I think the real issue here is that I can’t stand it that I have to die some day. This has bothered me in one way or another since I was about 12 years old. I remember very vividly lying on my father and mother’s bed – they were still married at the time – and looking down at my hand. My parents had one of those old-style white chenille bedspreads that we all used to have before Pottery Barn made coordinating Hawaiian folk quilts match with 16 different photo frames and the exact right scented candles. I am actually expecting boring white chenille to come back into style, this time with its very own candle. But we’re not there yet. Chenille at the moment seems to be imprisoned at Penney’s and Walmart.
In any case, I remember looking down at my 12 year old hand and thinking to myself, “Some day this will be the hand of an old lady.” Sure enough, I was right. I am 52 now. And my hands are showing signs of old lady-ness. Visible tendons, prominent veins, spots I can’t in good conscience pretend are freckles. I’m not all the way to what my 12 year old self worried about. But I’m closing in.
I suppose I shouldn’t mind. Fancy celebrities who get to wear the oddest things and make money for playing pretend get old lady hands too. It’s not the hands. That’s the thing. It’s the part that comes next. The part where one day we close our eyes and don’t open them. I think that’s the problem. I can’t reconcile that with the extraordinary reality of being alive.