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Hugh Downs was right: Aging is not for sissies. I’m not complaining (well, maybe a little), but there are things about aging that I never dreamed I’d have to endure. Oh, I knew if I were lucky enough to live this long there would be changes. For instance, I knew I’d probably have to wear reading glasses, but so do many younger people. I was aware that gradual hearing loss might occur, and now I wear hearing aids.

I expected my hair to turn white, and I didn’t really mind, because prematurely white hair runs in my family. But I didn’t know my white hair would begin to grow thin on top. I always had so much of it!

I’m very glad for the gift of a long life, but I could do without some of the things time has done to my face. I can manage the bushy Andy Rooney eyebrows, even the occasional stiff one that appears on my chin. If I tilt my head just right the jowls are not so noticeable. My face is beginning to remind me of a rotten peach with all those brown spots, but I can minimize those with the right makeup.

My manicurist tells me that age has caused those vertical ridges in my fingernails and that’s the reason they sometimes split just along one of the ridges. They get hung up on my underwear sometimes, but that’s easily remedied with a “silk wrap” until the split grows out.

I was saddened, but not surprised, when my legs began to sport spider veins and a fat varicose vein appeared on my left shin. These and cellulite on the thighs have made shorts ancient history for me, even in an Arizona summer.

Nobody told me that my front teeth would move forward with age, but my dentist told me just this morning that it’s “very common among older people.” Did you know that? Still, I’m thankful that my teeth are good, even if they are beginning to protrude.

All of these things and a few other of Mother Nature’s tricks I can accept with good grace. What really seems unfair is the flattening and southern migration of my bum. If I could only restore it to its once-perky perch so my jeans could be filled out as fetchingly as formerly!

A few years ago, our local paper ran an article with the headline, “The end is in sight: Butt Cam aids shoppers.” It seems a local clothing store had provided a video camera that pointed toward the customer’s derriere and displayed the rear view on a flat-screen TV just outside the dressing room. The shopper no longer had to wonder if a pair of jeans made her bum look fat. I wonder, if I put a couple of men’s hankies in each back pocket of my jeans, would the camera view make my bum look a little fatter?

Maybe I’ll just have to live with a bum that looks like two half-deflated balloons. Still, I’m very glad to have lived so long.

Nadine Smith

A native of Oklahoma, Nadine Smith holds a master’s degree in adult education from Arizona State University.

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