I stepped back in surprise. The price of coffee had actually gone down since I last visited, and nothing in this economy ever goes down, except the stock market and interest rates. "That's a deal," I remarked.
The manager walked over and said, "You just got the young lady discount."
Confused, I asked "What?"
The manager smiled, "Ya know, the young discount."
The true meaning of that statement sunk in. It felt like she had hurled a boulder into my gut. All I could manage was, "Oh." For the first time ever, I had been given the senior citizen's discount. Quickly gathering some pride, I faked a giggle, said, "Of course," paid, and left.
I sat in my car horrified. I had entered Dunkin Donuts young and left old. I pulled down the sun visor and checked for wrinkles that might have emerged since I put on my make-up that morning. Didn't find any, but my hair looked more white than blond, so I made a commitment to stop and pick up hair color that was a shade darker than usual. I texted my friend who sells youth preserving skin cream and told her I needed an emergency supply.
Before turning the key to start my car, I considered what had happened a little longer. Why was I so upset? I just celebrated my 54th birthday. Did I really think I looked 35? I was uncomfortable with my vanity. After all, it wasn't too long ago that I wrote a post right here about the beauty of aging. I featured a stunning 76-year-old woman with a face full of wrinkles and an effervescent smile who skied like a champion. She became my hero and here I was sulking because someone had just pointed out that my youthful appearance was part of my past.
Later that day, I asked the Internet why humans are so afraid of aging. After all, it is a natural part of life and the only way to avoid it is through death. I wanted to be the kind of person who accepted this, not fretted over it.
In a nutshell, we fear getting older because it means our life is closer to ending. The potential for illness is greater, our parts don't work quite as well and our appearance does change.
But oh the advantages that come with each birthday. We know ourselves better with each passing year and can alter our life accordingly. We become less concerned with what others think and more concerned about what pleases us. We focus more on showing the world our internal beauty that shines through with a gleam in our smile and a sparkle in our eyes; and a gleam and a sparkle can't be bought in a bottle.
During my search, I came across a blog post on Time Goes By called Fear of Aging, which discusses the compensations that come with getting older. My favorites are: "I've stopped comparing myself to others." and "I eat ice cream, only ice cream, for dinner when I feel like it without a twinge of guilt."
Check it out:
Have I recovered from my welcome at Dunkin Donuts into the senior years?
I'm in the acceptance phase. I'm 54 and have more energy than ever, am pursuing my dreams, have wonderful friends and family, and am blessed with health. I couldn't be more grateful. That being said, I did opt for a darker shade of blond this weekend.
KICK BACK BOOK OF THE WEEK:
Age didn't stop the female characters in I.O.U. Sex by Sandra Nachlinger & Sandra Allen. Three middle aged women get together for an evening of fun and end up reminiscing about their high school sweethearts. The conversation leads to the fact that they didn't have sex with their former boyfriends. KiKi, Peggy, and June set out on a mission to find their young loves, and give them the sex they owe them. I.O.U. Sex is an entertaining novel that will make you laugh, ponder, worry, and remember.
Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/I-O-U-Sex-Sandra-Nachlinger/dp/1461067715/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
KICK BACK SONG OF THE WEEK:
Goodbye Alice in Wonderland by Jewel. No. Alice can't stay young forever, even in Wonderland.
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA:
Kristen is the winner of "A Stop in the Park." Congratulations and I'll be contacting you to find out where I should mail it.
Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. "A Stop in the Park" is on sale until October 20th at Amazon.com: $.99 Kindle downloads; $13.28 paperbacks.