Thinking about Aging


Every morning, I wake up and do a series of stretches. I started the habit in high school and have managed to maintain it for over ten years. I’m 28 now.

Sometimes I really don’t feel like stretching. Luckily, or unluckily, I have a little nag on my shoulder. “You MUST stretch; it’s good for you,” the nag says. So I stretch. I roll down and hang over my legs. I do lunges. I practice my splits and straddle. I do simple yoga and even some Pilates and pushups for core and upper body strength.

After I stretch, I go and wash my face. I squint at myself, centimeters away from the mirror. I’ll discern a slight wrinkle forming along my brow and disdain at the faint acne scars on my cheeks and chin.

This ritual marks the beginning of almost every day.

When a person in their 20s takes on a project interviewing dancers over 50, questions regarding aging tend to come up. I wonder where and who I will be when I reach 50 and beyond.

Sometimes I feel like the identity I currently embody is WHO I AM in all caps. The understanding of transience I feel when I talk to people much older than me is, well, relieving. This current “me” isn’t absolute; it’s just another permutation, with many more in the making.

This psychological relief is balanced by a foreboding of physical diminishment to come. I am compelled to keep stretching, exercising, using natural soaps and oils, eating vegetables, taking supplements, etc. I am regularly made aware that I exist in a body that is commonly deemed beautiful. Am I okay with eventually relinquishing this vessel?

I will age, whether I’m ready or not. The little thin line on my brow will deepen and others will appear. My daily stretches will become more difficult. Conversely, there will be many versions of me beyond Emmaly the Dancer and Emmaly the Writer. There might be Emmaly the Mother or Emmaly the Care Giver or even something from left field like Emmaly the Glass Blower or Emmaly the Goat Herder. Only time will tell.

I’m only 28. It seems a long way to 50 and beyond. But I’m not dreading the ride.

Pickles comic

One Response to “Thinking about Aging”

  1. Dan

    Emmaly the Goat Herder! You will always be Emmaly the Dancer!

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