Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things
So, a few days ago while sitting at my desk, I discovered three very small white hairs on my chin. What? Hair on my chin? OK, just another thing that I never had, rearing its ugly head as I age. My estrogen took a hike and my testosterone levels are increasing. That is the explanation from my doctor on all of the lovely things that happen after 50. I was so preoccupied with these stray hairs, I had very little focus for anything else. I dug into my big bag to find my tweezers. I was going after the hairs. Couldn’t find the tweezers. All the way home, all I could think about was getting to Walgreens to get a new tweezers.
Once in the bathroom, I launched the pre-planned attack on the hairs. I lined up the 3X magnifying mirror and armed with my reading glasses to make the hairs even bigger, I went to town. I snatched at those hairs over and over again and because they were so light in color, all I really did was to take large chunks out of my skin. Now, I have a little thing on my chin that looks like I did a face plant, but the three hairs are thankfully gone…..for now.
Mission accomplished one would think but I couldn’t let it go, I decided to give the rest of the chin the once over. To my horror, there was a line of fuzzy but rather long hair just under my chin which I never saw until I used all of my magnifying equipment.
I know what you’re asking, “if you have to magnify to see the hair, what is the big deal”? Well, I think it’s because it’s just another sign that my body is changing and not is a good way. Off with their little hairy heads.
I should just stop touching my face. Maybe in this case, ignorance is bliss. The thing is, I am not yet ready to completely throw in the towel on beauty. This brought me to another realization. I hate it when my mind wanders. That is never a good thing.
This week in the philosophy department, we had three graduate students presenting their dissertation defenses. All 30 or under. I was trying to remember what I was doing when I was 30 as we sat there toasting the occasion with champagne. All the grad students looking so happy and ready to take on the world. I remember that my son was 7 at the time and I was newly divorced and trying to make my life work. Difficult years for me. These young and beautiful women with equally young and beautiful minds, are embarking on a life I could never have imagined for myself. They are now Doctors of Philosophy. I have watched them work and struggle though their years here. Not really much of a struggle because they are all so bright but this is very, very hard and taxing work and they have accomplished so much by this point in their lives that I have to admit that I am a little jealous.
I do not fear getting old. Rationally I know that it happens to everyone and there is nothing one can do about it other than some serious plastic surgery. Even that is only a band-aide and who has that kind of cash anyway? I just don’t want everything to fall apart. I would like to age gracefully and be like Lauren Bacall or Maya Angelou. I want to ease into old age beautifully like gliding in to a very warm and serene lake. I will not go kicking and screaming but I am not ready to go there completely yet. Still coloring my hair, shaving my legs, using makeup and buying skinny jeans.
I think the thing that really bothers me isn’t the way I look, (although the random hair thing still annoys me) it’s thinking about the things I have missed out on. Seeing these beautiful young women graduate, made me start to think. You can choose a path, but with each path you must give up some things. I had my son at 22. I wonder sometimes if I should have dedicated my earlier years to an education. I could have put off motherhood but it was the path I chose. I found out very late in life that I am somewhat of an artist. Not a bad one either. That could have been a choice if I had given it any consideration at the time.
My old path now set, I am looking at new paths. Standing at the fork and wondering if the new path will be blocked or will it open up to something new and beautiful when I reach the clearing. UGH, waxing poetic…(another hairy thought) Who knows? This is the chance we all take when we are young and making life decisions.
I am a very grateful grandmother, mother and spouse. I have a wonderful life. It is actually going much better than the way I thought it would go. Am I a PhD? No, but I am other things and I would not change what I have become. I don’t like to regret anything. It is a wasted emotion and all that I have gone through is what has brought me here today. Still… I think of those young women in my department and can’t help but wonder if I dropped the ball so many years ago.
All this from a few chin hairs.
I think I have been working in the philosophy department way too long. Am I starting to act like them? No offense to the philosophers out there. Without them, who would be doing all the thinking and most importantly, I wouldn’t have a job.
“I think being a woman is like being Irish… Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the time.” ―Iris Murdoch