Let me just say at the outset here that I much prefer the process of aging to the alternative. While watching my feet sprout bunions and my legs grow varicose veins aren't the greatest things in the world, it beats moving into a wooden box with an address six feet under.
For the most part, I like where I am now in life -- possibly even more than at any point previous. As an elder stateswoman of The Huffington Post newsroom, I'm treated with respect for my accumulated knowledge and experience -- and even occasionally invited out for drinks with the 20-somethings after work. I'm happily married, have raised two thus-far pretty well-adjusted kids, and have enjoyed a life free of serious illness. I'm blessed, lucky or whatever label you want to slap on me.
But don't kid yourself: Aging is a bitch who, in the end, wins -- no matter how hard you fight back. Think about it: Have you ever seen a 75-year-old woman with a facelift who didn't look like a 75-year-old woman with a facelift?
As a result of having been born with good genes and a lifelong disinterest in eating animals, I don't look my age. Yes, that makes me happy. (So shoot me along with the rest of Club Vanity because we understand that we live, work and play in a world where youth stars.) But not looking 62 doesn't make my feet howl any less when I try on heels. And it doesn't stop the pounds from creeping on when I turn my back. And it doesn't stop me from wishing I could go to sleep every night at 10 p.m. and actually stay asleep. All that is the aging process -- and stuff that you just grow accustomed to living with.
But what I really don't like about aging is this: I'm running out of time and I know it. It's the awareness that there are places -- a lot of them actually -- that I still want to see or see again. It's places where I want to live, languages I want to learn, books I want to read, conversations I want to have.
For the record, I find it exceedingly annoying when people pretend that we can all just drop our responsibilities and go chase a dream. Most of us can't, won't and don't. And as a result, while we are busy taking care of business, we run out of time. For me, that's the scariest part of aging: leaving life's business unfinished.
When my Aunt Sophie, 93, learned that she had colo-rectal cancer, she grabbed a pen and paper and began to make a list. It was a bucket list with a sense of urgency instead of the kind that are just wishful thinking lists. She wanted to touch the Western Wall in Jerusalem one more time (she went), read Dostoevsky again (her book club obliged her) and she wanted to meet my soon-to-be-adopted from China daughter. She missed the last by four months. That's the real devil in aging for you: Simply running out of time.
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