• Carmen Milligan

I have bat wings

I noticed when I was working out with my trainer, working on bicep curls, there was a ... spillage ... of skin on the back of my arms resting on the pad of the weight machine. Just kind of pooling. It was shocking. I'd never seen it on myself before.

Old woman bat wings.

There are some things I knew would happen, like my boobs sagging and gray hair. But I am shocked and amazed at what I didn't see coming. Like gray pubic hair. Makes sense that it would turn gray, too, right? Totally shocked me. The other thing that I must have known in the back of my mind was going to happen, but still caught me off-guard the first time I noticed it: crepe-y hands. I have seen the hands of older women my whole life, and noticed that the skin on the tops of their hands was no longer smooth. Now that's me. The last thing I will point out that surprised me is that I am getting jowly. I have always had a square jawline, and with my face losing that wonderful collagen, my face is sagging. Jowls. Lips kind of turned a tiny bit down at the corners, weighed down by my jowls.

<Sigh> I've long known my primetime is past, and have accepted that. I remember saying to my mom in my 40s, "This is the best I'm ever going to be, isn't it?" "Yep", was her reply. She knew what I meant. I meant body-wise. Things were about to start happening, and when they started happening, it was a little fast and furious.

On the other hand, I have earned these gray hairs, both upstairs and down. My face is beautiful just the way it is because it has lived through fifty-five years of joy, sorrow, surprise, disappointment, anger, contentment, laughter, and tears. There is a story to every line and furrow. There is a season behind every wrinkle on my hands. Hands that have held my newborn sons, hugged away tears, scratched my mom's back (Lord! She loves to have her back scratched!), written countless pages of varied notes and letters, planted flowers, washed cars, open and closed countless jars ... well, you get the idea.

The idea is to not disdain these changes, but embrace them. There should be something beautiful about getting older, and bearing witness to the change in our bodies. My mind, ideas, hopes, and dreams all changed through the years, and I wouldn't give anything for that. And so, as long as I am reasonably healthy, I am going to likewise embrace the aging of my body. It is a journey worth embracing.

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