Thursday, January 4, 2007

Mardi Gras

Dressing in costume and pretending to be someone else is always fun. And it seems to me that our bodies, as we age, are rather like “costumes” that hide our true identity. We look in mirrors and are shocked to see our reflections. Who is this woman staring back at me?

Recently I visited a close friend of mine who is recovering from knee replacement surgery. I met her when she was younger, slim and blonde and energetic. Now, she was lying on the couch with an ice pack on her knee, seventy-five with grey hair and not so svelte and not so energetic. We chatted about the changes that occur as we grow older—the inevitable physical changes—and the change in the way that others treat us. We talked about the frustration of being treated differently. I looked at my friend and laughed to myself remembering the hot biker chick that lived inside her aging body. The blond bombshell that commuted to work on her motorcycle. It was then that I came to the conclusion that “old” people, those of us who no longer look like we used to, are wearing “costumes” just like we used to on Halloween. And sometimes our costumes are so convincing that we don’t even recognize ourselves.

I have always loved costume parties. I love being someone else for a few hours. As a child I loved playing “Let’s pretend”. As a woman growing older I have decided to go for the prize of “Best Costume!” To be amused when others fail to see the young woman who is wearing the costume. I am going to revel in the adventure of growing older as if it were a celebration like Mardi Gras. I bet I’ll get a lot of attention!

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