Are you afraid of getting old?
I’ve obsessed over my body my entire life. Until I found a very special kind of love.
Here’s a photo of me at 9 years of age. I think that’s around the time I became aware of how important body image was to me.
I never thought I was beautiful. But I can see in this picture I was cute! This photo was taken in 1956, I was 9, well before the internet. I don’t remember any body-shaming or certain ideals that we had to conform to in our era. The insecurity was all inside of me.
I’ve never been an athlete although I danced when I was young — you can see from my ballerina stance. So the physical things that many might miss as they age have never bothered me. But I’ve always been ‘on a diet’ which is a pathetic way to go through life. I’ve never been fat! But again, it’s the feeling of never being enough — pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough — a woman’s insecurity for sure.
At some point in life, I realized I had to find that confidence inside myself to understand and love myself exactly the way I am.
1994 driving across Canada from Montreal to Whistler, BC after losing my fashion business and declaring personal bankruptcy. I have a Ph.D. in Starting Over.
I am not my physical body.
I’m a woman of many talents and lots of heart. I would say that since I was given 6 months to live in 2008, I’ve finally got a grip on my physical self. I stopped angsting over whether I could ski from the top of Blackcomb mountain to the base without stopping — who cares? I stopped worrying about old age because I might not live to experience old age. And I vowed to get a grip on my emotional insecurities and do the things I’d always wanted to do! I made a promise to myself to publish my poetry (the way I journaled my life) and then moved on to write and publish novels. In other words, I made a decision that I would not allow the physical parts of aging to define me. Instead, I would go deeper into what I was born to do, to inspire and motivate myself and others, to spread love and compassion — to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.
People tell me all the time that I am beautiful. I will be 73 in 3 weeks. I hear this more today than ever before in my life. Why? I believe it’s a smile that’s sincere, and a life purpose that shines through my eyes. These are gifts that I’ve earned through years of mistakes and disappointment.
I refuse to dwell in that place of “my body is aging” instead I say “I’m so grateful for second chances.” I’m happy my instincts send me to a doctor when something physical needs attention. But most of all, I give thanks daily for my outlook in life.
I will not allow the actions of others to define my emotional well-being. I’m not saying that’s an easy thing — I’ve worked hard to overcome past pain and current disappointments. I still have a child-like wonder and joy of a world that still has so much to show me, and people I have yet to meet. I will always have places I have to visit even if they are only blocks away from where I live. And I have a curiosity about everything and continue to learn new things daily.
I finally retired from my day job at the end of 2018. I sold everything I owned and bought an airplane ticket with no return destination. I left Mexico where I’d lived for 18 years, celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv, and after I’d traveled for a few months, returned to Istanbul where I am today. Eighteen months ago I didn’t know where Turkey was on the world map!
Curiosity and attitude will truly sustain me and keep me off the ‘pity-party’ wagon as my body ages.
And if my mind goes, so be it — I won’t know what I’m missing anyway!
I only have one question:
If good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught, where will the good girls go when we die?