts would comment if I was too this or too that – the level of pride directly linked to how “pretty” we were, interjected with advice to marry a rich man.
I don’t frown upon marriage as a form of social mobility. It’s how things were done for 100s of years. A matter of practicality and survival. But you know, generations move on, increasing divorce rates ‘n all.
I’ve made different choices with my profession and sexuality. Even cutting my hair felt like I was snipping away my attractiveness. Everyone knows long hair brings all the boys to the yard. But I since stopped using that as my yardstick, heh.
Where am I going with this?
The more I read Eckhart Tolle, the more I realise these things aren’t me. How I look. The role I play. The things I create. The things I identify with. They’re all impermanent. I am an actor playing Amanda Blum. Today the actor is a 32 year old overly philosophical storyteller. Years from now, an 80 year old, childless crone (maybe) where stories of my youth are as insignificant as last year’s breakfast.
This doesn’t frighten me. This doesn’t motivate me swing for the bleachers and create a legacy. On the contrary, I’ve stopped caring about the things that don’t matter. As a course in miracles says “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists”.