Growing Older is Not for the Faint of Heart

Since the Taylor Swift concert in May, my ears have retained a subtle ringing whenever there is no other sound. When the kids are dancing around the family room or the highway rush is the loudest identifiable sound or a train passes as we walk through Royal Oak, I am absolutely fine.

But in the dark of night, when all the kids are sleeping, the TV has been turned off, it’s that little subtle constant ringing deep in my ears.

It only took a month and a half for me to reach out to a brilliant ear-doctor friend and ask, “Could this be hearing loss? Should I schedule an appointment?”

Now I have to say, that karma is high around here. On the day of the concert, I advised my daughter to take ear plugs but declined to take them for myself, even though there was another pair in my jewelry drawer, because I figured, I’ll be fine. Yeah right. This is God telling me not to be so cocky and to take greater care.

So I’ll schedule the appointment and I’ll see what Adam says and I’ll see if there is anything I can do to be more careful and protective of this amazing sense of hearing that we all take so for granted.

Things like this start happening as we hit the 40s – maybe earlier for some. For years, I’ve been aware of but not admitting to some thinning of my thick, curly hair in certain spots. For years, I denied it was happening, and then finally, my lovely candid daughter frankly pointed it out one morning when we were all still in pajamas and tousled from sleep.

I bit her head off, defensive as I was. Me? Thinning hair? How could that be possible? For most of my life, people knew me for my thick, curly hair – frizzy, bell-shaped, big pigtails in grade school – I was known fondly and by bullies for my hair.

So I bemoaned my fate for days until my father said, “So do something about it.”

I went to the dermatologist, who confirmed a bit of what I feared most, and advised certain vitamins and supplements to support healthy hair growth. I called my Ayurvedic practitioner, who prescribed certain foods and healthy supplements. I’ve been popping pills ever since and wow, the hair growth is astounding.

It was that easy.

To admit where we are, to cherish what precious treasures we have, but not to attach too much meaning and dependence on our physical self because, yes, it changes in the blink of an eye.

Every woman who’s ever given birth will admit to some amount of jiggle in the middle that no matter how many yoga classes or miles she runs, she just can’t get rid of entirely. Is that a bad thing? The “war wounds” of creating and nurturing and giving life? Really? We’re going to say we’re not beautiful because of a few extra pounds or a few less hairs?

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – we live in a society so focused on the external that most of us, myself included, almost don’t know ourselves from the inside out. And we should. 

We should shed the worries about appearance and texture and sag or lift and just embrace the milestones of this beautiful life.

So I don’t have a six-pack stomach. So what? I have three amazing children who have changed my life forever, and for the better ten times over.

And the hearing and the hair and the other things that will happen – God knows what lies ahead – I can’t crawl under the covers and cry about it. We only have so much time on this earth; it’s up to us to make it meaningful and worthwhile and fantastic – not filled with ruminations over the things we cannot control and which do not even begin to make us who we are.

I’ll admit, I thought about writing this blog so many times but was afraid to put it out there in the world – to put my failings and my aging and my shortcomings out in the world for all to see.

But the point of a blog like this is to commiserate with all of us over what makes us human. None of us are alone in this life, and the travails we handle are shared by so many others.

So here I stand, strong and proud. I am who I am, warts and all (no warts, really, but you know what I mean). It’s a “coming-out” of sorts. We all must be proud to be who we are – and that is, at the core, perfectly imperfect. 

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