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Another Fun Thing About Getting Old: The Comfort Zone

     Ahhh. The Comfort Zone. All those years thinking you knew who you were. All you had to do was talk a little more or fix your hair a little differently; lose a few pounds or gain a few, wear the right clothes—in style? too flamboyant? too plain?

     All those years I knew who I was. Of course! Who wouldn’t know who they are? But I wasn’t sure everyone else knew. Was I projecting the right image? School days. . . trying to fit in; trying to be the way a sixth grader was supposed to be. High school years. . . trying to be as smart as the teachers thought I was, joining the right clubs? College. . . trying to take the right courses, choose the career path meant for me. Marriage and family. . . choosing the right man to live with forever, doing the things a mother is supposed to do—too strict? not strict enough? not motherly enough? It’s all too much, growing up, going through all those life stages, trying to be the best you you can be.

     So finally, getting old, you arrive at the Comfort Zone, totally comfortable in your own skin. It’s not that hard—your skin’s been around long enough to know you pretty well. Okay, okay. The skin doesn’t look quite the same—a few spots and wrinkles and we’re not gonna talk about FLAB! But who’s complaining? It’s here, doing its job covering up your ol’ bones and what’s left of your once fabulous muscles. A little make-up here and there covers the worst of it.

     And if it doesn’t, well who cares? Actually it doesn’t, but at this point it’s okay to kid yourself. I prob’ly make a lot of people feel really good. "At least I don’t look as old as she does!" they say. But I’ve seen a few people who look older than I do. I love looking at them! ‘Course they prob’ly are older than me, but YES! It makes me feel good. And then I see one of those slender, flawlessly-skinned young people looking effortlessly gorgeous. Remember the days?

     Not me. I never looked effortlessly gorgeous, but that’s fine. I don’t have a rep to keep up in my getting-old years. As long as I look acceptable in my comfy jeans and flip-flops and a bright cheery tee, all is good.

     It’s just good to be me. I know exactly who I am. Took me a while and I tried on a few personas that didn’t quite fit and all that time I was sure I knew exactly who I was but it turns out I only knew part of the story. Meanwhile the real me was there, just waiting to get old and show itself. If I feel lazy, that’s okay—it’s just me! If I procrastinate, so what? That’s who I am. If I get smart-alecky at a meeting or a party, hey! that’s me. True to myself. Having a ball. So much fun, getting old, comfy in your own skin.

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