The Law of Gravity


It was Christmas time, filled with glee and the promise of a new year; I always want to contact friends, especially those that I haven't seen in a long time.
I imagine what they look like if I haven't been in touch. How they've aged, if they are heavy or thin, healthy or ill, what hands' life has dealt them.  It fills my heart with joy to hear their voices, because whether or not they have aged 'gracefully', they remain the same to me. 
A close and long-time friend told me she had lunched with a mutual friend. "Denise, you would never recognize Dean, he is all bent over." Yes, I was saddened to hear this about my dear friend Dean, but you know what? When I spoke to him at Christmas, he was the same, funny man I remember in his youth. Still witty, charming and fun. Nothing had changed, we could pick up on the phone where we left off 37 years ago. 
I am not convinced one can actually age 'gracefully'. 
There is no doubt this is my personal goal, but I can't control the gene factor. For example, how to control a sagging neck, or how many smile lines will etch my face. Whenever I catch myself being vain, (pulling on my neck to make it smooth), I always stop myself and think:

Geez, how lucky I am to feel wonderful and have my health. Yes, I know it is a cliche, but so true. 
I live in an apartment complex with Section 8 people, some critically ill - most younger than I - with chronic illnesses. One neighbor confided: "You know, when I was diagnosed with MS, I found out at work. I remember getting up from my office chair and walking out." 
Apparently, so shocked and saddened by this horrible news she made her exit and never returned. 
As far as aging 'gracefully', is it overrated? 
I suppose if I were independently wealthy, I might have the nip and tuck done here and there. We can never control other issues. For example, what about my hands? Anybody can look at hands and usually tell the person's age. You can't hide it for long. Those lucky enough to have completely smooth and youthful hands may be stricken with arthritis. 
Americans' are the vainest of all countries. No country in the world puts such a huge premium on weight and appearances. Could this account for all the depression, anxiety and neurosis we have? 
While I don't want to look like 20 miles of back country road, I am going to make an honest effort and look at myself in the mirror and repeat my new mantra: 
"The old gray mare ain't what she used to be" but she ain't bad looking at all!