My new book “Midlife Solo” will be published by Mosaic Press later this year. Stay tuned!

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Aging, sleepless and cold, yet perky

Today is Joan Baez’s 69th birthday. She’s one of those impossible human beings – brave and smart, stunningly beautiful and talented, politically on the side of the angels. More lovely as she ages. Gives us all something to aim for. Happy Birthday, Joanie.

I had a strange dream about ageing the other night – I was doing something in the dream with my son, and thinking to myself, How amazing that I am exactly double his age, he 25 and I 50. I don’t know if it was still in the dream or as I woke up that a voice interjected, sharply, “You’re not 50, you idiot. This year you’ll be 60.” And all I could think, as I stumbled into consciousness, was, “It’s not possible. Sixty!” I have a lot of friends who are now 65, and my dear Muriel Duckworth, after all, was 100. In light of all that, 59 sounds young. But 60. 60 does not.
I spend way too much time inspecting my skin in a magnifying mirror, checking out the deep groove – the Grand Canyon – between my eyes, the lines etched vertically above the eyebrows and lips and down the cheeks. Isn’t there a magic remedy for these? Yes, yes, warble the cosmetics companies like the sirens to Ulysees, luring us as we navigate the rough seas of ageing. I did, I confess, go this week to the special gift offer day at Clarins and buy a lipstick and a pot of creamy magic, to get my free little bottles of something or other. One of them is “morning wake-up serum” – I don’t even know what it’s for. Maybe you drink it, like Alice, and suddenly you’re a sparkly 12 again.
I ran into a friend at the Y today who’d just spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica; she was glowing all over with sun. We Torontonians are mushrooms already, pasty, sickly, shrouded in black. Oddly, there’s a cold snap around the world – minus temperatures in Florida, in England, snow in the south of France. Everyone’s cold. Dear Penny in Sheffield, Michele south of Paris, Lynn in Montpellier – if you need tips on surviving the cold, just ask your Canadian friend. The answer is Costa Rica.
Not even much TV to report on these days, because in order to combat my customary January insomnia, I’m trying not to compute or watch TV in the late evening. No Jon Stewart! I suffer in January from light deprivation, not enough light, air, sun, activity and garden, which leads to poor sleep. Research shows that limiting light in the evening helps, which includes computer and television screens.
So – wrinkled, insomniac, shivering and starving for the Daily Show. But even so, happy. I’m already planning my 60th birthday party in late July or early August. It will be hot, there will be a house full of friends, food, music, celebration. Let’s embrace this 60 thing head on, since there’s no avoiding it. If Joanie can look that good 9 years on, so can we.
If only there were a better magic cream out there, somewhere.
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PS As of a minute ago, 132, 533 members. The Toronto demonstration is Saturday Jan. 23 from 1 to 5 at Dundas Square. Other demonstrations across the country. Ignore at your peril, Mr. Recalibration.
PPS I have kept exactly none of my New Year’s Resolutions. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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