Worn out welcome? Just getting started…..

It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The
reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.”

― George Sand


STOP!! My husband should be use to that familiar command but for someone reason he still thinks he’s just run over something or someone each time I shout out my need for him to stop. I don’t know why he gets so upset, all I want is for him to stop the car so I can jump out in order to get what seems to be a marvelous picture. Who cares if we’re in the curve of the road, the wrong side of a hill, in a blind spot, or in the middle of traffic—nothing like capturing the moment—if I don’t get the picture NOW, a great opportunity just might pass us by. I don’t understand why he isn’t on my same page with all of this….but I digress as usual.

We were out driving the other day, on some sort of mission of his, when we go sailing past a piece of property that was once home to some sort of arts and crafts yearly festival. Sadly, from the looks of things, that’s been quite a while.

STOP!! I bark out my need. Luckily we were in the middle of no where and he actually complied, imagine that!

As this was in the middle of no where, in the middle of an overgrown woody sort of area, he reminds me of one thing as I bound out of the car, wearing sandals mind you…..”watch for copperheads…” Hummm….yes, well, perhaps a careful tiptoeing over to this one time entrance gate.

Haven’t you ever felt like this thing looks?!—definitely worse for the wear. Maybe I feel a kindred connection to this thing. Moss growing on the roof, my sides, uh- I mean, its sides falling in, the welcome sign faded and skewed, overgrown by the invasive weeds of time complete with trash dumped at its feet. This thing’s got my name written all over it!

I suppose I should feel sad and melancholy, nostalgic for a by-gone heyday of sorts. And yes… the fact that this little booth did once “welcome” people to come enjoy and have a good time.. but is, sadly, now forgotten, abandoned and left to be taken over by Mother Nature…it is all quite dismal but I actually have to smile because this little puppy is actually singing my song.

I see what it was in its glory day. I also see the potential… given a little TLC, a few nails, a few new boards, a little paint, I think the moss on the roof is aesthetically pleasing, albeit not a positive for the workings of a sound shingled roof…but that moss might just as well be the grey laying claim to my hair!!

One person may see a derelict building needing to be torn down, I see hope. “Julie, are you crazy?!” I know, I know …and don’t think I can’t hear you. I’m not saying I need to go in to rescue this booth, this forgotten area of festival making—but I know that I could if I was so inclined.

When I look in the mirror, the face looking back has, well, “aged”. I use to think that I really didn’t look older…but suddenly my eyes look at though they are disappearing. Didn’t I use to have lids? I use to be able to see lashes, I have lashes, right?—are they shrinking or just falling out, or both?

When we were in Chicago a few weeks back, we had wandered into the building that housed Nordstrom’s. We had just finished with a boat tour of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Let’s just say I have looked better—the wind blown hair look just wasn’t working for me. There in the middle of the “mall” was one of those kiosks selling some sort of cosmetic mess. I’m usually good at avoiding these little intense sales bee hives but I was tired, overwhelmed with this magnificent mile business and must have looked like easy pickings.

A sales girl immediately grabs me before I have a chance to look away as if previously occupied. My husband just stands there being no help at all in staging a rescue. The sales girl, a cute girl from Lithuania, immediately clutches my hands and before I even know what’s happening she looks at my nails as if in horror. “You must be a teacher or a nurse?!”

“Teacher.” I flatly reply almost apologetically. No, I’ve never been one to “do” my nails—whats’ the point when you work 24/7 with your hands—so I suppose it must show. She whips out her array of nail treatments and does a number on one nail. Wow, I didn’t know my nails looked so bad as this one nail now made the other nine look, well, in a word, wretched. Next, some nice looking young man, who must have been her boss, leads me over to a chair.

By now we all seem to know one another’s life stories. He is actually from Israel and loves my glasses. My husband is standing there with his hands on his hips—impatient and wondering why I don’t jump up and run. Suddenly I’m kind of liking this long needed pampering. The sales guy takes off my glasses…ooo, this is so racey. He begins applying some sort of creme on my eyes. He dabs on this and that, blots with a cotton ball, adds something else, swivels me around in the chair to a mirror and VOILA! I squint to see what he did— remember he removed my glasses. “Don’t do that” he practically screams—“no squinting, it makes wrinkles”…..oh,is that what did it? Well I must have squinted myself to death.

Long story short and $300 later, as my husband was guilted by this slick sales duo into aiding with his tired wife’s reverie, I walked out feeling lighter, a little brighter. Amazing what a little special attention can do for one’s psyche. And you must know that I have been using the eye serum religiously since our return…3 times a week and I can actually tell a difference—I think its purpose is to diminish wrinkles—maybe it’s just my imagination (such an oldie but goodie..digress…) but I think my eyes actually look a little younger, a little lighter. Is that my old twinkle I’m noticing? And my nails, well lets just say they’ve never looked so, cared for…..

What I’ve taken from my appreciation of an old abandoned building and of my old and dilapidated aging body…is that with a little attention here, and a little pampering there…that’s often all that is needed in order to have a complete turn around….or at least the encouragement of a new direction. Not being a big frufru girl..remember, I’m a tomboy at heart, it is quite amazing what just a little 20 minute single fast-tract sales pitch of a mini hyper-speed makeover of one nail and one eye can provide….it offered a tired older body a little hope of what could be, knowing what was, and of how to be ok with what’s in the middle…

So the next time you see an abandoned little building remember that it once had an important purpose. And the next time you look in the mirror, remember you too had an important purpose, the wonderful thing is that you still have that purpose, it just may be a little dingy and rusty, but it’s all still there. Now if I could just remember where I put that face creme…sadly, first the eyes, now the mind….