Turning Sixty (The Body)

18 Sep

Grandma Lela
Grandma Lela and her family at her 35th wedding anniversary, a year before she died.

Kathy and Uncle Chris
Uncle Chris and me at 1256 in 1954.

My Grandma Lela died when she was sixty, so reaching that age and hopefully living beyond it is very significant for me. On the one hand, it’s pretty scary–who knows if I might have inherited a propensity for cancer? My cousin Gillian, who’s a nurse, says that there are all kinds of cells in our bodies, including cancer cells; when someone gets cancer it’s because his or her body was unable to fight off the bad cells. Her father–my uncle–died at sixty-three of melanoma. I didn’t spend four summers as a lifeguard at the Lakewood Pool on the west side of Cleveland like my Uncle Chris did. However, I did go to a nude beach at noon near the Ventura County line while visiting my friend Jeanne in Pasadena many summers ago. Believe me, I remember that sunburn, but I’m not sure I regret it. One has to live large at least every so often. Chris loved to swim, so he probably didn’t regret being a lifeguard, just that he didn’t cover up as he should have. I guess when I think about both of them and mortality, it makes me ponder on how vulnerable we all are.

Face or figure? It’s said that you have to choose. In my case it’s definitely the face, but I’m working on the figure. I’m determined to be as physically fit as I was when I was fourteen. My grandmother had good skin, which I’ve inherited. Sadly, she didn’t live long enough to develop wrinkles. She also had what is referred to in the family as the Scheuren bottom, which I’ve also inherited. The men in the family really like it; I don’t know that it’s the favorite feature of the women themselves. Some think that focusing on the physical self and one’s appearance is vain and unnecessary. I admit I’m a little obsessed, but I think it’s understandable.

Breasts: This is mostly good news in my case. The reason: I’ve been thin for most of my life and flatchested. I actually have breasts now, which I may lose a little bit of when I lose weight. I was looking in the mirror the other night and one of them points left, while the other points right. However, I’m happy. There are thin individuals on both sides of my family who are/were thin with big breasts. I think the combination of these two traits must be due to recessive, linked genes. How else can one explain it otherwise?

Food: I’m trying to eat fish at least once or twice a week now. Mom and I usually have salmon or catfish. I prefer fish right after it’s caught. At Bob’s Lake we often eat my brother’s fish for breakfast. Both Western doctors and acupuncture specialists have told me I should eat my veggies cooked, which is mostly what I do. I’m the daughter of a nutritionist and have always liked eating fruit, although I do admit to pouring my orange juice down the bathroom sink when I had anorexia. I love bread and it often helps my stomach, which is “tetchy.” My downfall or salvation is sugar. See my post on same: https://ithacalansing.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/my-family-and-sugar/ Nothing makes my day more than a good candy bar. Why can’t oatmeal taste like that? Life is unfair. Incidentally, oatmeal is another thing that Western and Eastern doctors agree on. My eating goals include eating less meat, shifting from two desserts to one dessert a day, and trying to stay away from candy bars (so hard!).

Beauty Idols Growing Up and into My Adult Years: Grace Kelly at 40, Suzanne Pleshette at any age, and Cheryl Tiegs as a teen model. Of course, none of them look anything like me, but you have to admit that I have good taste.

The body is the shell and the appearance is important because it’s the first part of you other people see. I intend to do whatever I can to maintain my face–sunblock, dermabrasion, you name it. The body is the engine and I’ve mostly done a good job; I just need to finetune it.

2 Responses to “Turning Sixty (The Body)”

  1. vickeya September 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Nicely done. I love that you’re so honest and open in your postings. I chuckled more than once both because I can picture you reading this and because I can relate!

    • I miss you as a reader. I would have taken it to group tonight, but Claire is part of a group that invited local attorney, Nino Lama, to the library to talk about 3 mysteries that he has written based on his experience as a lawyer. Pretty interesting. If you see anything to correct, please say so.

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