Geri-Antics: The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth

Published 9:08 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

So Help Me — Gawd!

Today’s revelation is for all ages. I am about to share the not-so-secret truths about aging.

For the twenty and thirty somethings, this information will help to explain changes you’ve already observed in your aging parents and grandparents. Although it doesn’t matter one iota to you now, all I ask is that you file it away in the recesses of your mind for the day when you too begin to notice the subtle signs that you’re no longer a spring chicken. At that time, I shall likely be on the other side, but I’d appreciate it if you’d give me credit for saying ‘I told you so’.

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You forty and fifty-somethings out there are already noticing a few of these burgeoning attributes, such as a little graying of the crown and temples and perhaps an extra chin or two.

Guys, have you had to add a notch to your belt? Does all the beer you drank in college seem to have accumulated just above that belt? Have years of excess caused your innie belly button to poke out of your vintage Vote for Pedro t-shirt like a woman in her third trimester?
Ladies, have you begun to face the fact that you are smack dab middle-aged? Well, buckle your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride from here on out.

Perhaps from a financial standpoint you’ve done everything just right and have squirreled away beaucoup bucks. You think, ‘Ah, I’m rolling in the dough’ or ‘I married well. I can fix anything that begins to sag or lose it’s youthful appearance.’

Well, think again, honey. You can nip and tuck all you like, but unless you consider it acceptable to have your eyebrows in your hairline, the time will come when the plastic surgeon, (much as he’s enjoyed trips to the Caymans at your expense), will be forced to admit, “There’s nothing left for me to work with.”

The unvarnished truth is, no matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, or the depth of your gene pool, you can’t get out of this life unscathed.

Decades of summers spent at the beach and poolside, years of hard labor, or simply for no reason at all your hands will become withered, calloused, and covered with age spots and senile purpura (those lovely ‘I don’t remember hitting anything’ purple splotches).

Fact is, Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

Perhaps the most noticeable sign of aging comes when your hair loses its pigmentation and turns some shade of gray, silver or white. But did you know that while you’re waiting to see how quickly the transformation will take place, your hair is relocating from one body part to another?

For men, hair begins to creep from where it thrived and fell in your eyes during the Beatles craze to the back of the head. It then congregates into one long, frail, strand that you may attempt to wrap around the resulting bald spot for as long as you can still reach it.
But take heart, fellas — you haven’t lost your ability to grow hair. It will reappear more densely and often in a more spectacular way from new locations — your ears and nose.

I conjecture that the purpose of this migration could be similar to a cat’s whiskers. The whiskers help a cat feel its way around at night and navigate blinds spots. You likely can’t see as well as you did when you were younger, so perhaps this is Mother Nature’s gift to help you find the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

In case I neglected to mention–nocturnal calls of nature are going to be much more frequent now. Good thing seniors don’t sleep much anyway.
Girls, do yourself a favor and spend a few bucks on a lighted magnifying mirror. You know — the kind with the expandable accordion arm that bolts to the wall and allows you to pull it so close to your face that you can also check that you’re still breathing. In full disclosure, that won’t help you apply eyeliner to all the new wrinkles and creases of your eyelids because once you take your reading glasses off you can’t see anyway.. It might, however, keep you from looking as though you had a preschooler draw it on with a jumbo Crayola.

We girls usually avoid the ear and nose whiskers with which the men are grappling. It’s the part in our hair that once required thinning shears to tame our thick mane that begins to look like the Red Sea. Moses would be proud. And while our not-so-pretty-in-pink scalp shines through the transparent silver tresses, the missing hair is silently and mysteriously making its way to our chin area.

You may have noticed the female hair migration as early as your forties and fifties due to a hormonal shift from the reproductive years to ‘Is it hot in here?’ For a time you can still pluck the few stray hairs with tweezers.

But sadly, by your sixties you will disregard the old myth that shaving causes hair to grow back darker and heavier. Shaving your face will become a regular part of your morning routine.

Just be aware that you may occasionally miss a stray hair. If that stray hides in an inconspicuous spot such as below the chin line or on the jaw line out of your peripheral vision, it can go unnoticed and grow to unfathomable lengths.

