*Author's note: If you're under 40 and can't relate to this AT ALL, just wait. It's called middle-age, people, and it's coming for you.
I'm starting to accept the fact that I'm not getting any younger.
Okay, that's a lie. I'm starting to accept the fact that I can't afford the type of surgical procedures that will delay the aging process.
At first I decided to just go with it and embrace my inner Crone. I was all, "I'm turning 40! It won't be so bad... 40 is the new 30!"
I lost a shit ton of weight, got new boobs and a hot young husband (not necessarily in that order... first I got the husband, then I lost the weight. The boobs were kind of a necessity after the weight loss left the old ones hanging down around my knees) and was Loud and Proud about being Forty And Fabulous.
And then I turned 48... then 49... and lied to myself for 364 days about how "50 is the new 40!" even though no one ever, EVER says that. EVER. Then on December 19th, 2012, 24 hours before my birthday, I flung myself face down on my bed and sobbed about the fact that I was this close to being half a century old.
Half a century.
That's freaking old, y'all.
I made a daring decision to Not Turn 50. If I refused to acknowledge it, it wouldn't happen. Denial IS your best friend. I staged a protest, had a sit in, drank copious amounts of vodka, and refused to answer the phone on December 20th (because if one single person had called and said "Happy 50th Birthday!" shit would have gone down, and gone down hard).
Shockingly, despite my efforts, I turned 50 anyway. (Time is kind of a motherfucker, in case you are under 40 and didn't know.)
And I learned why nobody says "50 is the new 40!":
Because it isn't. 50 is the same old rat bastard it's always been.
Which brings me to turning 51 half a year ago.
51. 51, in case you can't do the math, is older than 50. It's more than Half a Century. Which means, in technical turns, I'm almost 100.
And things are starting to fall apart.
Like my face, for example.
I've always had a great relationship with my face. I like my face. It's been a good face over the years.
It has all the right features, in basically the right places: Two eyes a reasonable distance apart, one nose that is well-centered and doesn't dominate the middle of my face, a mouth with teeth that haven't decayed yet and made their appearance in somewhat straight lines, a chin that pokes out and doesn't sink into my neck...
It's served me well over time, you know? It didn't get pimply in high school, it didn't get too wrinkled from all the sun I exposed it to during my "I Don't Care If I Get Skin Cancer And Die... I'll Look Hot In My Coffin With My Killer Tan!" years, and though it ballooned up on the feeding frenzy known as my "Let Me Eat Cake Every Day" years, it slimmed right back down during my "I Refuse To Be 40 And Fat" years without any horrible side-effects (I am chronically horrified yet fascinated by the falling faces of the people who appear on shows like My 600 Lb Life. They look like melting candles. There but for the Grace of God and excellent genetics could have goneth I). My cheekbones stayed resistant to gravity, my double chin turned back into one, my neck didn't resemble a turkey and I never grew an eyebrow hair anywhere it didn't belong.
Slowly but surely, things are starting to change.
And not for the best.
The Asshole known as Father Time finally caught up with me, and he is kicking. my. ass.
My eyelids are drooping, my forehead is begging for Botox, my nasal-labial folds (which makes it sound like I have a vagina on my face) are becoming slightly more prominent, and I'm getting age spots on my right cheek.
(The last time I went to the salon and had my hair colored, my stylist spent 5 minutes trying to rub one off because she thought she had gotten dye on my cheek. THAT wasn't awkward AT ALL.)
I will now share with you a deep, dark secret that no one tells you until it's too late:
As you grow older, one of two things will eventually happen.
1. Your eyebrows will sprout like weeds OR
2. They will disappear completely.
There is no happy medium.
My brows fall into the second category.
Where I used to have two very nice eyebrows, I now have none.
So I have (or so I thought) perfected the art of drawing them on.
As it turns out, if you put your make-up on in a low-light room, when you catch a glimpse of yourself in bright light, you wind up looking like this:
Which may or may not have happened to me yesterday.
Yesterday was a bad day.
Yesterday was one of those days that gives you an atomic wedgy in front of your crush then knocks you down and kicks sand in your face. Yesterday was one of those days that steals your boyfriend, tells your mother you smoke, and puts your bra in the freezer at a slumber party. Yesterday was one of those days that pretends to be your friend and then talks about you behind your back.
Yesterday was a real asshole.
I had to run some errands so I put myself together bright and early. I left the house feeling pretty good about myself. Hair was behaving, face was working, clothes fit... all positives in my life. I was wearing a cute sundress and awesome shoes and overall, I felt like, if not a million bucks, at least 20, ya know? I left the house with a song in my heart and a credit card in my wallet, ready to do a tiny bit of damage to my bank account.
And then I caught a bright and luminous glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror.
*cue slasher movie music*
Realization hit me over the head like it was mugging me and trying to steal my purse.
Make-up just isn't for fun and games any more. Now it's a desperate line drawn in the sand. Too little and I look like I've given up. Too much and I look like Jackie Stallone.
Shit just got real.
By the time I arrived at my destination (Walmart, people. Yes, I was going to Walmart. Because at Walmart? I am the prettiest girl at the dance) I had managed to convince myself that age is just a number and if I add my numbers together, I am only 6. Or if I reversed them, I was merely 15. Either way, I was good to go.
I sashayed through Walmart smiling at all the homely people and feeling beneficent for gracing them with my fabulousness.
I started to sneeze.
I sneezed, and I sneezed, and I sneezed and I sneezed.
And every time I sneezed...
I peed a little.
I sailed through Walmart peeing on my feet... and I couldn't stop.
Oh, the horror!
Ohhhhh, the humanity!!!!!
Fake it, Danielle! I said to myself. Hold your head high, girl... people will just think something in your cart is leaking! Even though it's coming from underneath your dress and there is no water-like substances in your cart, they will just assume!!!
I made eye-contact with an elderly woman and she gave me the nod.
She knows, I said to myself. Fuck!!
I wanted to die. Not just cease to exist, but actually drop dead right there in Walmart with my tinkled on tootsies pointed skyward, just like the Wicked Witch of the East with the house crushing her body. (Only without the gawd-awful striped socks and pointy shoes. I don't care WHAT Stacy and Clinton say, pointy shoes always give you witch feet. It is a scientific fact.)
Needless to say my wish went un-granted and I spent the rest of the morning in wet shoes and damp underthings smelling faintly of pee-pee and wondering which Old Folks Home my children will put me into.
Probably one in the mid-West, I decided. Then they won't have to come and visit their constantly urinating mother and take her for walks in her pissy shoes.
And then I came home and discovered that I'm growing a hump on my back.
Either that, or I'm just really fat right below the back of my neck.
And all my missing eyebrow hairs have relocated to my chin.
Wasn't it just yesterday, I asked myself, that I was graduating from high school?
No, replied Self, yesterday you were refilling your pill organizer because you take so goddamn many that you can't remember if you took them or not. And you left pasta boiling on the stove for 25 minutes because you forgot you had started cooking it. Yesterday you discovered that you missed an entire section of your knee while shaving your legs and were closely inspecting a mysterious and suspicious mole that you couldn't remember if you had ever seen before.
Screw you, Self!