I find myself noticing youth. I must have been like them at one time. I can safely say I never appreciated just how beautiful youth really is. I wasn’t a beauty, but just as everyone, I wasn’t without attributes. My generation had much less issues with weight and although my skin would never have been considered the stuff of peaches and cream, it wasn’t the stuff of Proactive either. It certainly was bolstered by all the fine molecules of rightly placed fat, its tensile beauty tight across bones and tendons, when I was young. I was always active, never broke a bone, and for the most part didn’t overdue the carbonated beverages. I never used the pill and chose not replace any hormones when my body decided it was time to stop making them. The first alcohol I ever had was when it was legal to do so and we’ll pretend that I am not admitting there was once one funny cigarette I tried to smoke, which was the only thing I ever smoked with the exception of the few times I have taken a puff from a cigar. I defiantly didn’t inhale in either instance and most all of this happened well into my 30’s. I was taught and then believed and then practiced the idea that sex was meant for a committed relationship and let’s just say, I take my commitments seriously.

If my genetics are any indication, my Mother’s are pretty wonderful, my Dad’s aren’t bad either, despite his dying young, if you consider that his entire youthful history was as far opposed from the description of mine above as one might get.

So with all that ‘doing the right things’ when I look in the mirror, I’m a younger 50 something then my momma was at my age, but there’s no way around it, I am no longer young and I don’t look like I am.

I’m going to talk about my dry-prone-to-wrinkle face another day and save the teeth lecture to about third in this series, and we will get around to hair, but today it’s all about from the neck down.

What are my options, is what I want to think about.

I guess the first is that I could go get some plastic surgery. I am not sure what they could do in this regard. While people are wanting all kinds of fat sucked out, I wish I had fat back into places it seems to be leaving. I never had one of those cute bubble butts, I certainly never had a J-lo, but I might could have always done with a little lift and addition there.

Okay, no.

Quite honestly, I can’t say I really want something I never had, a Jo lo Butt just doesn’t scream Janet, although if less is what I had in the butt department, it is certainly now even less than it used to be and what is there is rapidly become the top part of my legs. What I could really use is for someone to just make my skin all over my body not look so … unsupported. Especially on my hands. My hands, never pretty, couldn’t even be considered full of character now. They are just old looking. They do speak of farm life these last 5 years. But let me just say, I am glad to have them and glad they are still finding things to do in addition to emphasizing my words.

Okay, so plastic surgery…out, until and upon the time they can find a way to slide an entire sheet of supple underpinning beneath my every inch of my leathery skin.

The second option might be that I do the best I can to keep myself in shape and make the most of what I have. Largely, I would just watch as things progress the way they are bound, try to remember that sucking my tummy in would help the look of things and straighter shoulders will help too, as well as mitigating the progression of some widow’s hump that is probably lurking somewhere at the top of my shoulder blades. I can head out today to buy me some of those jeans that do all kinds of magic. Clothes can make you look worse or not and if Silent Bob and I are way past the do-these-make-my-butt-look-bigger conversation, I do know I can rely on that appreciative little gleam when something does make me look, well, you know, attractive. I can definitely pass on the shoeware-guaranteed-to-make-everything-from-4-foot-down-firmer, I got acquaintances that bought into those and well.. yeah… don’t believe everything your told.

This is not very satisfying.

I am going to confess, I wish there were other options. I REALLY wish there were other options. I don’t want to look old. I’m definitely struggling and I don’t think I am alone. The funny thing is I don’t mind so much BEING old, because what’s on the inside of me, over fifty plus years, has ironed out a lot of old kinks, strange wiring, and faulty thinking. I can give you a game if we are on the tennis court and I can help you till your garden. I can push a lawnmower across your lawn and if we all decide to go dancing afterwards, I’ll keep up with you on the dance floor. Despite my fatless skin, I’m pretty comfortable with who I am in it, enough so that I can listen to you, even if we disagree, and honestly consider your opinion. I am more patient, I instantly know bullcrap when I hear it but I won’t hold it against you if you admit it, and my heart’s the biggest it has ever been.

I can pray for people I detest.

OK, I sometimes have trouble with that still.

(Obviously I have some work left to do on a couple of fronts.)

If I wondered at the mystery of God before, I certainly marvel at His creation now, in the form of bodies, my body and those around me, even the ones who are sick. So here’s what I’m thinking. I am going to stand tall and walk confident and think earthy and pretty (I already mentioned I never was in the physical beauty category) and the next time you see me or maybe even someone old, consider that beauty, sex appeal, attractiveness, is very much in the eye of the beholder and take a minute to look beyond an increasingly sagging body to what resides inside. You just might be surprised and in the case of people who have been working on the inside, despite what’s happening on the outside, the richer for it.

One last thing – Young girls out there: eat well, moisturize/wear sunblock, and take notice of who God meant you to be.

Next week: Am I Beautiful Part 2 of 4: My Hair