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Self-Identity and Image

Heels & Horsepower

Susan Ashby Mergler October 02, 2015
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Upon writing this official “screw off to old age” and my perpetual observations of my mother who apparently whole-heartedly embraces this stage, I realize that a lot of people ultimately judge me and take away that I should appreciate my mother while she is still here. Oh yes, and that I will miss her when she is gone. Duh. I get that.

This story, or rant if you will, is less about making fun of my continually maturing mom, and more about my perception of aging and how to actually do it well. If not gracefully, then at least completely alive and active and continually confounding most of humanity until my last breath. So here goes. Judge me if you will but also try and understand because one way or the other you too will be here one day.

My 22 year-old daughter, Ashlee, likes to tease me about who will change my old lady diapers and how she will be too busy to accommodate when that day comes. She jokes that her younger brother’s wife will have the distinct privilege. Well maybe, if she can catch me to do so, then kudos to her.

I secretly laugh because that is so not how I see life playing out. Instead of pillows in my chair at 83, I see a 103 year old woman still rocking a pair of red soled stilettos and many phone calls exchanged between brother and sister as to where their mom and her recently purchased hot little convertible might possibly be. Keeping them guessing. That’s definitely how I see the future. In the meantime, here’s how my mom’s slide into home plate is playing out with me still trying to field the ball.

A few nights ago, at a relatively civilized dinner, my 83-year-old mother told me at least three times to chug my glass of wine. A very nice cabernet, the server had carefully aerated and poured and instructed me to wait a few minutes to allow its full body to blossom in my glass so that I might have full enjoyment of its bouquet. Not to be outdone by this Mendoza wine, my mother continued to cheer me on as if I was at a fraternity beer bong tournament with her incessant ovations of chug, chug, chug.

Really, guzzle this? I don’t need to tell you that I have no better motivation to avoid getting old than my mother who needs to go home before 7:30 pm because 1) the Orioles are playing game #1092 and 2) her ass hurts from sitting past one hour in that hard restaurant dining chair.

I also don’t need to tell you how terrified I am of becoming geriatric. I have zero tolerance for aches and pains and needing to be in bed by 9 pm. I walked off 28 stitches post-episiotomy in 1992. If there’s a fireball to be consumed, I’m there. Or a margarita, hell, I won’t discriminate. Yes, a bad example for my kids I absolutely can but shouldn’t be.

Tonight, I also wonder if that night three years ago when after a high school class reunion of years that could barely be counted on both my hands and feet, when I landed backwards in the shrubbery at my parents’ back door, wasn’t just a promise to myself that I will never ever grow old.

No heating pads for me. No watching the clock. No calculating what I can and cannot eat because the hands on the clock have crossed over a certain threshold and my bladder and other internal body parts, you know, have their limits.

Chocolate after 10 pm? Bring. It. on. Wine right up until I lay my head upon my pillow? Yes, please. Depends, so I don’t dribble on my thong? NO. Warm milk at 2 a.m. so I can finally fall asleep? Never. Flashlight for 3 a.m. treks to the bathroom. Geez, extinguish that obnoxious light.

So, I am putting the world on notice. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Tonight I have never, ever been more certain that I need more ridiculous than boring in my life. Please. Bring. It. On. I’m ready even if my aging momma isn’t.

For more stories please visit www.middlelifemadness.com

Photo Credit: “Is That Your Car?” – A Woman In A Porsche 911
Motoristablog.com 08/17/13


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  1. James Warren October 5, 2015

    Great story! “I need more ridiculous than boring in my life.” Those are words to live by!


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