I am discovering as I get older, I have to maintain my body and mind more. Much more. It is not a pleasant experience! Because I no longer have to deal with the level of stress my job provided, I am burning fewer calories (but I am still eating three meals a day, an occasional dinner at a local restaurant, and an occasional glass of wine). My teeth and gums require more care now than they ever did—while I have been assured by the peridontist that my teeth are not going to fall out, I have to floss and use various other little teeth “tools” to clean along the gums and in between each tooth (this takes about five or six minutes every night, whereas for years I got by with a quick brush twice a day), and if I don’t I will eventually have to have lots of dental work done that will cost a lot of money.
I have to watch my cholesterol. I have to keep my weight down (actually, I have to lose 20 lbs.). Every other year I get a bone density scan to ensure I do not have osteoporosis. I get my eyes checked every year, and the eye doctor says that while he sees the beginning of cataracts (!!) he does not think I will need surgery for a few more years.
Aside from my health, I have to maintain my appearance. The true color of my hair is probably mostly white (I have colored my hair for nearly twenty-five years). When I was in my early thirties, I had a white streak in front, just to the right of my forehead. I colored that with a take-home product from the store. When I turned forty, my hairdresser noticed I was getting grey hairs here and there all over my head and suggested a mild rinse. It progressed from there to a more permanent hair coloring, but done so well (for a lot of money) that you couldn’t tell it wasn’t natural. In the last three years, my eyebrows have gone white—so I sweep a mascara wand over them every morning.
I notice that the upper lids of my eyes are drooping, but not enough to get an eye job covered by insurance. Actually, one of the lids is drooping more than the other. And while we are on the subject of my face, I notice I have jowls. But I must say, in spite of everything, people always (and I do mean always) lean back in shock when I tell them how old I am and say, “Oh, no, you can’t be!” I am enjoying every bit of that—but it is probably the next thing to fade.