Let me count the ways…
Once you hit 50, I think those ways are hard to think of, let alone count. The tendency, for some or most women anyway, is to look at ourselves and wonder what happened.
I have recently been encouraged by a young friend of ours, Rebecca Rice, who writes a blog called, The Hydrangea Project. She recently had a question posed to her at her writer’s group. “What do I love about my body?”
I think Rebecca is 26 or so and I’m sure the ladies in her writer’s group are just about the same. Still women young or old have hangups about their bodies and I’ll dare to venture and say I think some men do, too.
But, as we age things, well…change. Though I’m ever so grateful for gravity, it does have its downside, literally pulling all things to earth. Most of us over 50 have experienced this in one way or another and it’s very easy to grumble and complain. But Becca’s recent post made me think. Instead of focusing on the negatives, the drooping, the sagging, the uncanny ability we women have of tucking our bosoms into the tops of our pajama pants, and the things that sometimes creak in the night; what is it about my body that I love?
Well…here’s what I came up with. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is appropriate. I’ll start from the top.
I have learned to really enjoy my hair. I’ve gotten compliments on both the color and the texture for most of my life. When I was a little girl, there were some days that my Grandma Moon would tell me I had beautiful hair. There were other days that she would tell me I looked like The Wreck of the Hesperus. I never knew exactly what she meant by that. It’s a Longfellow poem about a shipwreck. But, I’m pretty sure there were days when that’s exactly what it looked like.
My Mom and I have an ongoing discussion about the length of my hair. Her generation is of the mindset that as a woman gets older her hair needs to get shorter. I’ve considered this, but then I have no desire to look like a poodle. My hair is wild and a bit crazy, but I think it suits me. Though I still have days that I wake up and think I look like a foraging squirrel, for the most part, I love my hair.
I like my hands. They’re not particularly feminine, but they’re sturdy and they get the job done. I’m also pretty fond of my wrists. Small, but not petite they have a weird protruding bone that I remember seeing on my Grandma when I was a little girl. I like that, that and the fact that they are one of the few places on my body that has absolutely no fat deposits.
My hips have served me well, delivering three fairly big and very beautiful babies. I keep telling the Lord I don’t really need them to be quite so large anymore, but for some reason, they won’t go away. Which brings me to my next and last favorite thing.
My legs. I both love them and, at times, hate them; but since I’m trying to concentrate on the positives…My legs are short, sturdy and, way back when, they were muscular. Now, well, the muscles have been relaxing for quite some time and my legs are just kind of thick. I like to tell myself that I could bring them back to life and restore what once was, but then I think of the work involved and quickly decide I am fairly content to blame their thickness on my lack of height. It’s easier. Less physical activity.
Overall, I like them because…I can move furniture and other heavy objects with them. I can walk and hike for miles and they never tire. My feet will give out, but never my legs. Let’s face it, guys, for all intents and purposes, I have legs like a mountain man. At church one day a friend of mine standing behind both my father and I, came up to me afterward and told me that my legs looked exactly like my fathers except mine weren’t hairy. This had to be during the spring and summer months in Florida. Had it been No-Shave-November, which I stretch out for most of the winter, they’d have been identical.
For what it’s worth, I think I’ve finally come up with my New Year’s Resolution. I’m a month late, but that’s okay. I think I will try to appreciate what I have without dwelling on what I had. I think maybe we all should. Because in the end it’s really not that big a deal.