The closer I get to turning fifty, the more absurd the idea that I could ever recreate my thirties becomes to me. In the early forties, there’s still that glimmer of hope. The body still holds some elasticity. Arthritis and the uncoolness of raising teenagers hasn’t set in. I can still go for a jog without regretting it for days afterwards.
I’m sure that with a great personal trainer, a LOT of conviction, and refined habits reflective of those people we read about in magazines whose lives depend on looking good, we could recreate some semblance of youth as we age. Hell, look at Laura Dern, Julianne Moore, Julia Roberts, to name a few. These women are older than I am, and they look a heck of a lot better. And the women in their early forties, like Reese Witherspoon? Well, forget it, they might as well be thirty. Us? The women in our forties who aren’t driven by a spotlight and acting roles? We know what comes easy, and we know that emulating the health and youthful glow of a woman half our age is NOT easy. We know there are a lot of creature comforts we have to give up, a lot of lifestyle adjustments we have to make, and a lot of professionals we have to consult, if we want to go there.
These days, so close to my fifties, I’m at a crossroads about “going there.” Sometimes I think that accepting my size ten and forgetting about being a size six ever again would be my healthiest route of least resistance. I would free up so much room in our cramped closet; I could move forward again and start building a decent wardrobe that suits me instead of wearing thrift store clothes that I bought with the idea that I would someday be able to fit back into my other wardrobe, my “real” wardrobe. Well, it’s been three years since I could squeeze into a size six. My favorite outfits from years past just take up space in an already limited closet. They’re like tombstones of another me—“here lies the jeans she loved so much when she didn’t drink a drop of alcohol, didn’t take hormones, and wasn’t in her late forties.” Is it time to just let it all go?
Or am I just making excuses for myself again, blaming my age and medication for my lack of conviction and strength? Who was I, way back when? And how did I create her? And can I—is it even possible—to create her again?