Women of yesterday politely kept secrets from the next generation of females. For example, the pain of childbirth was undisclosed. The truth was hidden under a shroud of secrecy with statements such as "there may be a little pain but as soon as you see the baby you completely forget it". My first child is 25 years old and I still remember the excruciating pain as he repeatedly banged his enormous head that was attached to a 10 1/2 pound body against something inside of me that would not let him out. His forehead had a very large unnatural dent in it that did not come without a great deal of pain within me. I will never forget the pain of child birth. Was it worth it? Absolutely-but the pain is like nothing you have ever felt before. Logically, something of that size, coming out of something THAT size is not an easy feat. It hurts and you never forget it. Secret disclosed.
I was not mentally prepared for childbirth because I was not armed with the truth. Certainly, the pain would have been the same, but if I knew more of what to expect when that humongous belly decided it was coming out of that little orifice all at once, maybe I could have mentally handled it better. There's only so much dilation, effacing and otherwise stretching one can expect from a body part of that size. I think it is only right for the next generation to know this. I also feel it is my moral duty to inform the next generation of women 10 things your mother may not tell you about aging....
1. If you have birthed a child, you know all too well that immediately after that amazing feat your brain turns into oatmeal. Your memory goes and all cognitive processes cease to exist. As your child or children grow, some of what you lost begins to come back but never all of it. Somewhere in your late 40's or early 50's, you lose it forever.
2. All muscles melt like grape jelly in hot water as you age. You can beat yourself to death trying to exercise and keep toned but it's fruitless. Your flesh and what used to be muscles will hang from your bones like well done chicken no matter what you do or what your body type is. It makes no difference if you are fat or thin-when you raise your arms a pair of water balloons will be flapping in the breeze.
3. Your skin turns into one thin shiny layer of phyllo pastry and there are no miracle creams to turn it back into regular skin. You are amazed it doesn't split trying to hold in the gigantic veins that snake across the tops of your hands.
4. Remember how you used to say "I laughed so hard I thought I would pee in my pants!"? When you get older, you actually do.
5. Huge freckles or age spots pop up all over the place. These are also called liver spots and I have no idea why unless it's because they are dark and have irregular shapes like miniature pieces of meat randomly placed around your body. If you are lucky, you will get enough of them clustered together on your arms to look like a tan. If you are not lucky, you are back to the pieces of meat analogy. If they show up on your face and that is not a good look for you, a dermatologist can zap them off. You may want to read The Ambush to make sure you are prepared for that. Horrifically, sometimes a single thick wiry hair unlike you have ever seen on your body or anyone else's for that matter, will grow out of one of these spots. When that happens you just do whatever it takes to annihilate it. Leaving it there is not an option.
6. It doesn't matter if you wore glasses or not prior to aging-seeing becomes a challenge. Typically you lose your night vision to some degree which hopefully curtails some of your driving after the sun goes does. It really doesn't matter because in reality you are too tired to go anywhere after the chickens go to bed. You can't see with or without your glasses so you are continually taking them off or putting them on depending on the task you are doing. Then you lose them. If you never wore glasses you will more than likely need glasses to attempt to focus on things close up. The cheap ones from the dollar store work great and as you lose them it doesn't bother you. The snazzy beaded necklace glasses holders are an optional accessory, but quite practical if you can get beyond the stigma of being the old lady with the glasses necklace. Another option would be purchasing several pairs and placing them around because you will ultimately need them and not be able to find them. It's a fun game you play with yourself all day long, every day.
7. Everything sort of falls and slips as you age. Somewhere during this great migration south, you discover you have developed what is affectionately called "the chicken neck". You will not like "the chicken neck" and no matter how much money you have or how well you research, you will never find chicken neck eradication cream or any kind of neck apparatus to wear to bed to rid yourself of this flaccid goiter that now lives where your neck used to be.
8. Your body revolts against you in the strangest ways as you age. Inevitably, you will begin finding odd attachments to your skin that feel like grains of sand or little pebbles. When you discover the first one, you will have no idea what it is so your instinct tells you to pick at it until you pull it off. These are skin tags and once they start coming they don't stop. Sometimes they are just clear and small like little rocks and other times they look like sideways 3-D freckles that just stick straight out from your skin. Bizarre. When I got my first 3-D sideways one, I decided there was no way it could stay and be my friend. I went to the internet to do some research on this protrusion that really looked like a little flat circle of Playdough hanging oddly from my skin. The best advice given was to tie a piece of thread around the base to stop the blood flow, choke the life out of the little sucker and it would fall off in a couple of days. You may find this surprising, but that was not an option for me. What's really special about these skin tags is they tend to cluster more around areas that may have rubbing from clothes-like your underwear. You haven't lived until you manage to somehow wrap a wayward thread from your bra around a skin tag. When you are ready to whip that bra off, no whipping occurs and you are left with a less than pleasant experience. If you happen to tear the tag off with the whipping of the bra, you will be absolutely amazed at the amount of blood it produces and how long it takes to stop bleeding. After one too many skin tag accidents, I consulted with my physician and she zapped them off easily with a simple freezing gun. They grow back, but I am all for the zapping of these little Playdough pilings.
9. Your teeth break for no apparent reason and it will cost you $1000 each time if you do not have dental insurance. It has nothing to do with biting on the wrong thing like a hard piece of candy. They just are old so they break. My first tooth broke while I was eating vegetable soup. It's a shocking experience, especially if you are out. Ann Landers should write a column on this.
10. For some mysterious reason, you choke alot-on nothing. You can be walking along and all of a sudden you suck your own breath into your windpipe and you nearly choke to death. Or, suddenly your spit has a mind of its own and it jumps down your windpipe and you again nearly choke to death. It's quite embarrassing. There you are talking to a business colleague (always a younger male) like a normal human being and in a split second you're choking like an old crazy lady. He's looking at you aghast as you are backing out of the room making those horrific sucking noises as you are trying to catch your breath. When you see him later and he asks what happened you will not say I choked on my own spit. You will make something up.
These are all things your mother will probably not tell you about aging. Though they sound a little frightening or at the very least strange, it's not so bad. The wonderful thing about aging is you reach an age when you really don't care. It's not in a callous I don't care about myself or others way. It's a fabulous liberating I don't care way. As you lose control of your outside, something amazing happens to your inside. With age comes a confidence of who you are as a person and it is a fabulous feeling. Little things don't matter any more and the important things bubble up to the surface. Getting older is good for you-it means you are living longer. Embrace it and enjoy the ride....
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