Grace Under Fire


Image courtesy of Kimberly Muller

In 10 days, I will be 47 years old…


How did that happen?

I don’t feel almost 47 years old… Well actually this morning I did… as I stared at the whisker growing out of my chin in the car rear view mirror.

Oh and last night when I was cuddled next to my daughter, she said, “It feels so COOL…” (she was referring to my skin, as she kneaded the small pool of flesh that rested at my elbow in its particular position).

A few weeks ago, I woke up to one of my 5 year olds, near tears pointing to my wrinkles as I opened my eyes and lifted my head from the pillow, slowly revealing a map of Wisconsin on my face. Thing is those sleep lines hang around ‘till the afternoon these days, and some are permanently etched in my almost 47-year-old face.

“Mommy why do you look like an old lady?”

Do I look like an old lady to them?  I remember thinking my mother was ancient at 40. I am not ancient… I am young.

Hard to age gracefully when I am being fired at from all directions…especially from the mouths of my babes.

I live in LA.  I drive around town and pass drugstores selling Botox and billboards saying they can melt away years by melting away all my fat.

I hear about Limelight’s and Red Lights at a lunch and think we are revisiting our clubbing days in NYC.

I remind myself that the key is to age gracefully — not get caught up in all that.  It is not easy as fountains of youth are dangled in front of me at every turn.

My 92 year old grandmother often refers to the words of Sophia Loren who said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

This is my kind of fountain! This takes courage. Courage… I try to muster it up everyday all day, because courage is what enables me to live in the moment and not future fuck myself.

Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under fire.”

Grace… what I want to walk with, talk with, be with everyday, all day.

Deepak Chopra describes grace: “When the rhythms of our body-mind are in synch with nature’s rhythms, when we are living in harmony with life, we are living in the state of grace. To live in grace is to experience that state of consciousness where things flow effortlessly and our desires are easily fulfilled. Grace is magical, synchronistic, coincidental, joyful. It’s that good-luck factor. But to live in grace we have to allow nature’s intelligence to flow through us without interfering. To be whole is to live in Grace.”

That’s what I’m talking about!  However, living in Grace does not come easy.

And that’s just it, that’s why courage is grace under fire.

I have 3 little girls who I want to teach to walk gracefully through life. To live in grace regardless of what is happening around them.  Easier said then done.

I shall take the advice of the great George Bernard Shaw:

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

So, I laugh at my pools of flesh and whiskers in rear view mirrors and I will show courage as I take on aging gracefully while under fire.

Like Bette Davis said,

“Old age is no place for sissies…”  and I ain’t no sissy!

This post originally appeared on Kimberly Muller Words.

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