I must have done something sneaky and underhanded in a previous life. I’m just about convinced of it, now.

How do I know? Here’s how:

A couple of weeks ago I was crowing on this blog about having lost a substantial amount of weight. For the first time in more years than I want to admit, I actually have a waist. My clothes (the few I have that fit the smaller me) hang nicely. My arms don’t stick out from my sides like the hapless, snowSeniorCitizenCartoonsuit-clad little brother’s in the “Christmas Story” anymore. I can bend over and pick up the cat without puffing.

I’m delighted. Believe me.

But the other morning, as I was standing in front of the mirror attempting to apply mascara without my glasses, I noticed that I have creases around my eyes and at the corners of my mouth. Laugh lines, say you. Don’t worry about those! They show character! They indicate a good sense of humor. Well, that’s true, but my laugh lines have now grown laugh lines. I look like someone grafted miniature quilts around my eyes.

Those wrinkles – for I must call them what they are – weren’t there last fall. Nor were my high, Scandahoovian cheekbones, but I’m not going to complain about their reappearance. No, last fall my face was much rounder and heavier. My wrinkles were plumped out with a generous layer of subcutaneous fat, so they weren’t visible. I was quite tubby, but I looked younger than I am.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t panic. In fact, I remarked to myself how much my wrinkles resemble my mother’s and my late grandmother’s wrinkles. It’s those genes. It’s obvious that I’m getting older, but I’d like to think I’m doing it with dignity and grace, the kind that a little mascara and eyebrow pencil can enhance.

This morning I had blood drawn for my rheumatologist at the VA med center and had a doctor’s appointment, as well. When I weighed in and did the usual blood pressure and temperature check, the nurse commented on my weight loss since my last visit, which made me smile, and then asked if I’d like to get a seasonal flu shot, since I was there. Sure, I said, but do I really need one?

“You’re taking immunosuppressent drugs for rheumatoid arthritis,” she said calmly.  “You can’t fight the virus off real well.” And then, deadpan, “You’re over 50, anyway. You’d be smart to have it.”

Oh. Well. Can’t argue with that. I nodded, gave up, and in due course, got jabbed.

On my way home I stopped at Borders to pick up a magazine I’d been wanting and had a cup of coffee. It was still fairly early – just about 9 a.m. – and I was feeling good. It’s a beautiful cool, sunny day. So I decided to check out the Ross store down the way and see if I could find some decent-looking slacks, ones that fit my recently reduced caboose.

I didn’t find any slacks, but I did find a nice carry-on satchel for $14.99. We’re flying to Oklahoma at the end of the month for a family reunion, and I was pondering buying one, anyway. I didn’t want to spend much on it; it’s not like I’m a frequent flyer or anything. But this was a good deal.

The 12-year-old at the register rang me up. “That’s $11.99,” she said as I took my wallet out.

“Oh! I didn’t see a sale sign,” I said, smiling. “Cool!”

She gave me a level look. “It’s Senior Discount Tuesday,” she said.

“But…” I bit my tongue. Never argue with a discount. I had seen the big banners slung across the front windows advertising the senior discount in two-foot-high red letters when I entered the store, but I wasn’t old enough to take advantage of it. Or so I thought.

I drove home, alternately chuckling and grinding my teeth. After months and months – even years – of mindful eating and exercise, I’ve finally reached a healthy weight and I’m confident that I can lose those last, sticky 20 pounds as well. I’ve learned – and proven to myself – that I can keep the weight off. I look and feel better than I have in a decade or more.

But now I also look like a senior citizen.



5 Responses to “Payback”

  1. I always thought the cashiers weren’t suppose to volunteer their senior discounts to anyone who didn’t forthrightly claim it. I understand the pain of wrinkles and aging. I starting graying when I was in my early 30s. Now, in my 57th year, I am almost entirely white-haired. It’s hard to imagine myself young-ish, with this silvery crown.

    I think congratulations are in order on your weight loss, wren. A few wrinkles aren’t too high a price for better health. Good for you!

  2. I’ve seen the photos of yourself you’ve posted, Robin, and I think your long, silvery-white hair is beautiful. Thanks for the congrats — it took me a long time to discover that I could actually do this. And I’m not terribly upset over the wrinkles — my improved health truly is worth it. :o)

  3. As the scientists say “entropy happens”. I noticed that after my 45th birthday it seemed to be patch, patch, patch – that was a very long time ago. As you stated, the wrinkles vs. the pounds was a trade – but with probable better health in the future it is likely worth it.

    Keep your good attitude and remember that a good overall appearance at fifty feet away will not show crow’s feet.

  4. I feel far more persons will need to read this, very good info.

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