Who’s afraid of getting older?

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Andrea ‘Bau’ Pinti

I have a birthday coming up in a couple of days.

Is this fact making me jump for joy screaming the silly word, “Yay!”?

Absolutely not.

It has me pelting out a blood curling “Noooooo!!!” followed by a round of expletives, so colorful, I have leprechauns lined up on my doorstep asking if the rainbow ends here.

My mind wanders as I recall how already, at the age of ten, I knew I would not be one of those women who were content to age gracefully.

I have Aunt Manuela to thank for that.

One summer, while visiting Spain, we were invited to her home for lunch.

When she opened the door to greet us, the only thing that stifled my gasp, was a hard pinch from my mother.

I was shocked to see the oldest, most wrinkled face I’d ever seen.

And it was scary. Really scary.

On our way home, I asked my mother how old Aunt Manuela was, and she replied “Oh, she’s only 65.”

Only 65?

For a ten year old, this was clearly an age when people should be mummified and placed in museums, in areas surrounded by thick, velvet ropes.

Visitors would have to pay an entrance fee to see something this old, this prehistoric; old enough to have witnessed dinosaurs roaming the earth.

This mentality continued, and at the age of fifteen, I thought anyone over 19 was ancient.
At the age of twenty, I thought anyone over 25 was over the hill.
At the age of 25, I thought anyone over 30 deserved government-funded health insurance.
At the age of 30, I thought anyone over 40 was decrepit and should start drafting up a will.
And now, well, lets just say I think anyone over 40 is looking a hell of a lot better than anyone over 50.

Yes, the witnessing of Aunt Manuela ensured I was equipped to fight aging every step of the way.

And that’s exactly what I’ve done since the age of ten.

I’ve slathered on lotions and potions to keep my skin moisturized, soft, and smooth.

I’ve applied eye creams, face creams, neck creams, breast creams, cellulite creams, lightening creams, spot removing creams, firming creams, and any other cream you can think of.

I’ve visited the dentist to make sure my gums are not receding and I don’t require gum surgery so new tissue can adhere to the teeth; thereby reducing the appearance of being “long in the tooth.”

I’ve dyed my hair religiously to camouflage the stray grays that are dead bent on making an appearance even though they’ve been told repeatedly they’re not welcome–ever.

I’ve looked at my face in a magnifying mirror every other day, searching for premature wrinkles.

I’ve recorded my voice on tape at different times, to see if I’m getting an “old lady voice.”

I’ve checked out my butt in the mirror, fearful that it may no longer be perky, and instead, sag like a deflated hot air balloon.

I’ve abstained from talking to men younger than 25 in public so as not to risk hearing the word, “Cougar!” shouted at me by someone in a moving car.

And I’ve monitored my neck diligently to make sure it’s not transforming into a jowl.

Now before you judge, let me just say you did not see Aunt Manuela at the age of ten.

I did.

I was the one who was scarred for life.

I’m the one who’s been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder for God knows how many years.

Me. Not you.

So don’t judge.

Because we can’t all be like those beautiful women featured on blogs like Advanced Style; those stylish divas who pull off red lipstick like they own it.

Some of us, ahem, were we to wear red lipstick, would look like middle-aged frumpsters playing make up whilst wearing old, stretched out Rolling Stones T-shirts and gray sweats.

Some of us have to worry that everything other than the size of our ass is thinning.

And so, I patiently wait for the Son to finish brushing his teeth so we can perform “the ritual.”

“Do I still have to participate, or have you reached the maturity level where you can do this on your own? Please tell me it’s the latter.”

“This is a two-person skit, you know that. Besides, need I remind you that carrying you for nine months is what gave me stretch lines and a belly flap? You owe me.”

“I’ve been paying off that debt since the day I learned to say the word ‘beautiful’.”

“And you’ll continue to do so until my taut and stretch line-free stomach returns.”

“In other words, till you die? Whatever. Lets get this over. But first, here’s a thought. Why doesn’t the Significant Other play my role this year?”

