When Ego and Age Collide

It took me many years to come to terms with how I look when for the first 20 years I was harassed by my peers (and family) for my enviable physical attributes: my weight (a good wind will blow you away!), my teeth (Gopher Gerkmaidenname), my bad skin, my lack of boobs, and my ugly hair (that my mom would perm every year just in time for school pictures THE NEXT DAY!).

During high school, I went on one date with someone from my school. There was no second date since I refused to give him a handjob in his truck after he took me home and parked in front of my house. I would have been dateless my junior year for prom if I hadn’t asked a total stranger who had stopped in at the café I worked and I was dared by my coworkers to invite him. I never saw him again after prom. I was decidedly dateless my senior year.

I was in college before anyone ever told me I was pretty. Of course I called him a fucking liar. I called them all liars for years because I still saw a pimply-faced, scrawny, flat-chested girl when I looked in the mirror. It took a long time for me to accept that I wasn’t the hideous troll my peers had led me to believe. I started to enjoy the double-takes from the opposite sex when out in a public setting or driving my car. It’s a heady feeling.

Sometime during our infertility treatment, my ego took one horrible hit after another. I gained weight and frown lines. Jowls formed and wrinkles deepened. I was tired all the time and Sparring Partner seemed less and less interested in groping me (even though I HATE it when he does a drive-by goosing!).

I share an office with a 23 year old and when I talk to him, I wonder what he’s thinking as he’s looking at me. Does he think I’m attractive or does he have me in the same category as his mom, which I’m old enough to be?

I am not taking aging well. Almost every day I mourn the day before because I was younger THEN. I’ll continue to get older and older and no one will remember that I was once young and pretty. My children will soon look at pictures of me from long ago and remark HOW YOUNG I USE TO BE, as if it had never occurred to them that I was once. My daughter sees my face and positively lights up with recognition and unconditional love, but even that makes me sad because someday she won’t remember me now. She’ll be 16 and see an old woman as her mom. It scares me. It makes my heart tighten in my chest.

After years and years of physical inactivity, I just started an exercise program. I was prepared to collapse half-way (if not earlier) into the session, but I surprised myself by being able to successfully complete 45 minutes of aerobics with weights. Sure I broke a major sweat and I wanted to choke the instructor with the rubberband rope after I heard her say, “Just 5 more!” for the 20th time, and my legs wobbled when we were done and my arms shook with fatigue as I completed the membership card. But I did it, and it felt awesome. The next morning I was sore, not so much I couldn’t move, but sore enough to know I did something good for my body.

I’ve realized I can be Age’s bitch trudging reluctantly along, or I can go kicking and screaming ten pounds lighter and without bingo arms. Well, fuck you, Age. I know I can’t get younger or pretty again, but I don’t have to look older, either.

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11 thoughts on “When Ego and Age Collide”

  1. Yeah, I found it hard to hit the gym during IVF, what with getting up at 4:30 am and making it back in time just to get to work at 9:00 am. Once my son was weaned, having been used to getting up early to pump *before* I nursed, I made an earnest effort to get in better shape. Seeing recent pictures of me compared to pictures of thin-me helped, too. Thankfully, our local Y is practically across the street and they extended their opening time earlier so I can get a work out in before going to work.

    I started off doing cardio (treadmill, stairmaster, various other machines) and weights. Seeing that I plateaued, I ventured into the 7:00 am free Boot Camp class. Holy s that kicked my ass! 18 months later I’m still at it. I’m trying to get to 140, but I’ve only managed to get to 145. Right now I’m 148. I keep fluctuating between 147 and 150, which is frustrating. But I am comfortably in a size 8 (gave all my 10s and 12s away to charity), and yesterday when I donated blood my BP was 100/72, which isn’t too bad. My goal is to be fit and healthy. My father needed his first coronary bypass at 36, and 3 of my grandparents died of heart disease. I’d like to get back into a size 6, and even though I keep track of what I eat, my willpower to limit my sweet intake is looooooooooooooooow. Sure, I eat less sweets than I used to, but I know it should be even less, without depriving my self completely. Fitness is a work in progress. There is no finish line, but I want to be able to keep up with my son. He’s 4 and very athletic. He will never struggle with the weight issues my husband had, or worry about having to count calories like me. We eat healthy foods and so does he. Start ’em early, the saying goes…

    My husband just started taking a kickboxing class. He went from 265 lbs in college to 190 three years later through changing his diet to healthier one and regular exercise. As work has gotten more voluminous, it’s harder for him to find the time to work out. He’s not an early morning riser (like me) and needs AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep. This class is twice a week from 7 – 8 pm, which works out well for everyone. He absolutely loves it, which means he’ll stick with it. He wants to earn his black belt; I know he will, because he’s so passionate about it!

    The important thing when it comes to exercise is to do something you enjoy. If you like it, and like the way it makes you feel, you’ll keep at it. Being healthier and taking care of your body is so important – we want to be around for our kids and grandkids (!) and be able to enjoy them. I think it’s brilliant that you’ve started an exercise regimen. It’s great because as your kids see you embrace a healthy lifestyle, they’ll be more likely to follow in your footsteps. And that’s good for everyone! 🙂

    Hang in there and stay with it. Enjoy it! 😀

  2. I could have written this post. I turn 40 on Friday and I am really in a funk about it. Congrats on the exercise program. I havn’t done much since
    Samuel came home. So darn tired.

  3. I refuse to age gracefully. I’ll do it kicking and screaming and fighting all the way. How I look is important to me, but staying slim and exercising will (hopefully) keep me alive and active for my son. I’ll be 60 when he graduates. I’d rather be 60 at that time than to never have been a mom at all.

  4. I too have just started exercising after years of infertility and treatments and INACTIVITY. Was proud when I biked into work (5.5miles). Joined a gym. Lost 2 pounds. Yay me.

    Age is a bitch, we should jsut bitch slap him.

  5. Yeah, with you. I’m also hoping that keeping up with exercise helps keep me feeling young-ish. The aerobics sounds great, GO YOU!!!! You take that age bitch DOWN!

  6. I have never thought of myself as old until very recently. I still saw myself as 30-35 years old. I went out to pick up a pack of cigarettes for a co-worker on my lunchbreak and got carded!!

    Then just this spring, I noticed the crepiness in the eyelids, the additional wrinkles & sagging under my eyes. I found weird wrinkles on my chest. Granted, I have to stand at an angle & have the morning sun hitting through the bathroom window juuust right to see them, but still. They’re there.

    I need to move a little. But with my bad left ankle & the bum right knee, there’s not a lot out there that I can do. Maybe biking and some yoga; but aerobics are out. Walking feels wonderful, but the next day I lurch around like… well, like Lurch.

    I’ve been trying really hard to eat better. Lots of fresh fruit & veggies, but evenings do me in. The kids have cookies and little mini brownies! There are always freeze pops in the freezer, sugary sweet cereals in the pantry and hard pretzels in the Snack box. Once the kids go to sleep, I forage through the pantry & scarf down empty calories.

    All in all, I still don’t think I look my age. And I’m OLDER than you, so be quiet you whippersnapper. and stay off my lawn.

  7. Shhh. I’m trying to convince my husband that he’s just going to have to learn to live with my flabby belly and larger ass. Don’t tell him exercise will help things.

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