by Gwynne Hunt
It is hard to fling anything when you are in your sixties without worrying that someone might get hurt. As mother used to say, if you keep throwing that around you’ll put someone’s eye out.
A few years ago, all that was required of a woman in her sixties, was that she could bake a good apple pie and fashion her hair into a French twist. But for those of us who survived the sexual revolution of the sixties and seventies; pies and a tight bun don’t cut it anymore. Grandma is expected to do all of those things and still look good enough to pose for Playboy. This expectation puts huge pressure on our aging population.
At an age where my mother reclined on the couch watching soap operas and doing crossword puzzles, I am working harder than ever, getting my hair done more often and spending more on products to look better than I ever have. In the autumn of my life I have been flung back into spring-like behaviour. I’m messed up season-wise. I want to fall back not spring forward. I don’t want to think about my youthful appearance. I didn’t think about it when I was young, but now Oprah wants me to embrace my face, at a time when it is gone.
I long for the days of Aunt Bea when women in their sixties wore fuzzy slippers and belonged to a bridge club. But no, there is no rest at this time in our lives; we must trim and tuck and run. We must find mates, if we don’t already have one and be able to do chair-squats like Jane Fonda.
In the autumn of our lives we must have a spring fling; not an affair or a tryst per se but we must propel ourselves into the foray of young nubile women. We have to try to look as good, be as active and take on the world to compete with women half our age. We have to act ten years younger than we really are and with flair.
We are being told by society that we must firm up, lypo this or suck out that bit of fat, enter beauty competitions with our daughters and tap dance our way across the stage of life with face-lifted smile. It’s exhausting. It is hard to fling anything when you are in your sixties without worrying that someone might get hurt. As mother used to say, if you keep throwing that around you’ll put someone’s eye out.
Can we not just slip on a pair of mules, wear a housedress and make coffee cakes while doling out great advice to our grandchildren? Do we have to save the world while we look good? Even if saving the world is not on your agenda, women still have to be more active than an efferfesent tablet. Garden, cook, work, parent/grandparent, taxi, party, entertain, worship, evolve, counsel and be counselled, exercise, stand for something, win awards, be sexy, attractive, fit, healthy, eat well and be able to hold several intelligent conversations at once. I can’t even chew gum and walk, as my mom used to remind me daily.
But in spite of it all, I am determined to have a spring fling. I am determined to shed some weight and find a face cream that will work miracles on my sagging skin. I want to be rejuvenated and fresh. Ok, Ok I have passed my expiration date for freshness but I can be refreshed. All that requires is more sleep and I could have more sleep if I didn’t have so much to do.
Maybe I can have it all if I just find more balance in my life. Maybe that is the key. Balance. I require balance. As I seek balance I think I will look for serenity as well, and contentment. I think I will also try to find more time for my personal life. And I don’t mean babysitting the grandkids more; I mean personal time with my husband of forty-one years. Just a few days away together would put a spring in his step for sure.
Balance, serenity . . . why, that sounds like Mayberry and the life Aunt Bea used to live. We are being told to de-stress, relax and take life easy all the while striving to look fabulous. I think Aunt Bea looked fabulous. She was overweight and plain but she had a beautiful smile and a nice, pleasant comfortable frame.
I see all these women on television becomming grandmas and discussing how they don’t know what their grandchildren should call them. Nobody wants to be called grandma anymore. Really? That is the nicest thing I have ever been called . . .the biggest compliment and it brings me the most joy.
But even my grandkids want me to live a long life, eat healthy, lose weight and while none of them have discussed face-lifts with me, some of them do check out what makeup I am wearing and concern themselves with my hair. Of course, they don’t think I am old.
Maybe this Spring I will fling myself into my creativity and not worry so much about what is sagging and what isn’t–Ok, it is all sagging, who am I trying to fool? But I am pretty happy with my diet, my exercise routine and my energy level.
I think the Spring Fling I will have will be more of a dance of joy, a celebration of life and all that is good. Let’s face it at my age ‘spring has sprung and the grass has riz’, it’s a bit late for seed planting and garden maintenance.