Looking beyond measuring tape, digital sales

Sharon Kennedy

Thanksgiving is only a memory but if you’re still feeling as stuffed as the bird, it’s time to talk turkey.

Most women in our age bracket gain weight whether we eat a carrot or a seven course meal. It’s just an unalterable fact of growing older. Sure I know there are some lucky gals who remain slim and trim throughout their lives, but they’re in the minority. So chin up, ladies, we’re all in this kettle of fish together.

I keep thinking I’m 20 years younger than I am. I don’t feel old. I don’t dress in polyester pantsuits. I don’t have blue hair. The cataracts haven’t completely taken over my vision although they do make it impossible to drive at night. I don’t wear a housedress or bib apron like Mom did. I don’t own a purse that snaps when I close it.

There is no fur encircling the top of my snowboots or the collar of my winter coat. I don’t have a bridge, implant, or set of choppers other than my own, so you see why I don’t feel old.

Most of us threw out our full length mirrors when things started heading south. We take a quick glance in the bathroom mirror when we comb our hair or rub on some makeup in hopes it will cover an assortment of colorful spots that appear out of nowhere. Makeup does little to hide them, but making the attempt boosts our morale.

We pluck a few wayward eyebrows and maybe even a few pesky hairs sprouting from you know where. We dab on a little rouge, run a powder puff over our face, and get out the magnifying glass to find our lips.

Before we leave the house, we take one final look. The mirror tells us we’re presentable because we only see our face. The rest of our person is hidden from view and that’s nothing short of a blessing. For those of us who were always thin, seeing our hips spreading across us like warm butter spreading across a slice of toast is enough to discourage us from taking one step beyond our own threshold. It isn’t vanity that makes us cringe at our appearance and yearn for the good old days of our youth. It’s something entirely different. It’s a feeling of total and complete hopelessness.

It’s a terrible thing to lose hope. Without it, we are forced to face the inevitable. We will never again be thin. We’ll never squeeze into anything smaller than a size 1X. We must be willing to accept what we cannot change. I do not care what all the ads say about weight loss. Once we hit a certain age, it’s a losing battle and we might as well admit it. We must train ourselves to look past the chocolate cake sitting on the counter and begging us to eat the last piece. We must leave the pistachios and mints in the candy dish.

Never again will we order a strawberry shake from McDonald’s because never again will we stop at a fast food restaurant. The tasty thin crust pizza we were so fond of will go the way of the milk shake. We don’t care when the Dairy Queen opens in the spring because a hot fudge sundae is a treat of the past. For the remainder of our lives we’re doomed to a plate of uninspiring greens wilting before our eyes.

But wait a minute. Is it really so bad to be old and gain weight just thinking about food? Any kind of food. It doesn’t have to be crammed full of calories. I can put on weight merely by drinking water. If the plain liquid from the tap in my kitchen has become my enemy, what chance do I have when it comes to eating a meal? None, that’s what. No chance whatsoever.

So why am concerned about my appearance? Why am I worried what folks will say about my new exterior? Could it be that my old foe, vanity, is still alive within me? Maybe it isn’t hopelessness at all. Maybe the obsession with my looks all boils down to vanity. What if people start praising my great personality? That would be worse than saying I’m hefty. Being known for my personality would be humiliating. I was never known for my personality. I don’t even know if I have one.

Maybe my wit will save me. I can be a clever old gal without even trying, but sometimes my cleverness might lean a little towards sarcasm if the listener doesn’t have a sense of humor. While writing this I gave myself a serious talk. The more I thought about things, the less concerned I was about the extra pounds that crept up on me while I was sleeping.

So gather around ladies. If you, too, mourn the loss of your girlish figure try to remember all you haven’t lost. At the Thanksgiving table nobody noticed your weight. They praised the food and thanked God the family was together. A prayer was said for loved ones gathered around, and a tear was shed for those God had called home. A blessing was bestowed on family members fighting endless wars in foreign countries.

And a glass was raised to you, the cook.

In that moment, you knew you were loved beyond measure.

Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past. She can be reached via email at sharonkennedy1947@gmail.com. In addition, Sharon has compiled a collection of stories from her various newspaper columns. The title of her book is “Life in a Tin Can.” Copies are available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.