“Because I didn’t carry him in my belly for nine months. Chop, chop!”

“I think you should just bring the mirror back from exile. I’m too old for this crap.”

“The faster you say it, the faster you’ll be able to leave.”

“Hurry up and start then!”

“Handsome Son, Handsome Son, standing in the entry hall. Who’s the most beautiful mom of all?”

“You’re the most beautiful mom of all. Now go slather on some wrinkle cream.”

“Next year–same time, same place, babe.”

“Hopefully I’ll have moved out by then.”

I smile as I reach for the wrinkle cream.

This fight isn’t over yet.

Are you looking forward to another birthday or wishing the day takes longer to arrive?


65 thoughts on “Who’s afraid of getting older?

    1. Ariana, I heard that recently–where 40 is the new 30. Gosh I hope it’s true! If I’m honest, there are days when I feel twenty, and days when I feel 90. Maybe it’s time I look into taking energy inducing vitamins! :) I will surely check out that link you provided!

  1. When my daughter was 15 weeks old, I told her she should stay that age and I’d stay 28. Somehow, no matter how hard I tried, that didn’t pan out. I don’t look forward to my birthday anymore. I think that stopped when I turned 25 and my mom told me I was at the age where I should start using anti-wrinkle cream. What? 25? I’ve always looked younger than my age, and I really hope that continues. My grandfather is 90 and doesn’t look it at all. I hope I take after him.

    1. Kelly, with your beautiful complexion, I’m certain you take after your grandfather! I told my kids that no matter what, I would always say I’m 34; my favorite birthday. However, I can’t but wonder how much longer I can pull that off! :)

  2. I use to worry about getting older but Life is too short so I make the best of every single day and just not worry about it!!!

    1. I think that’s wise advise. Now if only I could adhere to it! :) Seriously though, you’re right. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff–wrinkles included.

  3. My cousin, Carmen, who is 75, says getting older beats the alternative. I’m with you, but I think I’m with her, too. So, Happy Birthday! Enjoying blowing out the candles. EVERY single one of them! :)

    1. Monica, I think I’m with cousin Carmen too, up to a point–I won’t mind getting older as long as I still have pep in my step! Do you think I’ll have pep in my step at 75? :) By the way, no candles on my cake. We don’t want the fire department to show up on our doorstep! hee hee!

    1. Shary, the effects of gravity are harsh. Some body parts are migrating south faster than others and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it but cry. That’s it. I’m hosting a pity party that the effects of gravity are placing me under duress! hee hee! :)

  4. When I was 18, my best friend (17) had a crush on this guy who was in his early twenties. He ended up “stolen” from her by a woman who was *gasp* 30, and neither of us could figure out, then, what a withered old crone of 30 had to offer a studly young man.

    Now every time I think of that I crack up, or at least snicker.

    Our perspective on age certainly changes as we achieve more of it.

    1. Beverly, you’re right–perspective does indeed change. Thank goodness for that, eh? Silly teenage girls! :) You have me giggling over this one!

  5. —Bella,
    I was obsesssssssssssed with all of the stuff before Kay…We even went to get Botox together. Don’t tell Mr. L. !!.
    After Kay, I feel none of that. It has vanished. I am ME. ME. Me.
    I just don’t give a damn about the superficiality anymore…..although I do care about lipstick, nice hair, and such!
    You are beautiful. Don’t waste your time on this shit! You are gorgeous, briliant, a great writer, and filled with passion & love.
    Have a great birthday being WHO YOU ARE…NOt who you wish you were..
    love Love Love xxxxxxxxxx
    Are we on facebook? I need your address to send a B-card!

