Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Want to Be Betty White When I Grow Up

It has come to my attention and disappointment that I am not aging in the manner that I would have requested had I been given a choice in the matter. I am not embracing the lines that Mother Nature bitch-slapped onto my face.  I am not appreciating the trendy little glasses that I require to read the fine print so I can discern who is trying to rip me off,  and I especially am not loving the achy feet resulting from years of wearing trendy cute high heels.  That high heel issue is a big one as I am now caught in the dilemma of finding sensible shoes that still look trendy.  That, my friends, would take a true miracle.  (Truly if there is someone waiting to be canonized  but they are still  short one miracle, that might be the one to consider ie finding me some sassy shoes that don't kill my feet.)

I think there was a time, I was under the mistaken impression that I would age  ever so gradually and dare I say, gracefully. Not that I specifically recall dwelling on the subject of ageing when I was young.  Young people, I think look at old age as so out of their reach it isn't worth dwelling on.

My perspective, on any given age, changes as I have moved through it and have the advantage of looking  from a "hindsight" point of view.

When I was 38 years old,  Kiddo #1 left for college.  She got in her little Toyota, packed to the hilt with her dorm room prerequisites and off she went.  In my eyes she appeared  to me as a small child.  I could probably actually visualize the pony tails and bows that had long before disappeared.  I felt like a really old lady on that day. The enormity of the chasm between being 17 and 38 was  indescribable.

If I was feeling old at 38, you can pretty much imagine what I am feeling about 58.  To be fair, this is one of the topics that is HUGE on the "things I am conflicted about" list. 

I embrace ageing in others.  I love meeting, talking, getting to know, people that are older than I am. I had mentioned in an earlier post that every Wednesday morning I meet two women that I count as BFF's for coffee. Actually, that might be underselling it.  We meet for coffee, talk the morning away and usually impinge on lunch time.  One of the ladies is 85 and the other is 70.  (and while neither look their age, I don't believe they obsess about it!)  While it is true, that everyone has some interesting stories to be told about themselves. Yes,  EVERYONE has a story.  There are so many more stories for someone that has lived into their 80's or 90's. 

Just one example of that comes to mind. Several years ago I was having lunch in Denton, TX  with some gal pals and one of the women brought her mother along. It turned out that her mother was in town to take part in an exhibit over at TWU. Her mother was one of the  260  living members of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots  (WASP). Frankly, I could have spent days listening to her stories.  Her experience of being one of the first female fighter pilots during the second world war...absolutely riveting. (no pun intended)

NOTE:  If you aren't familiar with this group, it was a group of women pilots during World War II.  There were only 1074 women that made it through training.  (that is out of 25,000ish applications and 1830 that were accepted)  The museum that is dedicated to the WASP's is housed at the Texas Women's University in Denton.  Here is a link to the WASP Museum  if you are interested in reading a little more on the subject.

Really, it's not just older people that have unusual or exceptional histories, but people, in general, that have lived in periods of time that I can't conceptualize because I didn't live it.   I find them interesting and respect their points of view as their opinions were gleaned from life experiences and their unique place in the world.

HOWEVER....AGEING as it pertains to the number of years that you have lived is not the same thing as the number of years you LOOK like you have lived.  Two totally different sports. 
Being old is sort of, kind of,  ACCEPTABLE in our modern world. (This does come with some rules though...another post on another day.) but looking old is UNACCEPTABLE if we are to buy into all the marketing that tells us we must never, never, ever "let ourselves go".

Frankly, looking your age is now so abhorrent, that it is seemingly better to look "unusual" than it is to look your age.

The newer model

the newer model

So here is a pictorial presentation to show some of the fine and not so fine aspects of ageing in today's youth oriented culture.

If we were living in a Disney movie...this is how our world has progressed.....

Remember in Pocahontas, she went to her wise old Grandma that for whatever reason had come back as a tree. I am not sure how that came to be but seemingly Grandma Willow is back as a very well respected older member of the family.

Here is a picture of Pocahontas bringing her boyfriend, John Smith to meet Grandma.

