Monday, March 06, 2006

How to Stay Young

Today the light catches in squares
Flutters, intangible
Precarious, was I
trying to climb the stair?
No--just get somewhere
Pretty Lady was out dancing recently, with a group of wonderful friends and acquaintances. At least, Pretty Lady was dancing; her friends and acquaintances were out with her. Pretty Lady can be like that.

At one point, late in the evening, Pretty Lady was conversing with the younger brother of a friend of hers, and casually dropped the information that she had been pursuing her current profession for, well, eighteen years. The sweet young gentleman was sufficiently flabbergasted, to blurt, "Either you started when you were three, or you look really, really young."

Gauche, perhaps, but charming.
We begin
By counting the fractions
between full and empty
and half full
Truthfully, she doesn't like to brag, and up until that evening it had not occurred to her to wonder about such things. She is deeply fond of the poem, 'Desiderata,' which includes the line 'Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.' Grace and surrender are two of her very favorite things, so she doesn't often worry about aging.
Do I have to die
to be born?

Then bury me now
Fasten me down
Bury me now
Here in the ground
However, particularly after watching the Oscars yesterday evening (congratulations, beautiful Reese! I was cheering aloud!) it occurs to her that people might, just might, be interested in knowing How She Does It. Before going out and spending their retirement incomes on face-creams advertised by Andie MacDowell, that is. So.

Pretty Lady's Prescription for Prolonged (but not eternal) Youth

1) Do yoga.

2) Like your life.

3) Love as many people as possible.

1) is, of course, self-explanatory. Consult your local yellow pages for a studio near you.

2) perhaps requires a bit of elaboration. "Liking your life" does not mean "evading your responsibilities." We cannot all lounge on beaches in Tahiti our whole lives. The beaches would get crowded, and we would all get melanomas.

However, we can be careful about choosing which responsibilities to incur--and in re-examining those responsibilities ever so often.

For example, one's job. Doing mindless, pointless, unproductive tasks day after day will make a person grow droopy black pouches under the eyes. Fluorescent lights cause depression, and have been anecdotally linked to pancreatic cancer. Off-gassing from industrial carpeting does terrible things to the complexion, as well as to the lungs.

Am I making myself clear?

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you are working at a profession you loathe, you are wasting your life. Retirement age is far too long to wait; by the time you get there, you will not only have the complexion of a walnut, but the soul of one, too.

"But I need the money," you say. Piffle. Pack a lunch, save up, start your own business. Don't bother Pretty Lady with the details.

How do you choose when to lay it all down?
How do you choose when to drown?

Then, of course, there is 3), which cannot be underestimated.

Pretty Lady cannot at all understand people who hang out with those they dislike. Don't they know that spite, malice, envy and distrust create those deep, vertical creases at the edges of their thinning lips? Also those loose wattles at the neck and jawline, also rheumatoid arthritis? One would think that vanity alone would prevent such tragedies.

Pretty Lady's world is made up, largely, of four categories of people: those she loves, those she loves a lot, those she loves inordinately, and those she avoids. She still usually loves the people she avoids, but they got spiteful with her, and, sadly, she had to let them go. Her deepest source of guilt is those people she loves inordinately--she feels that this is terribly unfair to those people she only loves a lot, but it just happened that way. If it is any consolation, she tends to have more dramatic fallings-out with the inordinate set.

However, it needs to be understood that if Pretty Lady doesn't love you, she doesn't waste her time on you. If she responds to your letter, she is fond of you. If she posts to your website, she is fond of you. If she sleeps with you, takes care of your child, spends four hours on the phone with you, sends a Christmas present, helps you move, crashes on your couch for a month, throws you a birthday party, invites you to dinner, guess what? She kind of likes you, she supposes.

Thus, when Pretty Lady finally notices signs of pettiness, spite, envy and malice against her, in one of those she so adores (it usually takes awhile) she is shocked. Why in the world would these people want to risk their health and beauty by being near her? She is careful, then, to get away as fast as possible, for their own sakes.

--lyrics courtesy of Rosin Coven

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Why in the world would these people want to risk their health and beauty "

True. There's already enough negatives in the world without choosing to hang with anything less than the most life reinforcing people. Life is short, even for those who age slowly and gracefully.