In less than 8 weeks, I will be 38 years old. I tell everyone I'm turning 40 because that announcement seem to elicit a gush of compliments, No way, you're gonna be 40? Omg, you don't look it at all! But when I become truthful and admit that on the first day of March I will be 38, the response is a bit different. Are you doing anything special?
I remember meeting a 32 year old when I was 17. I thought she looked 50 and now when I see her pictures at that time, I realize that indeed, she looked 32. I was young and anyone with crow's feet was old and old could never accompany beauty; they were antonyms of each other. I look at teenagers with disdain now. I think to myself, I know what some of you brats are thinking but one day you too will wake up and wonder why your chin is sagging as you gather loose strands of hair from the sink in pure panic!
If you've been following my blog you know by now that Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is supposedly the ultimate Virtuous Woman. That is comforting considering that even at 60 she had kings and princes after her. I often wonder if she just aged beautifully and really, really slowly or if she took some measures to staying beautiful. The woman in Proverbs 31 sure sounds like she was aware of beauty---she arrayed herself in linen and lavender colors. I mean, she was amazing in every area imaginable but she also knew the importance of being beautiful.
But really, who has time for facials, manis and pedis, and the salon?
Being a Virtuous Woman has this added pressure of self-care, of maintaining one's outward display of beauty. Left up to me, I would simply pride myself with the beauty of "wisdom" that age provides. I would walk around unbathed, go to the supermarket in oversized sweats, and never wash my hair. Honestly, I can forgo the Halle Berry look but between the high blood pressure and the arthritis and the really crappy mornings, beauty has had to redefine itself. And really, I don't want to use getting older as an excuse to neglect myself all together. Why should I constantly resent all these young celebrities on television that remind me that 40 is really not the new 20?
And so, tired of waking up every morning groaning as my joints crack and squeak and complain, mocking the absence of teenage youth, I have bought Billy Blanks Tae Bo on ebay. How To Get Celebrity Fit.
It is a one hour exercise video that I started last night, committed to looking young and sensational, even if it kills me. This is the modern day version of the Virtuous Woman's"linen and lavender." Trimmed abs and a youthful silhouette. I was pumped. I did the punches, the kicks, the jumping jacks. I could see Billy Blanks. I could hear Billy Blanks. I was one with Billy Blanks.
I lasted 11.53 minutes. I was gasping, sweating, and looking for my asthma pump.
That's it? My husband asked. I sneered at Mr. P90X with his buffed arms and pecs and told him that I was pacing myself. 11 minutes the first night, 15 minutes the next, then 20, so on and so forth.
The reason why I couldn't do it tonight is because every joint in my body is aching, even that of my right pinky. But there's always tomorrow night. I will be sure to wear lighter clothing and to keep my asthma pump nearby.
The thing about being beautiful for me is that it does not want to come along easily on this uphill climb to age and so, I resent it. I never knew that growing old gracefully meant panting like a dog in front of a video and hoping you didn't pull too many muscles, or that beauty and misery were very good friends. I have a feeling that Sarah did not need Tae Bo but she also did not have to stress over super sized fast foods, air pollution, and Brooklyn drivers.
But alas I am aiming for the Virtuous Woman so I must be beautiful and achieve the "linen and lavender." And for me that means showering daily, cutting back on sodium, brownie deprivation, and a long lasting relationship with Billy Blanks.