In today's world, Grandma would have had to work out regularly, stayed fit and trim or had some work done so she would look like this.

Because, in today's world, if Grandma Willow didn't look young and vibrant....she would ultimately look like this

Here is my own pictorial of heading toward "the wood pile" of life.
Me as a 6 year old with my friend.
I am on the right, in case your wondering.

Here is a picture that was taken about 8 weeks ago, slightly more than 50 years after the picture of me and my my little friend.  As you may notice there are no longer cute little curls and there are some serious crows feet making their appearance.

Here is what I may look like in the future...who's to say.  It seems I have taken up smoking in my old age (seriously won't happen as the health nut in me would win that battle)  and I have let my hair go gray.  Surely, that can not happen either !!

Because, in today's world physical aging is not accepted, appreciated or even tolerated. I will work hard to stay fit and healthy.  I will try hard to exercise and eat right but ultimately, I will age.

Or perhaps, I will take Anna Nalick's advice.


It seems that there is an exception to this disdain for age in the form of Betty White.  Betty White is 89 and stays above the whole "you are totally too old" fray.  Yes, she has avoided the subtle jabs of "you aren't relative because you are older" and she can still be gainfully employed.  Statistically, that should not be the case.  She pretty much at 89 should be relegated to working at the Burger King or at the Walmart as a greeter.  AND what really sets her apart is she can be funny in an off color sort of way and still be funny...not creepy.  I dare say if most of our grandparents said they had a fling with George Clooney (even in jest) we would be covering our ears going  la la la la la la la  la.    When she said it we all laughed.

That is how I wanted to age.  I wanted to be Betty White.  I have 31 years to perfect it.  The clock is ticking.

The Good for the Day... A lot of people past a certain age have a lot to contribute

The Bad for the Day...The word Ma'am has taken on a new connotation.  It often is a slur.

The Weird for the Day....2 bank robbers, one in North Carolina and one in Kansas City, Mo. dressed up as old ladies to rob the bank.  When caught they were both young women.  Who tries to look old??? Other than bank robbers????


Nicky said...

I think your 6-yr old self was adorable and that you're absolutely lovely now!

Cheryl P. said...

You are an extremely kind person, Nicky. I am terribly jealous of the fact you can wear those cute shoes. Well..technically I can wear them, it would just be painful to walk.

Iluvbeingagrandpa said...

OK, so I don't aspire to grow up to be Betty White, but she is seriously laughing in the face of aging.....and we are certainly embracing her as she embarks on each year. Neat. We need more young-uns embracing the aging... Many of us have grown with her. Her positive attitude and knack of laughing at the obvious (albeit a little potty humor) makes it fun.

AND if I were you, I would not take up smoking as that is NOT a good look for ya. Your "hubby" might start coughing around second hand smoke....And as cute as you were at 6, I can imagine how the little boys were all eyeing you.

Bodaciousboomer said...

What a great way to start a Monday. Thanks for the laugh young one.

I know you've been struggling with trying to quit smoking. I'm I'm rooting for you big time.

But in the meantime, save up for IPL treatments. That laser can remove a lot of damage, believe me. It's not cheap and hurts like a bitch; but it's worth it.

BTW- I really like your new photo. I think you worry way too much.

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Michele, You are thinking of Jewell that is trying to quit smoking. I tried a cigarette once when I was young and naive and thought it was disgusting.

I might consider the IPL treatments down the road. So far my only complaint is the crowes feet at my eyes and a nasty wrinkle in my forehead. (totally from me scowling)

Cheeseboy said...

You are cracking me up with this stuff. So funny.

And Betty White was hot back in her heyday. Alright, she still kinda is.

Love the photoshop work. Nicely played.

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Fun post, especially like the picture of the future you!

I love Betty White, and just blogged about her new book (it's okay not stellar) -- her line about aging is great, which is that getting older is better than the alternative!

Cheryl P. said...

She is funny and just steals the show in whatever she is in. I had read your post and thought the same thing. I was hopeful she raunched it up a bit. When she is irreverant it comes off as hysterical.

She is right of course about the alternative to ageing still I don't want to look like hell before actually being eligible to go there.