Entering the golden age is best done in style.
Amour Propre: some call it vanity; I call it self-esteem. In this day and age when we’re living longer, retaining a bit of panache is essential if you want to continue on with any sense of self-worth. After all, if you’re not proud of yourself, how can you expect others to keep in awe of your fabulous being?
What got me thinking this way was a recent encounter with an elderly gentleman I saw on the street the other day. His entire being reeked of old age. Rusty hairs tumbled out of his nose and fought for space in his ears, a powdery stubble patched his pallid cheeks, what hair remained on his head was unkempt and greasy, his eyebrows as bushy as unsightly as two overweight caterpillars. The faded shirt he wore fit him where it hit him, way too large for his boney body. Pleated at the waist, his khaki pants were stained with, what looked like, the sauce of last week's supper. Vapors smelling of scorched rayon and urine trailed behind him. Hunched forward as if carrying the weight of the world, his dulled eyes had the resigned look of someone on his way to meet the grim reaper.
The saddest thing of all was, I knew this man was just as old as I am!
Before you judge me for judging him: I didn’t really see this man on the street at all. You see, he is the main character in my own worst nightmare, an ever-present image of what I would look like if I simply threw self-care to the wind and gave up caring about what I looked like.
So, I have made a vow this won't happen to me now that I'm dancing along the silver-lining of maturity. I am doing my best to keep up my outward and inward appearances so people and spirits continue seeing me in a positive light, still responding to me in a positive way, still acknowledging my existence.
Whether they are or not, is inconsequential. I think they are and that’s the important thing.
One of the big secrets I discovered for my happiness now and forevermore, was learning to love myself. Hard enough in my youth, getting more and more difficult as a get older. So, why should I make it next to impossible by presenting a sloppy, run-down rendition of myself to the world around me?
It's what's inside that counts.
As a kid, I often heard people say, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’
I believed it.
Until the Kardashians came alone.
Let's face it: the world has changed. People do judge books by their covers. So, in the present age, I’d be a fool if I thought the old adage still applied. The truth is, in a world of the rapidly decreasing attention span, the first impression better be a good one or no one will stick around to read the book.
You say: I shouldn’t be so concerned about what other people think of me.
I say: I know I shouldn’t, but until I’m enlightened, I still do. So, when someone looks at me on the street, judges my book by its appearance, and gives me a smile or a nod for my efforts, it makes me feel good and, when I feel good, it’s so much easier to love myself.
Outside of all this, I think the whole resistance to keeping yourself in tip-top shape has a lot to do with leaving the confines of your comfort zone, (where, we all know, life is really happening).
We all know the story: It's so comfortable not to have to shit, shower, and shave every morning. (Well, at least the last two!) It’s also a lot easier not to bring up thoughts about what you’re going to wear before you go out to buy a six-pack of beer and a bottle of Tequila. Eating healthfully and/or looking your best is not always easy.
Keeping up a good appearance means leaving the comfort zone for a few minutes.
Smiling at people on the street and sitting up straight when you meditate means leaving it for longer and longer periods of time.
Doing a daily yoga routine, going to the gym, or trying to forgive assholes are all so far away from the comfort zones as love from fear.
Again: Life is happening outside the comfort zone.
But just think about how much more fabulous you will feel when your vehicle is washed, waxed, and smelling like auto-freshener!
Please don't wait until your vehicle is so run down you have to get it towed away to the junkyard. Waiting for a new car can be more tedious than fixing up the one you have. Believe me! I've done it... 17,360 times. (Give or take a few incarnations.)