Metro-East Living

As middle age settles in, columnist reminds herself: You’re as young as you feel.

The voices of healthy aging

The Voices of Healthy Aging captures candid sentiments from nine dynamic seniors on aging in America.
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The Voices of Healthy Aging captures candid sentiments from nine dynamic seniors on aging in America.

Six words that make this middle-aged woman cringe: You look good for your age.

Do people tell babies they look good for their age? Wow, for not having any teeth you look fabulous, darling! Just wait till those incisors come in. Your smile is going to be killer.

Well, I still have all my teeth and what’s left of my figure. I say “what’s left,” as if half of it is missing. It’s all there plus another 10 pounds.

“I’m like Michelangelo’s ‘David’ before he chiseled it,” I told my husband, Mark, recently.

At the time, I was standing in front of a full-length mirror, sucking in and flexing my muscles.

“You’re not a block of marble, Michelle.”

“Yes. But I’m a block of something,” I said.

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s comprised of chips, cheese and chocolate. The major food groups of youth have turned on me with a vengeance. I used to be the girl who could eat anything she wanted and stayed thin. I miss her. I really do.

oldie but goodie photo.jpg
BND columnist Michelle Meehan Schrader says you’re as young as you feel. Michelle Schrader

“Oh, boo-hoo!” my best pal, Lydia, says sarcastically. Skinny women who gain weight? Well, that just means there is a God.

I often wonder if God is a female. And if she is, well, what was she thinking?

Was she thinking hot flashes would build character? Or gray hairs would teach us how to pluck? Thank God for fake hormones and hair dye. And thank God for our ability to laugh.

“If anyone young is reading this, go right now, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off till you’re 34,” the late, great Nora Ephron once wrote.

Ahhh, 34. That was a very good year. I moved into a new home with my husband, got pregnant with our son and ate my weight in cupcakes. That was back in the days when I still had a five-star metabolism. If only lettuce tasted like cupcakes, I could get rid of my cholesterol meds.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: The rounder the face, the smoother the wrinkles. Not that you need wrinkles to feel old.

When I turned 25, I thought I was over-the-hill. I hadn’t met my husband yet and a couple of my pals had just gotten married. So I wore black for months, which, thankfully, is a good color for me.

A quarter century (and then some) later, I realize I was just a baby back then. You’re as young as you feel. And you’ll never be younger again than you are, right now, this minute. So carpe diem with all the gusto you’ve got.

And by the way, you look great for your age.

Michelle Schrader: