LIFE BYTES: Ten Thousand Miles

By Kay Stoltz
I know about aging. I have been at it a long time. Let me tell you what I know.
The first hint was a diagnosis of presbyopia. Google calls this a disease of old age. Old age! I wasn’t even 50! I shared the diagnosis with my son, expecting some comforting words. Instead, “At least you aren’t going bald, Mom.” He has other charms.
To handle this “disease” I need “reading glasses.” Images of ladies with glasses on a cord around their necks, hair in a bun, carrying a clipboard come to mind. Oh no. And no bifocals, I am not going there. But I do—and they are the biggest, brightest red-framed glasses ever.

Suddenly, it seems, other parts don’t work so well. Like knees. There is a family gathering with my 90-year-old grandmother holding court. She has the favored chair; I join the kids on the floor. Grandma starts to get up, falters a little, and I react.
“Wait, Grandma, I will help you.” As I attempt to rise, I struggle. My knees won’t hold me, and I fall back, stumble again, then finally, on my knees by now, I rise up and am able to stand. Oh, the ignominy of it.

In the meantime, Grandma is just fine, thank you very much, on her way to wherever. And the rest of the family is laughing hysterically. Phooey. A pox on their houses. And I fix it, with new knees. Voila! I’m bionic! Up and down with the best of them.

And the plumbing. Oh my, you know what I mean? The shut-off valve isn’t shutting, that’s what. Something about stress incontinence. Stress is what you feel when the other lets go. They have a fix for it, so into surgery I go. A little nip here, tuck there, and it is all better. Yay!

Now, why didn’t I get a little nip here, tuck there on my face? I mean, while they were at it. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Like a mile check on your car. Fix me right up for another 10,000 miles.

Have we talked about gravity? Gravity is not your friend. You know the expression, cheek to jowl? My jowls are now company with my neck. And my cheeks are not the apples they once were. Elsewhere, there is a big reason for underwires. How else could we hold up?

And then there is hair. I colored my hair for years. You may not know this but coloring your hair doesn’t mean the color you pick on the outside of the box is the color you get. Not a chance.
One Sunday morning I pick a gorgeous auburn color and proceed. After I finish, I check the color in the dim bathroom; looks good. And I am ready to go to the Home Show.
It is a bright June day. We see innovative designs and exciting new colors. Speaking of which . . . I catch myself reflected in a window.

Oh, no! My hair shines in the sun like neon; a shade of purple never before seen. I am mortified.

“Dave,” I declare to my husband, “we have to leave…. NOW!”
“OK, OK,” he reluctantly responds. When we get home, I send him to the store to pick up another color. Bless his heart, he goes. I knew I couldn’t go to work the next day looking like that. The double coloring works, and I am once again presentable.

Coloring my hair and applying makeup went on for years, until I decided I had better things to do with my time. Plus, all those chemicals I was using on my hair couldn’t be good for me or the environment. As for makeup? Well, what you see is what you get. After a certain age, none of it matters. Now really, think about it. Investing all that hard-earned money in Revlon or Loreal? And think about the time. Even as little as 20 minutes a day turns into real time when you think about years of it.

You do what you want, of course. However, you youngsters of 50, 60, pay attention. This will be you. Your once dependable body won’t work so well.
The answer? Pray you have good genes. Do the right things.
And a little nip, a little tuck at 10,000 miles won’t hurt.