Friday, January 25, 2008


You stare in the mirror and confront the laugh lines that stay put when life's no longer a laughing matter. Or you zip up a pair of jeans, tugging a bit too hard over the soft, rounded belly that refuses to respond to sit-ups, crunches, or diets.

The lines on your chest from too much sun conjure up horror images of leather-skinned ladies from Miami Beach. Or the lines circling your neck like an umbilical chord make you want to strangle yourself.

It's a challenge to accept these physical badges of experience and wisdom and not see them as flashing neon signs that scream out, "You ain't no spring chicken anymore!"

These moments when you see yet another sign of aging have been dubbed by some as "age jumps." Just when you've settled down and accepted whatever the pull of gravity, the ravages of a not-so-healthy lifestyle and/or the insults hurled by Father Time, there's yet another one of the "age jumps" that makes you want to don a paper bag over your head and tear ass to the nearest cosmetic surgeon.

It doesn't matter that you've vowed to age with grace. That was some Ernest Hemingway deal about "grace under pressure." What the hell did he know? During an "age jump," you feel ugly and old and, most of all, you begin to feel invisible.

So, how can you survive? Here are a few suggestions. Mind you, I recommend that you take my advice because I'm not using it:
  • Grieve for the loss of your youth. But not for too long.
  • Complain a little. Your friends are bound to tell you that you look great.
  • Focus of what you CAN do make yourself look and feel better.
  • Find older women who look terrific. Hold them as role models.
  • Take a page from Al Franken's "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley" bit on Saturday Night Live. Stand in front of a mirror and, as often as necessary, repeat the following: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, I'm beautiful enough and, doggone it, people like me and I like myself."

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