Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, writes: A new driver's license and a milestone birthday sent me to the magnifying mirror in a panic. Is that scary visage on my new I.D. really mine, complete with the turkey neck, saggy jowls and droopy eyelids of an old woman?
You know the answer.
There's nothing like embarking on a new decade to provoke a blunt assessment of what's what. I came away from mine with a decidely mixed review and a slew of what if's?
What if I never allowed my weight to balloon when I was pregnant and then got in shape right away instead of waiting 10 years?
What if I never indulged my junk-food cravings?
What if I had embraced organic food and had been a committed vegetarian?
What if I exercised religiously, every day of my life, slept well and avoided stress assiduously?
What if I didn't turn to food in times of stress?
And what if I weren't a serial dieter?
Who knows? Maybe I'd be healthier, more youthful-looking and not thinking, wistfully, of whether a few nips and tucks here and there might not make a nice little birthday present to myself -- if only I had the money. (Insert sigh here.)
Yeah, that'd be sweet. Until gravity took hold and shook me back to reality again. I guess I'll live with the wrinkles and the wattle. On balance, I'd say the former derive more from laughter than tears and too much time sun. That darned wattle is the price of a too-oft repeated cycle of fat-thin-fat-thin. No one to blame there but myself.
On the plus side, my weight (138.9 this morning) is in the normal range for my 5-feet 6-inches, and my blood pressure is under control. I'm eating more fruits and veggies, and usually buying the organic variety. I'm learning ways to deal with stress that don't involve calories. I am mindful of the need to stay active -- even if I'm not 100 percent successful at it.
Life could be way worse. And now I'll qualify for the senior discount!