My husband went to the bookstore this weekend and brought me back one of these:
It wasn’t exactly an impulse purchase, since he already owned one of these:
Now you may be asking yourself why he bought me a copy of a book he already owned, but of course the answer is staring you in the face: he bought me the women’s edition of this book. How do we know it’s the women’s edition? It’s in pink! Why can’t women read the yellow book? Because it’s not pink, silly! You can’t expect us to pay attention to something that’s not in our color! Yellow is so . . . gender-neutral. It’s just not going to attract our attention!
Oops, got to stop writing so I can go buy some expensive shoes! I’m a female you know! I like pink and expensive shoes!
Okay, maybe I sound a little bitter about this whole book thing. It’s not just the fact that the writers and editors felt that a book whose advice (from what I’ve read so far and heard from my husband–and I’ve heard a LOT from my husband about this book) is “exercise a lot, eat kind of healthfully and have lots of strong community and family ties to stay healthy into your 80’s” felt that women couldn’t absorb the message without a pink wrapping. It’s also that . . . how can I put this?
I don’t want to be younger next year.
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. I do, in some ways. I’d like to get my pre-birthing-four-kids waist back. And it would be nice if my hair didn’t need dye to stay brown. And I miss my old metabolism, the one that could work off a lot more french fries than it can now. And it would be nice not to have aches pop up after any new activity.
But, hell, I’ve been looking forward to sliding into old age. That’s right–to sliding into it. Not fighting it. Not resisting it. Not outsmarting it. I want to slide lazily and slowly and easily into the last chapter of my life.
See, I’m tired. I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life and I have a lot more left to fight. I’m still ambitious and I still want to look halfway decent when I get dressed up. But I figure that as time goes by, I’ll get to fight less and fret less. I’ll accept my thickening waist and go for the “I give up” comfort clothing preferred by grandmas everywhere. (Not housecoats, though. I’m not going for housecoats. But, you know . . . Chico’s. Eileen Fisher. That kind of thing. Not horribly unsophisticated, just a choice of comfort over chic.) If at some point in my old age I want to spend a lazy day or a lazy year eating toast and reading a book, I will, because after decades of raising kids and running a house and trying to keep a writing career afloat, I’ll have earned the right to do just as I please.
I don’t want to have to exercise harder than I ever have before. I don’t want to avoid junk food. (Note: my dad’s 84 and he scarfs down cheesecake. Now that’s how to age.) I don’t want to wake up and think, “Am I younger than I was yesterday? I mean, in a good, physical way, not a Depends kind of way?” I don’t want to fight anything anymore–not even aging.
I just want to go gentle into that good night. Gently, imperceptibly, slowly, slothfully, elegantly.
I’ve been looking forward to the gorgeous self-indulgence of old age. I’m not there yet–I’ve got a few more good years left in me. But the idea that I’ll get to be sinfully and deliciously lazy one day is like a beacon lighting my way. It’s one of the reasons I don’t actually mind getting older: it’ll buy me some rest. And self-acceptance.
And now he wants me to fight against that?
I know my husband meant well. He wants us to have a long happy life together. He cares about my health. He cares about me. And I appreciate all of that. Nonetheless . . .
I know where he can put his pretty pink book.