there, in the mirror, stands a woman who is past her prime. this is something that i didn't think would bother me so much, what with all the feminist self-awareness stuff that i wholeheartedly subscribe to, but hot dog, i seem to be in the midst of a real life mid-life crisis.
symptoms - some serious navel-gazing. annoyingly so. i look and look and notice how my eyes are drooping and the smiley lines are no longer going away and the bed sheet wrinkles stay embossed on my arm skin for a long long time and instead of just shrugging, i get pissed off. because, damn it, it wasn't supposed to happen to me. because somehow i was supposed to get my very own temporal loophole and not grow old.
and yes, i realise i'm not old per se, but i am no longer young. i get more and more why people have children (or, maybe to be clearer, what use children serve in people's lives, beyond the purely practical considerations of bringing you another glass of wine when you can't get up) - when you have children, there is continuity, there is youth and your own silent slump into decrepitude is no longer quite as important. you have distractions: look, maddison is on "girls gone wild"(again)! behold, jayden has developed an oxycontin addiction! oh my, emma has won the lacrosse tournament! and so on... whereas i have merely the intellectual struggles of grad school to keep my mind's eye focused away from the slowly loosening collagen in my delicate under-eye area (as the industry calls it) and 'twould be good, if i wasn't surrounded by a group of 20-30 year olds whose firm bits and pieces make me reconsider my self-imposed anti-plastic surgery position.
now don't fret. it's unlikely that i will turn myself into a fully plasticized clone of the kardashian clan, but it's odd how much i'm feeling the slipping away of something good about myself. and as shallow as this is, it's true. i know there's more to me than a face and body but i still miss being me. i feel that the face i see in the mirror resembles me less and less and i wonder when my self-knowledge will catch up and i will see me again and not some lightly worn out stranger.
i always prided myself on a realistic self-respect and self-love, and that seems to be slipping along with my formerly firm bits. so, here's a question to all of you who are older than i am - when and how does one reach a zen-like state of acceptance?