The Stranger in the Mirror
I got up this morning, and after having my requisite two cups of tea, I took a shower and went to my vanity to put on my makeup. I looked into the mirror and my first thought was, “Who the hell is standing behind me looking in my mirror!?”
That was me! That stranger in the mirror! There was no one standing behind me! How could I look like that? That couldn’t possibly be me! I wasn’t OLD! That person in the mirror is OLD! I put down my makeup and walked away, trying to get a grip on the fact that there was an old person in the mirror who MUST be me.
OK, so I put on my makeup and then I had to get dressed. Which means taking off my robe and actually looking at the rest of me in the mirror. Can I do this? I just discovered the older me, at least my face. Can I discover my older body? Why is it I’m just now becoming aware that my 35 year old mind is attached to this older exterior? Sheesh. Well, here goes.
You see, by the time baby boomers get to be my age, we may – just MAY – have lost and gained weight a time or two (or three). Or not. So, we have some….uh….bulges here and there and I’m surely not immune. Not only is my face unfamiliar, but so is my body. This is really ridiculous. I still wear almost the same size in clothes I wore at 35 years old but they fit me a little teeny bit differently. CRAP.
I get dressed, pulling on my jeans over my only slightly larger belly (yeah right). At least I don’t have to lie down on the bed to get them on. One small victory! I recently lost some weight and where did I lose it? Did I lose it in my tummy where I needed to? OF COURSE NOT!!! I lost it in my arms and legs, which were already skinny. And my face, which just makes any wrinkles I have look worse. Let me tell you. After 50, there is no way to win.
Speaking of no way to win, by the time you are my age, you may be fighting or living with some kind of chronic condition. In my case, it’s insulin-dependent diabetes. It makes exercise difficult because exercise causes low blood sugar in my case. Why? Because I can’t eat many carbohydrates and keep my blood sugar under control. What I need is to work out with weights to improve muscle tone in my arms and legs. I also need cardio to protect my heart and reduce my belly. All this, and I am at or below an optimal weight for my height. Life is not fair for the aging baby boomer!
I can possibly manage the weight training without dropping dead from low blood sugar. 🙂 Cardio is a whole other matter. I would have to carb load big time to even consider that and my blood sugar would shoot up to 500 before cardio and down to 60 afterwards. That is not a good thing and my doctor has no solution. Perhaps I can start out slow. Like a turtle. A very slow turtle.
Baby boomers, in 2017, are between 53 and 71 years old. That puts me firmly in the baby boom generation. So, why do I usually feel 35? Why do my baby boomer friends (I’ve only asked my girlfriends) feel the same? We all look in the mirror. But, inside, we feel 35. I don’t feel a bit different than when I was 35, just graduated from graduate school, starting my first job teaching in college.
Maybe I feel a little wiser about some things but not about all things. Maybe I feel a little stiffer in the morning but not all mornings. In fact, many days, I can accomplish more in a day than I could at 35. I may feel more self-confident than I did at 35 even though I see a stranger in the mirror.
Why does our generation feel young? I think one reason is that we’ve had access to the best health care of any generation, certainly better than our parents did. We may have access to better health care than generations after us as we were generally covered with good health care at our jobs. We grew up with research and development into new anti-aging products. The millennial generation gets to start using these products now. We didn’t until we were 50. Not fair, is it? But, they have still helped us. We have facials, serums, lotions, creams, treatments, masques, and many other products to help our faces. There are just as many lotions and potions to help our bodies.
Then there are the dermatologists that offer dermabrasion, sculpting, peels, lasering, gels, creams, and much more. They went to medical school to treat kids’ acne while the baby boomers had to treat their own. They treat our acne scars.
We’ve learned how to take care of ourselves, something our parents knew little about. We’ve had better health care. We’ve reaped the benefits, as we got older, of research and development. There are other factors that are topics for other blog posts – exercise, nutrition, and many more. The fact remains that, for some reason, one characteristic of baby boomers is that they feel and act younger than their age and the question is WHY?
Is it because we grew up in the sex, drugs, and rock and roll era? We, in fact, invented the sex, drugs, and rock and roll era. So, to those behind us, don’t feel superior. We’ve already been there and done that! 🙂 Is it because we’ve had the benefit of new technology? Maybe it’s because we just have been determined to squeeze all the life out of life and all the fun out of life despite life kicking us down.
I think that the music of the baby boomer’s has helped our attitude toward life and assisted in keeping us young. Everyone will have their own favorite song. We’ve had John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Rolling Stones “Wild Horses,” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” to keep us going along with thousands more. A friend of mine and I used to walk in our college classes singing, “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” by Huey Lewis and the News, every single day. I have girlfriends that still love “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper. The music of the baby boomer’s is another topic that deserves its own blog post, or several blog posts!
In truth, it was the magical time in which our generation grew up. The world was changing and, folks, we changed the world.