Jan Stafford Kellis

Aging (Slowly and Bravely)

My 40th birthday was nearly three months ago, and I’m adapting to my image in the mirror. I’ve also adapted my morning routine to include make-up every day (it’s no longer optional, and neither is the under-eye wrinkle eraser) and a flat-iron styling (actually adds some waves to my dull, drab, lifeless hair). I notice a more insistent hunger, distracting and seemingly insatiable, and a nearly constant tired feeling invading my body.

I’ve also noticed I care a lot less about hurting others’ feelings. I don’t purposely set out to ruin someone’s day, but if I occasionally ignore my diplomatic tendency and speak my mind I no longer lose sleep over it. In fact, sometimes I speak my mind on purpose, and wish I’d started this practice two decades ago.

So, on my birthday I received a new bike from my daughters and my mom: a cruiser-style bike with ten speeds and a wicker basket. I first told my daughter I coveted this model a few years ago when I spied a friend riding one through our Village, mentioning “I want a bike just like that, but I have to wait until I’m 40 to pull it off”. My daughter remembered this and orchestrated the purchase of a gorgeous black bicycle with hot pink details, ready to ride to work and help me slough off the 6 pounds haunting me since last fall.

I know, fewer pounds translates to more wrinkles, but at this point I’d rather trade the weight for more energy even if it means staring at the aging woman in the mirror, wondering who she is. I’m not afraid of aging, as long as I can maintain my pace: slowly and bravely, slowly and bravely.

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