Friday, November 23, 2012

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

Do one thing every day that scares you, the large billboard demands of me each day I travel past it going east to the city.  So I think philosophically about all of my fears that could be addressed every day.  If I did that from now on, they would all cease to frighten me anymore, right?

Today I came to the spiritual awakening that each day I already do engage in facing something that scares me.  Each morning I face my greatest fear.  I peer into the mirror and scare the shit out of myself.

I’ve tried to overcome the old age issue, confronting this inevitability with comments to myself like, “I don’t feel at all my age”, or “I’m aging like a fine wine”, or “but I have so much wisdom to share now that I am older.”

I am so tired of hearing about how I am aging so gracefully.  What the hell does that even mean?  That I am walking (running is what it feels like!) into my golden years without tripping and falling flat on my face? (Which wouldn’t be so bad actually.  A fall might require some plastic surgery to fix, thereby giving me the opportunity to replace the old parts with brand new youthful parts.)

There is nothing graceful about aging.  Each morning, something is new, all right, but not necessarily desired.  The lush, thick mane that was my calling card has turned to dry, thin wisps that don’t like to stay attached to my scalp anymore.  Their preference is to now grow out of my chin, or I may find one of them growing out of my cheek, two inches long before I actually see it and run for the tweezers.  How do they grow so fast in these new places but have stopped growing on my head?

The tweezers has now become my favorite beauty tool.  Heaven forbid I forget to pack it on vacation.  Lord knows the vandyke that would return with me after a week of tweezerless mornings!

The dark patches on my cheeks greet me every morning, reminders of the “I told you so” warnings of youth that I neglected to heed when heading to the beach each summer morning with only baby oil and a foil covered album cover in my beach bag.

And then I see my mother’s family genetics greet me each morning in the deep grooves forming next to my nose heading south to meet up with those familial jowls I would always flick at and joke about on my aunts’ faces, them swearing at me with the same comment under their breath each time, “just wait till you get my age, Vreh Dia-vel-os (you devil).”

I attended a Brent Baum lecture about living in the present.   Good.  Maybe I can forget or stuff the memory of my youthful beauty, stop worrying about the downward spiral that my body is literally taking, as I head into the future at warp speed, stop thinking about that and focus on the hear and now.

Then I heard the words out of his mouth.  The traumas of the past can be redefined and your health and vitality can be returned to you (or something to that effect – this is what I ascertained from the talk) and I grabbed that thought, ran home, and began the process to turn back the clock that was ticking fast and furious in my face and body.

Could I redefine the lupus that had taken my hair?  How about the trauma that had reshaped my inflamed and arthritic knees and aching back?  Surely there were old traumas I could come up with to match the disasters that had redefined the activity and course that my old body had taken in the last few years!

At this point, you find yourself on personal quests to make amends for all of your youthful escapades.  Why didn’t I heed the warnings of my youth?  For the same reason my own children don’t listen to my warnings.  Invincibility.

So I found myself praying to anyone out there who will listen, apologizing, asking forgiveness for all of my transgressions, anything that has led me to this person I cast my gaze upon in the mirror.

I have never succumbed to the calling of youth regained by means of injecting plastic into my body.  There are enough pictures out there of irreversible plastic surgeries leaving permanent Joker grimaces and wax museum replicas walking around town.  I’ve seen botched boob jobs that age and droop exactly the same way as my “normal” old saggy boobs, uglier instead as now they are large, hard softballs bouncing off of bloated bellies, instead of the expected deflated fried eggs.  What is worse, I ask?

No, that expense and continued addiction to upgrades doesn’t end and I would rather watch the slower aging process creep my way than become a carved wax figure straight out of Madame Tussaud’s collection.

I have realized that the fear does lessen each day in front of the mirror.  This inevitable aging happens slowly, thankfully, giving me time to get used to my thickening beard and thinning hair.  The fear lessens as I accept the loss of youth and embrace the growing wisdom that replaces it and will (hopefully) take me into my golden years wrapped in peace and acceptance.

Living in the present requires these daily viewings.  And if the fears do lessen so much that I find myself needing a jolt to jumpstart me back to the action of facing something each day that scares me and getting past it, I will just turn the bright lights on the magnifying mirror and really scare the crap out of myself, which will then get my blood pumping, which is actually good for the body and circulation, right?  Oh, here I go again….

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Greatest Reward

Today this quote is especially poignant.  Attaching yourself to something larger than yourself, that has the potential to grow and live beyond you, beyond your life, beyond your greatest expectations, is well worth fighting and working for.  No monetary reward can ever come close to the unmeasurable reward of realizing your truth, your potential.

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential. - Barack Obama