For the last few years I’ve been trying to do what every aging person does, stay healthy, stay as fit as possible. It’s the vanitything or the I can’t believe I’m actually getting older thing. Whatever it is, I do it and I’m putting up the good fight—at least what my pocketbook will allow—the right creams, hats, exercises, and walking. That’s my big thing, walking. Every morning I walk three miles and when the tide permits, I do my walking on the beach. I’ve found that the ocean breeze sort of keeps the sweat from puddling in certain parts of my body. And besides, you can’t beat the view. (Young Marines running and exercising) No, no, it’s the ocean—really—it’s the ocean.
But I digress; a few days ago while walking (and I do so at a pretty good clip) I somehow lost my keys. I always place my keys in the top part of my swimsuit. (I wear a swimsuit so I can wade into the water if I want.) Now, I’m thinking that this part of my swimsuit is a secure place since I have no pockets. One would think so, right? How could they possibly fall out of there? But this particular day I did some bending and stooping to retrieve beach glass and since I walk at a fast pace and don’t want to break my stride, I bend quickly and continue on my way. That’s what must have happened. I bent, they fell out. Five years ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Ah well, all the walking in the world is not going to make that part of my body what it used to be. Everything is heading south. I guess I am a true southerner now.
All the face lifts, breast implants, enhancements and plastic surgery is not going to make anyone any younger. We just look pinched and pulled and foolish.
We all age. Face it. Embrace it. With women it seems everything drops. We loose the tightness and elasticity of our skin, our hips broaden, and some of us get mustaches. YUCK. But what about the men? They don’t get off scot-free, though they may think they age better than women, it’s really not true. Older men lose their butts, I mean, it disappears completely. And after fifty-five the belly drops leaving them to look somewhere between six and eight months pregnant. And oh yes, they get boobs. All old men have man boobs. If you think about it, men turn into women as they age. That’s just the way it is.
But there is a beauty in all of this. A higher plane, if you will. It’s the difference between looking at someone whom you did not find particularly attractive at one time and then having gotten to know them for the fine person they are, realizing that the curves of their lips are beautiful, the way they hold their hands exhibits grace and strength, and the way they laugh is captivating. There is so much more to each of us than just our appearance. There is so much more to life than what we see.
I remember the first time I looked at my father and realized he was aging. Suddenly, and shockingly, I felt the sting of mortality and acknowledged that he was not indestructible. The feeling was as if my insides had been swept away, that all I held so tightly had vanished.
Realizing that you can’t keep things the same, or make someone stay, or mend the damaged and broken—that all you can offer is you, your truth, makes me want to be the best person I can be and that has very little to do with whether or not the keys fall out of my swimsuit top.
This is what time does to us, makes us look beyond the present, appreciate the past and embrace the future. That outward stuff doesn’t mean a thing. We are so much more than that.
Back to the keys. After a couple of hours of hunting and meeting some really good people who offered to help look, I phoned the police—a good Samaritan had turned them in. Hallelujah! God loves me! Lesson learned! Oh, the keys will still be “nestled at home,” however, I’ve sewn a tether into the top of my swimsuit and the keys will be tied into place from now on.