    1. Kim, you are the sweetest! Love you, lady! Thank you for your kind words! You’re my hero and I want to be just like you! Don’t hate me, but I’m not on Facebook. The other day the Daughter almost convinced me to get Facebook for this blog but I caved and didn’t do it. But you can click on the contact button and email me! :)

  6. Like Bev, it’s the gravity that bugs me. I buy good bras (yes I do) free weight training, walk a lot, slather the lotions all over ( but have been doing that since was a kid…. but, time will march on regardless. I love who I am, which you know isn’t always the case for us girls. We go through rough patches, dips and dives, and sometimes wreck, so being able to say that I attribute to the badges of honor I earned along the way. It is really on perspective, no? I saw that photos of you… you’ve still got it woman. Besides you have a wicked wit and can still snap the heads…have a good one.

    1. Brenda, hermana, you are dulce como la miel. Gracias! I wrote this post, part kidding, part serious, but I agree wtih you and Beverly–it’s all a matter of perspective. Most days I wake up and sing, “I am beautiful!” but whenever my birthday rolls around, I’m thrown for a loop and can’t help but wonder, how much older do I look? Do you really think I’ve still got it? Hallelujah! I’ve still got it! hee hee! Thank you for your kind words!

  7. I’m not really afraid of getting older, I’m too much busy enjoying it!. It’s not so bad if you think about the alternative option! ;DD
    I’ve read a phrase that made me laugh for a while: ‘I’m not getting older, I’m becoming vintage!’ , and I wish you enjoy it and laugh for a while!!

    1. Mrs. Allnut, I’m vintage! I love, love it! We should have that printed on cards to hand out to people when and if we have parties! hee hee! I will indeed take your advice and enjoy and laugh to my heart’s content this year! Gracias! Besos!

  8. Oh Gawd, I hear you on this! I do NOT like birthdays. And the funny thing is, I totally respect the older and wiser thing. I DO like being wiser and some of me likes being older…but I don’t want to CONTINUE to get older. I want to look like a 30 year old, with the wisdom of a 70 year old. This was a great post, thanks!
    Thinking in My Head

    1. Michael Ann, hello and welcome! I’m delighted you liked the post! I too want to look like I’m in my thirties but with the wisdom of someone in their seventies! Wouldn’t that be the perfect combination? Brilliant! Now if we could only make it come true! :)

  9. My mom has never colored her hair. She now 80% more salt than pepper, but she’s cool about it. It’s her science experiment. Not Me! I’m gunna be the bald lady who colored her hair right off her head. If you hear of a good sale on a bottle of Age-Be-Gone or any substitute-like product, be a dear and tell me. And please speak loudly. ha!

    1. Lori, then we’ll be two little old ladies who’ve colored their hair right off their heads! There’s nothing that depresses me more than to see those pesky grays making an appearance. Eek! Will definitely be on the prowl for Age-Be-Gone! :)

  10. Bella, when is your birthday? I turn the speed limit on the 22nd. Not looking forward to it! My grandfather’s face looked like a closed accordion so I don’t have a chance in hell saving myself from wrinkles. I still buy the creams and lather them on like cake frosting, to no avail!

    1. Annie, my birthday is on Saturday! Our birthdays are so close together! :) Keep slathering on the face creams, Annie! Sooner or later they have to work! hee hee! :)

  11. I don’t mind the concept of getting older in terms of years. What I do mind is slowly watching my body change with age. That’s depressing!

    1. Leah, how right you are, friend. I look at my body and can’t help but think what it was like ten years ago! Or before pregnancy! But, what’s a woman to do, right?

  12. My second son just turned 30 and I saw that one of his sister’s put on Facebook that 30 was the new 6. My reply? If it is he wants his pale blue t-shirt back! Great to have you back from holidays by the way Bella, it just wasn’t the same without you! This has been the Summer of teeth and computer problems (groan).

