Mirror Mirror on the wall,
Who’s the fairest of them all?
OMG, WTF happened to YOU last night…
It’s like all the sudden the Gods of Old got together and said, let’s give her a jolt of reality, shall we? It happened to me the other day. All those bags under my eyes that used to go away after a good night’s sleep suddenly became a permanent part of my face. Another day, I was bending over to dry my hair and parts of me were hanging down that never used to before. Just a whole lot of extra me…all of which begs the question: just how many dammed pilates/barre/rip ‘n shred/body attack/Zumba/classes do I have to freaking take to even just maintain my shit???
The French have an expression for this.
It’s called a “coup de vieux.”
It means a “shot of old.” Or “hit of oldness.” A “sudden slap of ancient across the face or body.” You get the idea. Those French sure have a way of nailing things, don’t they? In this case they’ve actually named that sudden quantum leap of aging that hits you now and then and reminds you: sure you’re a boomer who goes to the gym and drinks green smoothies and is occasionally vegan. It only gets you so far, my friend….
I can remember a time when I couldn’t wait to look older. I was in my early twenties, and I’d be taking the train to see my boyfriend. I’d stare at my lineless face in the window, wondering, when will this “old” thing happen to me? I’m ashamed to say that back then I literally could not imagine my own mortality. Old was for other people and mirrors were my friends, in fact I was on good terms with all reflective surfaces.
Now, not so much. Sometimes I’ll be walking alongside a bank or grocery store’s reflective mirror and say, dear God, at least I don’t look like her…and it’s me I’m looking at.
(It’s good to know I have lots of company. The over 65-ers are the fastest growing population in the U.S. Over 50 million of us. That’s a whole lot of reality bumping up against fantasy.)
But what does all of this pissing and moaning about I’m-not-young-looking-any-more really mean? Part of looking in the mirror when I was in my twenties was preening of course, but the root of that was me constantly asking myself: am I okay? Does the world accept me like this?
Meanwhile, what I didn’t realize then – because it was all about me all the time – was: everyone else was asking themselves the same thing. No one was looking at me – but, just like me – they were looking at themselves, asking themselves: am I okay?
Look at Cher. The woman is 72 and according to her website, has 25 concerts scheduled for the 2018/2019 season. No doubt the woman must have plenty of coup de vieux, but she wraps herself in the best spandex on earth and keeps going with her life.
Check out her yelps: sure people love how she looks, but most every comment says something along the lines of “She joked with us, played to us, and made us feel like she was looking directly at us.”
Even Cher knows it’s not about her.
For me it’s a huge relief to realize that more than ever, no one cares what I look like, they care what they look like. And guess what? I don’t care what they look like, I just want what everybody else wants: love, affection, acceptance, recognition, and people to like – whoops! Love– my shit on Facebook.
So pull out your inner Cher, slap on little more concealer, shut the hell up about your bags and sags and always remember: they’re not looking at you, they’re looking at their reflection in your eyes, asking, am I okay?