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Growing Old Gracefully?

My neighbor across the street is having a sort of midlife crisis. He had a heart attack a few years ago. He tries to flirt with me, tells me I am gorgeous. I ask him how he is doing. He says he does not get enough "lovin'". This makes me uncomfortable, to know he fantasizes about me. I see him in the mornings, strapping on his bike helmet, his 60 year old body encased in bike shorts intended for a man half his age. His poor wife tries to keep up with him for a bit. She knows. He wants to look good for, have sex with, younger women. I would see her pitiful attempts to bike by herself, while he was off with his morning coffee group cronies, the loneliness and futility of what she is attempting to do so painful to look at, her stoic commitment worse. She thought everything was fine, she could finally let it go, he was fat, she was fat, they were gray, they loved each other. By attempting to shape up at his age, he destroyed her future of comfortable obsolescence into old age together. He brought insecurity into a 40 year marriage without batting an eye, made her feel old and used up and of no value. She cannot look like I do at her age, any more than I can look like a 25 year old. His hair is dark again. She eventually gives up riding the bike.

I am middle-aged. I also "look really good" for my age. I hate this. I am tired of it. I go to weddings and the men with wives a few years older than me or my age all want to dance with me. I am exhausted. Their wives, whom I like, pretend to like me. "You look so glamorous. How do you do it?" they ask, as they search for surgical scars. I have none. That you can see. I have had breast reduction surgery. That goes over like a fart in a spacesuit as far as gossip about plastic surgery goes.

When does the day come when you are allowed to age gracefully? I like the compliments, but I don't need them anymore. They make me feel awful sometimes. When can I let it go? This stage of my life is the worst. I am tired. I wake up, dreading the shower process and I put it off as long as possible. My husband laughs, says I am "potchking". He has no idea I do not want to see myself naked in the mirror, do not want to makeup a face no longer wanting or willing to be made up. He is proud of me when we go out. I am not. Because I "look good for my age", everyone waits for my entrance to a party or family get-together. Have I aged? Have I finally let myself get a little fat? Is my hair short or gray or both? No. I won’t allow it. But lately I find myself begging out of things. I don't feel well, or I just saw them all last week. I am sick of the scrutiny. I want to take break, be a natural woman. Do you know what happened the last time I tried to do that? I heard, over and over, "Are you sick?"

We are getting older. Our men get so wounded. They tell us we are beautiful, try to kiss all the spots they think will work which don't work as well. We take it, trying to love it, hating it sometimes because it does not work but we need it to for their sakes, then, shove them away because we know what they are trying to do is not working. They get hurt, we feel bad. I don't want to have sex all the time. I am not sexed up every minute of every day, unlike the girls in magazines. Their lips are always ready to receive, they are plucked and shaved and buffed and coiffed within a second of their lives, just waiting, waiting for him to come and she will welcome him into her beautiful infantilized self.

Being a woman hurts.

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My neighbor across the street is having a sort of midlife crisis. He had a heart attack a few years ago. He tries to flirt with me, tells me I am gorgeous. I ask him how he is doing. He says he does not get enough "lovin'". This makes me uncomfortable, to know he fantasizes about me. I see him in the mornings, strapping on his bike helmet, his 60 year old body encased in bike shorts intended for a man half his age. His poor wife tries to keep up with him for a bit. She knows. He wants to look good for, have sex with, younger women. I would see her pitiful attempts to bike by herself, while he was off with his morning coffee group cronies, the loneliness and futility of what she is attempting to do so painful to look at, her stoic commitment worse. She thought everything was fine, she could finally let it go, he was fat, she was fat, they were gray, they loved each other. By attempting to shape up at his age, he destroyed her future of comfortable obsolescence into old age together. He brought insecurity into a 40 year marriage without batting an eye, made her feel old and used up and of no value. She cannot look like I do at her age, any more than I can look like a 25 year old. His hair is dark again. She eventually gives up riding the bike.

I am middle-aged. I also "look really good" for my age. I hate this. I am tired of it. I go to weddings and the men with wives a few years older than me or my age all want to dance with me. I am exhausted. Their wives, whom I like, pretend to like me. "You look so glamorous. How do you do it?" they ask, as they search for surgical scars. I have none. That you can see. I have had breast reduction surgery. That goes over like a fart in a spacesuit as far as gossip about plastic surgery goes.

When does the day come when you are allowed to age gracefully? I like the compliments, but I don't need them anymore. They make me feel awful sometimes. When can I let it go? This stage of my life is the worst. I am tired. I wake up, dreading the shower process and I put it off as long as possible. My husband laughs, says I am "potchking". He has no idea I do not want to see myself naked in the mirror, do not want to makeup a face no longer wanting or willing to be made up. He is proud of me when we go out. I am not. Because I "look good for my age", everyone waits for my entrance to a party or family get-together. Have I aged? Have I finally let myself get a little fat? Is my hair short or gray or both? No. I won’t allow it. But lately I find myself begging out of things. I don't feel well, or I just saw them all last week. I am sick of the scrutiny. I want to take break, be a natural woman. Do you know what happened the last time I tried to do that? I heard, over and over, "Are you sick?"

We are getting older. Our men get so wounded. They tell us we are beautiful, try to kiss all the spots they think will work which don't work as well. We take it, trying to love it, hating it sometimes because it does not work but we need it to for their sakes, then, shove them away because we know what they are trying to do is not working. They get hurt, we feel bad. I don't want to have sex all the time. I am not sexed up every minute of every day, unlike the girls in magazines. Their lips are always ready to receive, they are plucked and shaved and buffed and coiffed within a second of their lives, just waiting, waiting for him to come and she will welcome him into her beautiful infantilized self.

Being a woman hurts.

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