    1. Elizabeth, it’s good to be back since I can now comment more avidly since I have my DSL back! Please tell me you’ve solved your teeth issues! I thought you took care of the last one months ago! I remember commenting on the post! Oh no! :( Thank you for the warm welcome, lady. It is much appreciated! I shall be by your place regularly! :)

  13. ROFLOL! Umm… Thanks for making me pee in my pants. Now I gotta go to the bathroom. Please excuse me, Beautiful Mom, Handsome Son. ;-)

    1. You and me both, woman! But what if the final outcome isn’t wine and instead, fancy vinegar? Do you really want to take that chance? hee hee! I’m sure YOU will age like very expensive, fine wine, Rowena! :)

    1. Jann, thank you for your well wishes! Si, every year the Son has to go through the ritual. At this point, he knows it’s easier to give in than to buck horns with me. Plus did I mention he’s just the greatest son in the world? :)

  14. Happy happy birthday in advance to you, you beautiful woman and may you always win the title of ‘ Most beautiful mom ‘ as coerced as it was ;)
    As for ageing well somedays there’s no one prettier than me and on other days there’s no one quite ageing as fast as me and those days sorta scare me :(
    My only wish though has always been to age gracefully ..lets hope so !

  15. Priya, something tells me you’ll be one of the lucky ones–the ones that age oh so gracefully! :) Thank you for your well wishes, friend. They mean a lot to me! And may you be right–may I always be the most beautiful mom! I’ll take the title any way I have to! hee hee!

    1. Debbie, I’m delighted you like the post! I think I’m starting to believe what you ladies are telling me–getting older is better than the alternative! hee hee! Now why didn’t I think of it that way before? :)

  16. Wonderful post. And no, I’m not afraid of aging, I’m just afraid of those changes that might make me want to throw a hissy fit and let loose a long string of g*d d*m expletives when I can’t have my way. Things that will rein me in, like rickety joints that make wandering the far reaches of the planet more difficult and so on and so on…

    1. Cathy, how right you are, my friend. It’s often the age-related circumstances that really do is in. Just this summer my mom, who’s 77 was saying to me, “Before old age, I could climb a mountain top. Now with this arthritis, I’m lucky if I can climb the stairs!” It’s scary that this time will also come for the rest of us. :( But in the meantime, we can have fun! :)

  17. You are pure and glowing spirit and who can say that’s anything but YOUNG and beautiful!?! Happy Birthday, dear Bella! May it be the start of your best year yet! p.s. and thanks for the good laugh!:)

    1. Brynne, you’re welcome, you sweet girl. I will cherish your words forever! Heck, I think I’ll have my aunt embroidery them for me so I can make a wall hanger! I’m so glad I have wise and kind friend like you! Thank you! :)

  18. I don’t get that excited about birthdays, either! I am sorry that you were traumatized, but you sure made me guffaw, even if that isn’t very ladylike!

    1. Tina, hello and welcome! Guffaws are very well received on this blog! As a matter of fact, they’re the highest compliment any reader can pay me! So thank you!

  19. Bella, do you REALLY abstain from talking to younger men in public? haha.

    I love birthdays because I get to celebrate them MY way and be silly. But I don’t like getting older. I mean, I love the “getting wiser” part, I just don’t like the judgment and expectations that come with aging.

    1. Laura, you’re so wise for your young age. Love that about you! And the best part? You’re still so much fun! To answer your question, I get very skittish about talking to younger men on the street. The majority of the time I’m safe cause they’re in numbers, as in the Son’s friends, but other times, I’m almost always wondering if someone will shout out, “Cougar!” hee hee! :)

  20. Oh, my birthday depressed me this year. I always meant to have DONE something by this point, and I think that every year. I can list off all the things that I’ve actually accomplished, but to no avail. It’s so negative of me, but seeing, ya know, Project Runway or something else with ridiculously young and talented people just makes me so . . . glum.

    Isn’t that sad? Like I’m only now figuring out that I’ve missed out on becoming a child prodigy.

    PS: I need an awesome son like yours:)

    1. Jayca, the Son thanks you. :) My advice to you, stop watching Proyect Runway! hee hee! I’m certain you’ve accomplished more than your fair share of wonderful things. Your blog, for instance! Your coffee photos take my breath away! If life has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t be hard on ourselves. :)

  21. I completely understand! I’m only 27, yet I am freaking out that I am 2.5 years away from 30, and that my parents are almost 60 (though I hardly consider them old). My grandfather is 91, and he hardly acts old and feeble as most 91 year olds would. I don’t look at him as old either. I say, you are as old as you feel. Some days I feel like I’m 80, others I feel like I’m 5. It’s all in how you view yourself. At least that’s what I think!

