The first thing I saw the other morning when I opened my eyes to the new day was the skin on my right arm. It was not a kind good morning! to the day for I discerned the beginnings of crepe-y old lady skin. And I should know since I was just down in Southern Florida. I’m not horrified that my skin resembles a snake’s right before sloughing just because it signifies a stark “this is what you have to look forward to” moment; no, it’s that, well, yes, maybe that is the problem. My immediate reaction was to lather body lotion on my arms as if the from-now-on application will make up for years of walking around with unprotected and unlubricated arms in the Israeli sun, and an obsession for putting on hand cream, never acknowledging that there is suppleness to protect beyond the wrist. Oh, what have I done?
My formerly non-disruptive skin perturbs me more than the grays because there is no easy box fix-it. This skin is as much a sign of my progression as that which a shirt takes from proud first-time wear to the indignity of the donation pile: no amount of tending to can turn back years on a back.
It didn’t seem to me that people down Florida-way particularly minded their slack skin; otherwise, how to explain all of the open exposure? Maybe when you realize that you’re falling apart, you don’t protest reality, you do what you can to slow it down, and then move along to the next activity. Shuffleboard anyone?
It’s not that I regret my aging skin; it’s that I regret not having appreciated the beauty of the ordinariness of skin when it was right there in front of my eyes at wake-up time for many, many, many years. And now, now it’s gone and in its place is this blotchy pre-crepe skin.
Is this an example of wisdom? Is this me coming to a realization that without time I never would have come to? What’s the benefit? Why does it have to be accompanied by skin tags and why, oh why, can’t we truly benefit from someone else’s experience?