April 8, 2013

Aging Is Not for Sissies. ~ Maureen Kelly

I have always said I wanted to age dis-gracefully.

Well, I am a baby-boomer, so I guess that’s just to be expected. We never take anything lying down.

I remember my Nan when she was 50, an old woman in an apron—that’s how she appeared to me—cooking scones for afternoon tea. But now that I’ve just turned 60 myself (don’t tell anyone!), I don’t feel like that at all!

Hell, I have just had heart surgery and various complications that actually qualify me well for ‘old woman’ status. But I am far too stubborn to give in. To tell the truth, I’ve been running away from the crone for years, but I do know that one day she will catch up with me.

As women, we live most of our lives in competition with each other, or at least with with the images of perfection and celebrity that we are expected to covet and aspire to. Like me, you have probably been there, done that.

Airbrushing has a lot to answer for. Like trying to fit into an impossibly tight pair of jeans, we lie flat on the bed, sucking in the flesh, with a coat-hanger wrenching the zipper up. We do whatever it takes to make sure we “fit” this vision of perfection and youth.

Even if we are clever enough to realize that it’s really all about the money, we still feel compelled to “keep up” and spend buckets on concealers, mascaras and the next miracle anti-aging cream,

And it’s not just 30-somethings. None of us wants to have to really think about aging—except being willing to pay whatever it costs to avoid it.

So if we can just run fast enough and learn how to reinvent ourselves cleverly enough, we think maybe, just maybe, we can outrun the crone.

Do you want to know something weird? I was still menstruating up until a few months ago. Yes, you heard me right! I was actually menstruating on the operating table when I had my quadruple bypass surgery last November.

I was a bit ambivalent about it. On the one hand, it might have been a badge of honor, the goddess light that didn’t ever want to be extinguished, and on the other hand, it was, in practical terms, a strain, a nuisance and it felt downright relentless!

You know there’s a fine line between fighting aging and being recalcitrant, refusing to face and accept everything about being a woman. I don’t want to be like an age nark, dabbing in every line and wrinkle, every bit of jelly flesh or mole that is sprouting a hair.

How tiresome! Don’t I have more interesting and creative things to be thinking about? Is my appearance truly how I define myself? Can that be? How bourgeois. Oh my, not me—caught in society’s illusions?

Note to self: I must do better. I must be a goddess. I must learn to be better in bed, or at least more interested. I must always look glamorous. I must never, ever, show my real age, or not know the words of the latest pop anthem, or be useless in figuring out how to work an Ipod, or even forget how to tell the difference between an Ipod and an Ipad.

Oh, fuck it…

Shock, horror! Don’t let the cracks start to show. Please! Keep up girl. You can do it. Ra, ra, ra…(fading out to nothing). This whole thing seems to be chipping away at my dignity.

Maybe my ego is learning something after all.

So anyway, I’ve decided that I may have been going about this whole ‘aging thing’ in the wrong way. What is comes down to is this: I don’t want to be ugly. That’s the real size of it.

Obviously I have looked at old people and found them quite unattractive. Sorry to be so honest, but it hurts me more than it hurts them, because I really love old people; I just wouldn’t want to go to bed with one. (Did I just say that?)

I don’t want to be the woman who walks into the room and has suddenly become invisible. I don’t want to let my hair go grey. I don’t want men to find me less attractive than they did before. I don’t want to be ‘ruled out’ by a number! Hmm. This is hard. I can tell you, aging is not for sissies.

I should let you know that my inner self has, for years, been pointing out wonderful ‘natural’ women, the ones who don’t wear make up, who have short spiky hair cuts and you know…the ones who look like they just got home from an Indy festival.

Oh, if only I could aspire, realistically, to emulate them! But a big fat woman with a buzz cut always looks more butch than Indy. It’s just not going to work for me.

So, now to the denouement. It’s really quite simple now that I think about. Just be gorgeous. Always. By that, I mean the best kind of gorgeous you know how to be considering the raw material you have to work with.

And if we don’t want to be ruled out by age, by a number, then we have to stop being so number-phobic and number discriminating, and number-judging ourselves.

I have to love me, all of me, even aging me. And without losing my dignity or class, occasionally allow myself to wear a tiara.


Maureen is a greedy goddess. She wants it all, everything, the best things in life, to love and to savor and to honor and treasure, until death do us part. She is a sacred devotee of Love. And as she savors and devours life, it devours her, and there takes place a merger of the love within her and the love within all. Sooner or later it becomes obvious that we are all one. We are the same being wearing different disguises. By allowing others inside, to see all of us, without whimpering, without wavering, and being real until it hurts, is just another way of saying I Love You, and We’ve Got This Covered.

She lives in Sydney, Australia. She has two grown up children, and a puppy. She loves to cook and to read and to watch old movies. She also loves vintage clothing and anything natural, the ocean, and being her authentic self.


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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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