Huh. When did that happen?

I have had body image issues for as long as I can remember. I think it came to a head in high school when I started getting “teased” about being pudgy. Looking back, I know that weighing 159 pounds at 5’11” tall really isn’t pudgy; it’s well within the normal weight range for my height. I worked hard and got my weight down to 135 pounds and began what became a lifelong habit of counting calories.

By the time I went to college, I think I was dangerously close to developing an eating disorder. I decided I needed to lose even more weight. My goal was to get down to 120 pounds. My body decided that was a no-go. I started working on losing weight and I got so sick. There are a couple of weeks that I don’t remember. I was somehow still going to at least some of my classes, but I’m not sure how. Once I got better I decided to let my weight stay where it was.

The next hurdle was pregnancy. I worried about how I would deal with the weight gain that goes along with pregnancy should I decide to have kids. I honestly wasn’t sure that I would be able to let myself gain weight. However, when I actually got pregnant at 24, my body once again took control. At that point in my life I was skipping meals or just eating something like a pack of crackers. Once I got pregnant, I had to eat every two hours or my stomach would be growling loud enough for others to hear. My body basically forced me to take in the nutrients that both my baby and I needed. I gained a total of 28 pounds during my pregnancy and was able to lose it all within 6 months after giving birth. The fact that I gained weight and successfully lost it seemed to change something in me. So much so that with my second pregnancy, I actually gained 40 pounds; I decided that if I was going to gain weight anyway, I may as well enjoy the process. I ate a lot of peanut M&Ms, LOL. However, I was once again able to lose all of the weight within 6 months. I also did not throat punch the coworker who commented about me “still carrying all of that baby weight” when I returned to work after my maternity leave. At that point, I only had 15 pounds left to lose. Sigh.🙄

Then, along comes hypothyroidism. Even though I’m on medication to treat my hypothyroidism, it still makes it easier for me to gain weight and harder to lose it. Slowly, over an extended period, my weight crept back up to high school levels and I worked to lose 15 pounds. This left my final weight higher than it was for so many years, but I was okay with that. The cycle repeated again a few years later. I’ve been struggling to lose weight and have been frustrated with myself. However, once I started my part-time job, I’ve slowly begun to take the weight off. (Yay for being more active!)

So, why have I made this post with TMI about my weight? Well, now that I’m 60, aging and such have been on my mind. During the course of my musings I had an unexpected realization. For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable with the body that I have – cellulite, aging skin, and all. I’m not exactly sure when this acceptance occurred, but I’m glad it did. Always striving for some impossible level of perfection is exhausting.

I guess the change has been coming on for a few years. Prior to retirement, I wouldn’t leave the house without at least some level of makeup. I loosened up a little in the months after retirement… and then COVID hit and no one was going anywhere. Makeup kind of went out the window and pretty much stayed there. I now regularly leave the house with no makeup or minimum makeup. As a matter of fact, my coworkers don’t even know what I look like with makeup. Why put on makeup just to sweat it off?

Minimal makeup so I could try out my new lipstick

I’ve been a long time reaching this level of comfort with myself, but I’m glad I finally got here. How about you? Are you comfortable with yourself?

The Big Six-Oh!

As of 5:10am on Sunday, November 20th, I am officially sixty years old. Wow. How the heck did that happen?😮 Mentally, I’m still around twenty-five. Yes, my sons are in their thirties, but that doesn’t seem to have an impact on my mental age. Aging is one of those things that, until now, hasn’t really impacted me.

Kenn turned sixty in August. One day recently, he stopped and asked “Are you having a hard time with turning sixty?” I had to give the question some thought. The best answer I could come up with was “Maybe a little bit.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not huddled in a darkened room binging on Ding Dongs and baking shows, but turning sixty has been… thought provoking. Kenn said it was a little harder for him too – not necessarily his own age but the realization that our oldest son will be forty in a few short years. (My brain and fingers insist it should be spelled “fourty”.) Oddly enough, it was a similar situation for me in that it wasn’t my own age that was a bit of an eye opener. I’m the baby of my family; my sisters are nine and ten years older. In September of 2021, while we were on our road trip up the East coast, my oldest sister had a stroke. I was shocked to realize that she was only six months shy of turning seventy. Whoa. Before I know it, I’ll be the one turning seventy. (Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, as my Grandmama used to say.)

A couple of months ago, Kenn asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. My answer was immediate: I wanted to take the camper to Amicalola Falls State Park for the weekend. I was long overdue for a soul recharge in the mountains. Being the good hubby that he is, Kenn had gone online and made reservations before we finished our conversation. The trip was wonderful and relaxing, just what I needed. We did a little hiking and a lot of being lazy. We even caught part of a raptor show at the Lodge.

Scirocco the red-tailed hawk
This is what sixty looks like

Due to the temperatures (forties in the day, twenties at night), we weren’t allowed to keep the “city water” connected to the camper full time. Instead, we had to put water in our fresh water tank for use at night. (We have tank heaters to keep the water from freezing.) However, this was when we discovered that something wasn’t working right. Instead of a steady stream of water from the fresh water tank, we only got spits and spurts. In addition to being frustrating, it gave us a problem that we needed to figure out before we take the camper to the Asheville, NC area for New Year’s. Kenn informed me last night that the problem has been resolved. (Yay!) Fortunately, it was something relatively simple; one of the valves was in “winterize” mode. Once he switched the valve, everything started working correctly. Whew!

So, how well are you dealing with aging?

A Redhead State of Mind

I am a redhead. I have always loved having red hair; it’s part of what makes me unique. Not only is red hair the rarest hair color, but my combination of red hair and blue eyes is the rarest hair/eye color combination. Now, I am aware that I am aging and that my hair color is fading. I like to say I’m “going blonde”. Most redheads don’t go straight from red hair to gray/white; we go through a blonde phase in between.

Even though I know my hair color is fading, I still think of myself as a redhead. However, a couple of recent interactions have made me wonder. At work, one of my coworkers was going to show me how to do something new and I asked her to give me a minute to grab my shirt and sun hat. (Being fair-skinned usually goes along with red hair. In addition to wearing sunscreen, I also wear a long-sleeved shirt and a big sun hat when spending time outside.) As we walked out of the building, the coworker glanced at me and then my hair and then said, “You have… red hair, right?” I chuckled and told her that yes, I do even though it is fading. We then began a discussion of some of the unique traits that tend to accompany red hair.

Several days later, I went to my appointment to get my employee ID. (I’ve been working for a little over two months, but better late than never I guess.) I had my photo taken and a lot of my data was transferred from my drivers license. The technician verified a few things such as eye color. When she got to my hair color she looked at me, then squinted at me and asked, “What color is your hair?” When I said “Red” she said “Really?” Once again I explained that yes, my hair color is getting lighter and will eventually become blonde. She said that she really didn’t see the red so my hair color will be listed as blonde on my ID.🤷‍♀️🙄

So, dear readers, I am now asking you: what color is my hair?