I haven’t had much to say lately, sorry. I always hit a funky spell around the middle of December, made all the worse this year by some stress fractures in my foot since early November. It’s not good for me to attend my annual Funk Fest and not be able to run, let’s just say that. Didn’t think you’d want to hear about it. Am I right?
Oh, and then there’s my upcoming birthday: The big Six-Oh-No.
No doubt about it. 60 is a pretty big number. 50 was a big number too, but 60 makes 50 seem like a half marathon instead of a full marathon. Let’s be honest: 60 is the youth of old age. So, that’s the good news; I’m going to be young again!
The minute you turn 50, in case you don’t already know this, you’ll get bombarded by monthly, if not weekly, mail from AARP and a fly-by-night-hearing-aid provider. This is not so bad, as long as you have a decent recycling program in your neighborhood. And that’s about it.
But when you turn 60, everybody wants a piece of you. Walgreen’s is absolutely sure that you should get a Shingles vaccination immediately. Your general practitioner becomes even more obsessed with the inside of your colon and other delicate areas. And you will spend more time at your dermatologist’s office than with your young grandchildren. (Where was that doc when I was laying on a diving board in my teens, slathered in Baby Oil, reading Slaughterhouse Five, with aluminum foil under my legs? Anyone?)
But worst thing of all, about approaching 60, is the sudden realization that I am no longer Dewy.
Most of you probably don’t even know what the hell I am talking about, and good for you. By “Dewy,” I mean the look that young, supple faces have…moist, bright-eyed, pink-cheeked, perky, and well, mostly, YOUNG. As we age, or at least as women age, skin care companies’ latest ploy is to convince us that we now look dried-up and pallid, all of which could be mostly remedied by applying expensive facial Dewy products (my name, not theirs). But I don’t hear Kevin Costner, Richard Gere, or Liam Neeson complaining about not being dewy. Hell, they can grow facial hair if they want to and avoid the whole issue (oh wait, so can I now…that’s of little solace).
Sitting may be the new smoking, but Age is the new Fat, except that it’s impossible to fix. Dewy-ness dies with age, sad to say.
Apparently, in our youth-obsessed culture, it’s a crime to no longer be Dewy. After decades of oily skin and T-zones running amok, all of the non-Dewy makeup you’ve been wearing since the 80s is now drying up like fall leaves and settling in these new crevices you’ve acquired from your job/spouse/kids/parents/life.
So, faking youthful Dewy-ness is apparently the key to the Facial Fountain of Youth. What the exact amount of Dewy-ness is required to turn back the clock to a youthful level, I’m not sure. Faking Dewy-ness is no small feat. Exfoliation is necessary, which I have never wrapped my head around. To date, my extensive skin care regimen has included Irish Spring bar soap, followed by Lubriderm. Did I miss a memo somewhere? And it also turns out that those pores that I have been careful to keep large and supple are now the kiss of Dewy’s death. Who knew?
You can’t just buy a bottle of light beige Dewy, slather it on your face, and run out the door, looking 30 again. After the dreaded exfoliation, there’s under-eye concealer, a magical combination of liquid, Dewy foundation combined with a Dewy moisturizer, crème blusher, a mysterious “highlighter” substance which contains minerals not found in the Periodic Chart, and special under-eye Dewy cream. And don’t even get me started on the nighttime regimen…
Oh, and by the way, has anyone seen my eyebrows? Nope; that hair has travelled south to my chin and other locations that I need a funhouse mirror to see. So, on top of everything else, now we have to figure out how to get those youthful eyebrows back without looking like Brooke Shields on a very, very bad day. This is complicated stuff.
Short of having Bobbi Brown on speed-dial, the beauty fanatics claim to have shortcuts for looking Dewy, like one article from the UK about how to get the look in a mere three minutes, during your 15-minute makeup regimen (15 minutes? Really? That long?). And I can look like this in just three minutes?
There’s coconut oil, Royal Jelly, good ol’ Vaseline, and something called Marula oil. Good thing I don’t have satin sheets; I’d slide right out of bed. Screw it; I’m going to slather on the Lubriderm and curl up with the dogs instead.
So, dare I ask: Where does Dewy stop? Shouldn’t my ears need to look Dewy too? How the hell do I do that? I am not, repeat, not putting Royal Jelly on my ears. And don’t even get me started on my neck; Nora Ephron already covered that in her seminal work: I Feel Bad About My Neck (which should be required reading for all women in their 30s and beyond):
I think I’ll just take a page from Diane Keaton’s playbook and buy a dozen turtlenecks. There. Done. And by the way, I do not want to see any more photos of Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep. That’s just cruel.
In case you’re taking notes, once you figure out the Dewy thing, you’re also supposed to embrace your Inner Gray. Granted, there are many women in this world (including my very own mother, whose genes, alas, I did not inherit) who have stunning gray hair and look great au naturel. And then there are the rest of us. At this point in my life, my natural hair color resembles all of the colors found in the post-Thanksgiving dish water. Got it? Sorry, I’ll give you a minute to wipe that image out of your mind.
But for god’s sake, isn’t there more to 60 than worrying about your looks?
I’ve tried to find inspiration about being 60 from older Boomer bloggers, but have found that most of them are either curmudgeons, exhausted caregivers, or grandmas who think everything their grandchildren do is fascinating. Of course, there are some older female runner/bloggers who make me feel pretty whiny and wimpy, and that’s a good thing. And there are also some great writing blogs to urge me out of my rut. But most of the 60+ Boomer blogs I’ve read seem to have given up, not only on being Dewy, but on being excited about life at all. Pity that. I’m not saying they don’t have their reasons; I just only want to hear the good stuff. I’m like that. I prefer happy endings, thank you.
My friends who are 70+ just laugh, roll their eyes and make another martini, ready to settle in for the duration of my whining. My friends who are 60+ already have little patience for my 60-based angst; instead, they tell me how their 60s have been the best decade of their lives, and change the subject. My friends who are 50+ have that deer-in-the-headlights look and know their time is coming, but the memories of their 40s are still fresh enough to win out. And my friends who are 40+ just look at me like maybe I could have been their mom, but not quite.
The countdown clock over my head ticks loudest in the middle of the night, when my monkey mind is fueled by afternoon espresso and has nothing good to say. I tell it that I should be grateful to be alive and in good health. I may not be Dewy, but there are still plenty of things I am going to do in the years to come.
I tell my monkey mind to think about Oprah; if she can turn 60 with grace, so can I. Of course, she has the additional advantages of bazillions of dollars, a personal chef, and her own makeup and hair team, but who needs that anyway. I’ve got enough funds for a quart of Oil of Olay, a large kitchen, some well-used Velcro rollers, and a bunch of samples from old Clinique gift sets. So, I’m good.
In less than two weeks, you’ll be hearing more about how I celebrated my 60th, with close family and good friends…and more.
Until then, I’ll leave you with this wisdom from Woody Allen:
“I recently turned 60. Practically a third of my life is over.”
Thanks for reading. I know how busy you are.