In part two of our continuing series on all the relationships in our lives, Jim and Karen discuss our relationship with our bodies in middle age. Jim started out the discussion in part one “Relating to our (Groan) Middle Aged Bodies.” This week Karen shares her thoughts below.
When Jim and Brigitte and I got together recently to map out the topics for our next few blogs in Get A Life, we did so over lunch at Thai Siam. So, as you can imagine, when the idea of talking about our relationships to our own bodies in middle age came up, the resulting conversation and shrieking laughter seemed to make the wait staff just a little uncomfortable. Not that this would be the first time my conversation has made a wait staff uncomfortable, it probably wasn’t even the first time that week I’d accomplished that, but this topic is just a little more sensitive than some.
As I reminded Jim and Brigitte, they are living happily ever after. I, on the other hand, am trying to negotiate my way through the dating world at 47. So there are some things about my body in middle age I am just not putting out there! And when they questioned my ability to be honest and open with my readers I reminded them, as I have before, that those who have access to far more regular sex than us single folks do NOT get to judge us single folks! NO, they have each other. They don’t have to worry if one of them is going to call back the next day, nor do they have to plan their sexual positions around gravity and proper lighting. So yeah, there are some things we are just not going to talk about here people!
A young friend of mine was telling me recently that he had thought about working as a nude model at one point for an art class. The pay was good and he said he really would not have been uncomfortable with the idea. However, he said he didn’t do it because he wasn’t sure how he would feel about it in the future. Once it was done, he wouldn’t be able to take it back. He said now he was okay with his body but suppose some day he wasn’t!
I told him to go for it. If I had known when I was younger what would happen to my body after two decades and four children I would have a whole album of nude photos now. (Yes, I’m sure my children are grateful I did not). Now however, as my body declines, I have no real proof as to what it once was and no one else around anymore who actually witnessed it! Gone are the days of the concave stomach, the perfectly toned legs, and the ability to stay up all night long, for any purpose at all.
That’s okay really, I am actually pretty comfortable with my body now. No its not 25, and no it doesn’t look like any of those movie stars who are in their forties, but hey, I’m holding my own. I would never do anything that would be unhealthy for it, like Botox or cosmetic surgery, but you can be assured its going to get plenty of exercise and be deprived of cake on a regular basis. There are better looking bodies out there, but there are also worse ones. And mine has treated me well. It has brought four incredible children into the world, and it gets a lot of credit for that!
Of course every once it a while it likes to taunt me. Yes, Jim is correct, you get grey hair in places you never imagined. (Brace yourselves people). Sometimes it annoys me the way it aches for no reason, or gets tired out long before I’m ready to go home. Just to illustrate this blog, my body decided to be a smart ass this week and I woke up with a huge zit on the day I had to give tours at work. One of my girlfriends says pimples are our body’s way of saying we are still young on the inside. I say look, if we have to have grey hair and “laugh lines” then zits on top of that is just not fair! In the big picture though, I guess these are minor things I can live with.
There is however, one major worry I do have, ladies you will all understand. Jim’s concerns were about his growing prostate and waning energy but as a woman, my concerns are different. While still being able to keep up with my kids in their twenties would be nice, I have a more urgent need, keeping my breasts pointing horizontally. I am willing to spend whatever it costs, on whatever equipment is needed to keep the girls from going vertical on me. We all have our priorities. Mine may seem shallow but I don’t care. I know, my body is my temple. I know I am supposed to age gracefully. Well there is aging gracefully and there is WTF? So, I’m not going down without a fight on this one! I don’t want worshippers coming to the temple only because of its historical significance. If you know what I mean . . . .
Look for Karen and Jim again next month for the next installment in their continuing series on all the relationships in our lives in middle age.