Always carry emergency tweezers in your evening bag. Strays tend to manifest themselves at the most inopportune time, such as during a candlelight dinner with someone special.

You coyly put a finger under your chin to demonstrate that you’re listening intently to what he’s saying and you feel the errant curl. If you’re not prepared for such a crisis, you’ll find yourself smuggling a steak knife from the table into the ladies room where an unfortunate accident is likely to occur.

I was so excited to think that leg hair stopped growing when chin hair made an appearance. Ah but alas, that was merely an illusion. Lack of pigmentation simply makes the soft downy white hair invisible to the aging eye.

The illusion revealed itself to me one day while sitting at a stop light in traffic. I was wearing shorts and the sun was beaming through the window onto my legs. It was then that I discovered the urgent need for a good weed-whacking which of course was untimely.

I was headed to a picnic with some old friends who were just in town for the afternoon. My hopes that they wouldn’t notice were dashed when one of them removed his sunglasses to have a look at what he probably thought was a stray kitten who’d brushed up against him.

Most of us have given up on makeup during the pandemic since most of our face has been covered with a mask. I’m pleased to inform you that it’s high-time to eliminate many of the products in your makeup bag once and for all.

Although you may be desperate to restore the youthful apple glow to your cheeks, just toss the blush and bronzer unless you want to look like the Sahara Desert after a sandstorm.

And while we’re on the subject–no matter the manufacturer’s claims, all lipstick will find its way to your nostrils via the tributaries that have formed around your mouth. No amount of lipliner will stop it from its appointed route.

The reason most seniors go to bed at sundown and rise at dawn is so that we can mosey into the dressing area and begin the process of wrangling. You see, once you reach a certain age, no matter your girth, no matter your eating habits, no matter your level of activity and exercise, there will be loose skin that must be corralled.

First up is the inevitable turkey neck. If there’s a breeze wafting through an open window, that sucker could start to wobble and only an elasticized turtle neck will keep it from slapping your face and chest.

If you live in a warm climate year ‘round, it could get too toasty for a turtleneck, so think sheer scarf; but tie it tightly as having both the neck and the scarf blowing in the breeze just isn’t a good look..

I don’t want to get too personal so for areas of untamed flesh between the chest and knees, depending on the quantity of collagen-starved flesh with which you have been afflicted, only Lycra in some form is a viable solution. Ladies know what I’m talking about. It’s a wonderful invention called Spanx.

Gentlemen, just head over to the sporting goods department and purchase a waist cincher–puhleeze. Yes, its intended purpose is to melt away cellulite during a brisk workout, but even if you spend most days sitting on the couch, the perspiration you’ll generate going to the refrigerator will perpetuate a modicum of weight loss.

By now, I envision every senior nodding in agreement.

I hope that I haven’t depressed those of you who have yet to embark on what society jokingly refers to as The Golden Years.
Trust me, there are some pretty wonderful trade-offs for getting older along with reasons to anticipate the precipice between midlife and death.

I’m merely here today to give you a heads-up so you won’t be shocked.

You’ve eagerly anticipated every decade thus far. You looked forward to being 16 so you could drive. You looked forward to 21 so you could drink. You looked forward to your 30’s to launch a career and family. During your 30’s and 40’s, you dreamed of the day you could retire. And now you know the rest of the story.

Seniors, temper my prognostications with the thoughts of all the things that you thought of as punishments when you were a kid. Once you reach your ‘Golden Years’ you can take naps anytime, anywhere. You love it when you get sent to your room. Parents used to tell you to clean your plate. Now, you can have seconds and thirds because you’re the boss of you.

If you had children, you may now have grandchildren and perhaps even great-grandchildren. They’re your reward for surviving all the stuff your kids put you through.

You can fill the grands full of sugar and junk food that they aren’t allowed at home and be a hero.

You can say ‘yes’ every time and spoil them rotten. Then you can send them home to their parents, knowing that revenge is indeed sweet.
Go with the flow. There’s not much you can do about the ravages of time anyway. And besides, as a wise man once told me — it beats having a groundhog for a mailman!

Till next time…

Anne C. Carmichael, Author & Freelance Journalist