    1. Kirstin Marie, I like the way you think, girl! You are as old as you feel! Like you, there are days I feel like a child, and others I feel like I’m one day away from dying. I take care to laugh, as much as I can, every day. I believe a good sense of humor keeps one young! :)

  22. LOL Bella, this was hilarious as usual. I’m not really afraid to get old – but I must admit I’m not looking forward to it. I mean people tell me all the time I look young for my age. They see my high school daughter and can’t believe she’s my daughter. But I have gray speckles over the front of my hair- yeah, I’ve been too busy to dye my hair. But aside from the gray I know I look good. So I don’t stress about it – well, too much. But I also don’t understand it…no matter how much I dye the gray comes back- sometimes with a vengence. What did I ever do to it. I don’t understand why it’s out to get me.

    I’ve given you a blog award @

    1. Dawn, first of all, thank you, thank you for the blog award! I’m tickled pink! Second, I think you and I need to start a club. The “What did we ever do to deserver gray hair” club! :) My goodness, it’s just evil, pure evil, I tell you! Kudos to you for looking younger than your age! That must mean you’re living right and laughing plenty! Good for you! :)

  23. Birthday? It’s the day when my parents call me or text me to congratulate me, when my boyfriend wishes me a happy birthday, and when a bunch of people on Facebook say “happy birthday”. Age doesn’t bother me. As for looking old(er), I’ll be 35 in November and people still mistake me for a kid (a boy, quite often). If I use make-up, or elegant clothes of adult women, i look like a kid with some make-up and in mommy’s clothes. I guess, when i get older, I’ll look like a kid with wrinkles, which amuses me, if anything.

    Oh, and happy birthday!

    1. Ivana, I love the visual you’ve painted! “A kid with wrinkles…” I’m still chuckling over this one! Lucky you to have such a youthful appearance! :)

  24. It’s not so much the getting older part I’m afraid of… it’s more like I feel I’m running out of time. Crazy, I know, because I’m just in my early twenties now, but even that is a problem, because I’m already in my second career (one just wasn’t enough) and still have a few more careers I would like to try out. Just to give you an example here, you know…
    Or travelling. Can someone possibly travel THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD? I mean… and have a life, a job, family etc. …? In one lifetime? I’m afraid someone could say no.
    See! I’m totally running out of time!

    1. Sabrina, I love the energy in your comment! You’ve convinced me I’m running out of time! I mean, I should be doubly worried given I passed my twenties a long time ago! hee hee! I like that you’re trying out more than one career! Good for you! Don’t stop till you find a perfect fit, I say. And that applies to most things in life! :)

    1. Totsy girl, happy bithday! Mine is tomorrow, so just one day following yours! We Leo chicks rule! So happy to hear better times are near! You promise? :)

  25. Happy Belated Birthday, Bella! Hope you had a wonderful day. :)

    I don’t worry as much about growing old as much as I do about dying! LOL. If I didn’t have children I don’t think I’d even worry much about that. But that said, like you I am diligent about applying quality eye cream and moisturize and all that stuff to prevent premature aging. Women are definitely better “preserved” these days though don’t you think? (generally speaking). But I think it’s all in the attitude — you’re lucky, you’re still a youngster, really AND best of all you are obviously young at heart!

    1. Joy, thank you for being such a sweetheart! You know, when my children were underage, all I would wish for was that nothing would happen to me before they reached adulthood. I think this fear comes with the territory of being a mom. I would definitely agree that women are better preserved. Thankfully we have the tools to keep us looking beautiful and we most definitely have the discipline and zeal to stay that way. That said, you’re so right–attitude does influence the age you project. A happy, good humored attitude, I dare say, would allow you to appear years younger than you really are! :)

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