Aging vulnerabilities and Happy Birthdays
I have never been one of those people who have had an issue with aging.
I can hear your laughing in disbelief, but it is true.
You might think so. Especially since I live in a city that takes great pride in appearance and youthful exuberance. Where there are just as many Sephoras’ and other cosmetic stores as there are Starbucks. Sometimes I feel like I am living in Barbies’ world walking down Fifth Avenue, minus the tip toed feet, beach blonde hair (fine, guilty), 6 feet tall (definitely not) and spray tan, among Barbies’ other attributes which for the most part offend my feminist nature. I kid….Kinda *
But I digress, the fact is the goal to look young, younger, and youngest, has never really appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have my beauty skin routines, of course it is more so I don’t look like a 15 year old adolescent then to prevent wrinkles, I buff and polish and moisturize with the best of them (all organic of course, I am a yogi) but I never considered it an aging thing. I don’t do it to prevent aging, I do it more because it makes me feel good (face it, a blemish makes NO ONE feel good) then anything else.
And that for me is the most important, after years of literally killing my body, to me it is important to feel good, wrinkles galore be damned.
Now that I say all of this, you are waiting for the but. And I would love to say there isn’t, but alas there is.
The BUT is now that I am on the eve of my twenty-third (I know sooooo old) I am dreading it. Not because I don’t want to get old or really older since at twenty-three I am just a babe and wrinkle free at that (yes I will rub it in and be proud of it!) but more of what it represents.
In what seems like two very short years I will be twenty-five. I knew it was coming, but I guess I didn’t realize I would feel this trepidation start so soon. Some of you might say get over your quarter life crisis your just a babe (and wrinkle free…ahem sorry) but it isn’t that.
I have always been the youngest, the baby, even teasing my sisters about always being the younger looking one who will still get carded when I am thirty (or even asked my age for an exit row seat…yeah not so much a compliment when the stewerdess thinks your younger then 15). I have teased my brother’s about the gray in their hair, even though they shave it (the bastards). I have taken great pride in being the youngest, the baby.
But at twenty-five I won’t be. Theoretically looking at our family tree (not that you would because we aren’t royal, but I can dream) it might seem so. But I know the truth, Twenty-five will be the year I pass my sister who never had the chance to see her twenty-six or what would have been this year, her twenty-eighth birthday. Talk about non wrinkles and surpassing agelessness.
In all seriousness birthdays are more for the living. They represent milestones, whether you want to say blank years young. Or blank years old (though if you want to throw in an expletive feel free). They are a source of pride, a badge of honor, as we celebrate our years, take a moment to thank our moms (they did go through how many hours of labor? Nine hours? Oh she said two uhhh never mind…) and look forward to the coming year even years. They are a chance to get drunk, eat cake and essentially have a grown-up version of a kids birthday party, plus booze. See keeping it young.
I have never been one to dwell on what I didn’t have (I just chose self destructive habits…true story) even after my sister died. I, none the less can’t help feel that void, the emptiness of what age means. At the age of twenty-five my sister’s legacy stopped. It isn’t that I think I will die at that age, I am not that morbid, but it is the passing of another mile stone, one that not only celebrates life but also that which is no longer. What is Timeless (insert Jeopardy joke) and I guess in many ways it is the vulnerabilities of what it means. Of my own immortality or more to the point lack of.
Life throws you curve balls ** and wake up calls. The anniversaries, the good ones as well as the bad, birthdays, dates in general serve as reminders of that. Sometimes they hit you like, well, a baseball. (sorry it fit) but those days you wake up sobbing or looking in the mirror going “In two years I am going to be older then my sister and then I am going to get wrinkles and then look hideous and die looking hideous while she didn’t look hideous, that un-hideous bitch!” Or something to that effect, are also the days you allow yourself to accept your vulnerabilities.
And as much as there are moments where it hurts, trepidation about upcoming birthdays, and uncertainty because how the hell can I spend another year without my sister (hope those angel wings can hold her because pretty sure her head is huge up there sitting on a cloud) it also makes me realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And no I am not sadistic, much. Maybe it is because for the first year and a half I didn’t allow myself to feel numbing the pain with food and alcohol among other meaningless things. Or that I have finally been able to find a peace in myself (or so I tell myself) Or maybe because I am allowing myself to be open to pour my heart and emotions out (my therapist would be so proud) and write this.
Or maybe it is something that is so uniquely special as Jacquie.*** the memories I have are so uniquely my own, they will incur emotions of a wide variety from crying to even anger (big sister she’s the boss ughhh) to the ever more prominent laughter. And to feel those emotions is to be open to the vulnerabilities, to let yourself feel all aspects good and bad and by acknowledging that is when the real letting go begins and the start of living happens.
Madeleine L’Engle said it best: “When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
As I look towards my twenty-third on Thursday and my future twenty-fifth in two years I know one thing that I will hold close ****the gift of life and the ability of the vulnerability to be able to feel all aspects of it, the good and the bad. For it is when we are at our lowest we are at our strongest and I like to think the last few years and the following will prove that. In the mean time I know I have an ageless angel who is looking down and laughing but also celebrating as another age begins.
And I will be laughing because I am still younger if for just another two years.
Love, peace and joy <3
(blog style, yes I know it is a blog so what?)
*Side note never played with barbies and damn proud of it, though I was an avid fan of another Matel product American Girl dolls, I might have played with them actively well into my teenage years…Shhhhh…What? I didn’t know better! I swear! Come on how can you resist a girl who fights the Brits has red hair and totally crushes on her father’s apprentice turned soldier…..Okay I made that last part up but totally would have happened if it was Judy Blume..just saying.
** Trouble with the Curve a 2012 movie staring Clint Eastwood, JT^, and Jessica Biel. it wasn’t just a curveball it was a dive-bomb. It sucked. Do not recommend it. I am afraid Clint is going off his rocker, quite literally actually have you seen his reality show?
^If you do not know who JT stands for then you obviously were not born in the eighties and on…I feel sorry for you, also check out Veganville on youtube, it is why I love this guy…Still don’t recommend Curveball.
***Cue relatives and ex girlfriends gasps and shocks of horror. My god I mentioned her name, I do that from time to time, she was my sister, yet some people (and not my immediate family, my friends or yogis thank god) find it utter horrifying to mention her name fyi come across a person who is grieving quickest way to piss us off and NOT be consoling is my deliberately avoiding their name. in my juvenile ways sometimes I just want to go Jacquie jacquie jacquie….Hey never said I was a mature in-one-day twenty-three year old….
****You totally thought I was going to say my sister didn’t ya? Got you!