Here I am with lines creeping where I wouldn’t want them to (laugh lines I agree is a nice way to call them), a spreading middle which I hoped wouldn’t (three daughters gave me that. I wonder what other women’s five or six would!), silver streaks playing peek-a-boo out of once glorious dark tresses (my beautician has a solution to that quite expensively though), and a less than flat abdomen (next to laugh lines, this horror of horrors gives a woman’s age away) -- that surely makes me think. I guess women who find they are blowing out 50 or more candles on their cake would consider those in serious retrospect. And looking at the youthful glowing skin, lithe figure, and silky black hair of gorgeous models on the cover of glossy woman magazines or ads serve only to feed that quiet unease. Come to think of it, we’ve always been told that – white pearly teeth, soft smooth skin, and skinny no-bulge bodies is beautiful. Like saying that only women of 20-year-olds-and-under inhabit the face of the earth and anything beyond that is absolutely unheard of and --ugly.
But no! look again. See these women in your ordinary everyday neighborhood --the middle-aged woman selling fish and vegetables in the market; the government employee who sells beauty products on the side; the ordinary housewife who does her chores with clockwork precision each day tending to a rowdy brood of five while a husband is away in Saudi; the dependable single older aunt selflessly sending a niece or nephew to school; the crisp ladies of the church in their equally crisp bland uniforms; the rural teachers who patiently trod to their classrooms on gravel roads rain or shine. These women are real -- as real as ice cream cones and pizza pies. They may do a hundred turns before the mirror tremulously tracing age’s progress on their faces and skin, yet they don’t fuss and fret over beauty jars and trips to the gym, salon or spa. Instead, they get busy as mothers, wives, grandmothers, nieces, aunts, office mate, friend and other more roles laid out before them each day.
Now here’s the million dollar question-- what if all that would be gone one day and truly it will-- when all that’s left is the so-called void without and within. When age finally creeps in as bones and joints go stiff and ache, skin crinkle with defiant lines, eyes strain to read small print, sleep turn erratic, appetites change, visits to the doctor more frequent and pills nestle permanently in one’s purse. When loneliness glides into each day furthermore heightened with the children planning careers and lives away from home. Now what can they do with the portions left of their now solitary lives?
It dawned on me while I was sitting in my favorite corner one lazy afternoon with a book that went stale in my hands. A book to my mind should pass the first five minutes of reading. Otherwise it goes down to the bin of the lost and forgotten. Anyway, I realized this -- life does not stand still for those who enter through this portal. No, it does not. But one does have to make a choice-- to move along in step with the passing of father time— or fall back and be left behind. With the same eyes, ears, mind and heart honed by past experiences, one can better see life and the world with fresh new interest, appreciation, understanding, and wisdom. Born out of hurts, pains, bruises and bumps from a journey through life’s dusty and more often grueling road, one now wears a new sense of independence, confidence, and self-worth. There can be no void where one does not allow it.
This journey continues. It’s a lifelong one. I do look back often to see what’s gone past or what’s left behind. I do this to appreciate where I am at now. The past, cruel in some and brilliant in another, created my passions, desires, expectations putting it all together in one package that people see, interact with, and relate to each day. I am able to give back to life because life has filled me well. My cup overflows. It’s a continuous play and exchange of receiving and giving in this real game called life. At times I can dish out master strokes thereby bask in euphoric victory. Then again in the next instant I hit the gutter with my poor aim and find myself pulling at my hair in utter disbelief, disappointment and frustration. Success and failure, bitter and sweet, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, smart and stupid, joy and sadness, high and low, have and have-not --- one will often find himself at one end or the other of that broad spectrum. It is a rich life, though definitely flawed and imperfect but rich. Yet it is what goes on inside a person that lends to its richness.
Yes, we are part and parcel of this universal ebb and flow of life. I uniquely as an individual fill my own allotted space in this vast universe and time—and so do zillions of other lives in other places. There is no secret to living this life. It’s simply keeping in step with the beating of the universal drum --- to the music played by the ONE magnificent drummer. Ah yes! Life indeed is beautiful 50 (or more) birthday candles notwithstanding!
posted on Monday, September 05, 2005 2:54 PM