Growing Old, Gratefully

Sunny Frazier 5Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about how getting older doesn’t bother her in the least.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, was released on January 24, 2015.   //


“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”

The Beatles asked that 50 years ago, and here I am, ready to turn 64 in three weeks. No, I don’t feel despondent about that, I love all my birthdays. I was born on Flag Day and my father once lifted me on his broad shoulders, pointed to the flags displayed all down our street, and said, “They put the flags out for your birthday, Sunny.” I believed him.

My mother hated growing old, resented every wrinkle and crows foot. I think when you are born beautiful it must be harder to see beauty fade. Perhaps she grasped too tight to hold on through makeup and youth creams. I was born adequately attractive. More brains than actual beauty. It’s easy to fool the eye with the right lipstick and blush as long as you don’t fool yourself.

I like myself at this age. I’ve cut my hair very short, no longer buying into the long-hair-is-beautiful myth. Old long hair looks dry and slightly silly when the face doesn’t match. My hairdresser doesn’t give me what he calls “helmet hair.” My cut has some sass to it and I always have bangs. They cover forehead wrinkles.

They also cover my eyebrows. I’ve never tweezed since they’ve never been seen. I look at eyebrows now and am aghast at the way they are drawn onto faces. It unnerves me. How much work does that take? Where did the real ones go? Same with artificial eyelashes. Mine are so long they smudge my glasses and I can’t wear mascara. How much work are fake eyelashes to put on? Why would you want them?

I love my glasses. They hide dark circles under the eyes and crows feet. Contacts can’t do that. I get a little more adventurous with every new pair. This year it’s purple frames with a bit of silver scrollwork on the sides and a few rhinestones. They make me smile. I think my happiness translates to others.

Some women my age pack on makeup with the idea it makes them look younger. What it really does is accent the wrinkles. I don’t understand why anyone would willingly inject botox into those well-earned lines. I use sheer foundation now, just thankful that my skin no longer breaks out. I have to resist trying flaming colors and iridescent eye shadows, which just looks like I’m trying too hard to keep up with teenagers. The black cat-eye liner? Been there, done that 40 years ago, around the time I wore go-go boots and mini skirts.

I have been single all but 7 years of my life. I think I put out a positive message of the single, childless woman as someone to be admired. I thrive best when I’m alone. Marriage was a strange state to me. Even though I’m still besties with the ex, I’m glad he’s found his rock ‘n roll heart, glad it came with tattoos after the divorce. Nobody tells me how many cats I can have and, after 11, it’s safe to say I’ve claimed the title of Crazy Cat Lady. But, I’ve never shelled out for a college education for them or sent them into rehab after too much catnip. They haven’t learned to dial Child Protective Services or the SPCA when I toss them out to the yard so I can write in peace.

My aging friends worry about flabby upper arms. They go to the gym to tone up. Me, I have trackmarks like a junkie and bruises on my right arm. Dialysis not only stops me from being self-conscious, I wear my unsightly arm like war wounds. I’m battling for my life here.

A Snitch in TimeSpeaking of illness, that seems to be the favored topic of people over 60. I suppose it’s the common denominator of aging. However, it’s hard for me to listen to minor complaints of intestinal problems, food issues, hospitalizations, headaches, fatigue and allergies, real or imagined. I’m not all about one-upping anybody, but seriously? You want to complain to me? Give me a kidney and shut up already! I hang out three days a week, three hours a day with people depending on needles and tubes to stay alive. The one thing we don’t do is complain about our health! We laugh, we share, we’re in this together.

One thing I never anticipated was being a “lady who lunches.” Yet, I have my groups and we do exactly that, once a month. I have Sisters-in-Crime, Lemoore Women’s Club and Retired Sheriff’s Ladies. Inbetween are individual lunch dates with girlfriends. They are exciting women, thriving after retirement, and so much more interesting than dates I’ve been on in the past. They are also supportive of my writing career and cheer me on from one success to the next.

I choose to enjoy the aging process. No, I embrace it. I don’t want to emulate my mother and mourn my youth. It was fun, crazy, adventurous and it’s in the past. I love my reward of Now and look forward to whatever the future holds.