Turning 40 has been interesting and surreal. At 40, you’re in this strange place where your mind believes you’re still in your late 20 – early 30, but your body says, “Um… nope.” But it’s not a sudden denial of fantasy. No, no, it has more of a subtle creeping approach that slowly draws your attention towards it. Like a well loved car.
The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible. ~ Judith Regan
Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart. ~ Caryn Leschen
You’re driving along, sun is shining down on your pretty red car. You haven’t noticed your car in a long while, as it’s all become automated; get in, get to work, get in, get home. But the car, the paint, body and soul of this vessel hasn’t caught your eye in many moons; that is, until this sunny day.
The sun hits the paint just right, and you’ve noticed that the shine has really started to weather and fade. “That’s okay.” you say to yourself, “she’s been well loved.” You start taking inventory, as you sit in traffic for longer than desired. The fabric on the seats have thinned, thread and weave showing it’s still holding together. The dash and the doors, calloused in area where it’s provided the most support for hands. The windshield, and windows, a bit blurry from road f.o.d., but you can still see well enough to get you to and fro. Her engine sings wonderfully, even in moments of hiccups, burps, stutters. The frame, body and wheels may creak, stick, and resist movement, but she always finds a way to venture on. She may be aging, but she’s still a beaut. She’s got spunk and desire to continue escorting you and your kin, even if her age is showing. You don’t fully notice these changes, because you’ve grown old with her.
I was stuck in traffic this evening; bad, heavy traffic. It was raining in true Washington State fashion, which caused major back-ups and long periods of being at a stand still for no other reason than it’s wet out. In those moments where traffic paused, I realized that my body is my vessel.
I know that this should be obvious, and it probably is for most. However, I’ve been somewhat disconnected from my physical body my whole life. I’ve never paused long enough to practice mindfulness and truly connect with my skin, bone, and sinew. I only learned the art about a year ago. I used this dark, dreary day to connect within. I began to take inventory of “me”. I never realized that when you hit 40, your warranty really does expire and parts start changing in rapid pace.
My eyes, as I have aged, have gotten much worse; much like the windshield on a well traveled car. I can still see, with assistance of glasses. But, age has changed them.
My hair has totally thinned out. It seems with the more silver strands that have staked claim to my temples, the thinner my hair is. It’s much like the well used fabric of the seats in the aging car. My threads are still there, just not as thick.
My hands are soft, but calloused in areas where I’ve used them well over the years; painting, typing, etc. Much like the interior of the doors and dash. They’re still viable and supportive, but well used and worn just right.
My body, I will admit I haven’t taken great care of it. It’s aging like the wheels on the car above. I creak. I groan. My knees and ankles resist movement. But, alas, I’m still able to move towards the desired destination.
I’ve taken stock in my physical, emotional, and mental changes. Age has affected me, all for the better. I may be at the point in life where my mind is young, but my body gently reminds me that it’s surpassed roller skating with ease, taking stairs two at a time, or dancing until early dawn. But we’re an old couple now, connected at the hip. I accept my aging process. I’ve tuned my dial, and turned up the vibration and will remain grateful that I’ve had the chance to connect with this body of mine; well before my check engine light turns on.