Celebrating my Wrinkles

 

“I put my arm into my jacket, and out came my mother’s hand!”  

 

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends,

 

These words were said by my sister-in-law, Jane, approximately 20 years ago.  I remember belly laughing with her as we pretended to see our mother’s hand emerge from the sleeve of our clothing.  It was easy to laugh back then.  Wrinkles had not yet become a reality.  I had 40-something hands and an estrogen balance to keep it that way for a few more years.

 

But now, in 2017, my skin is 20 years older.   Here is a photo of my 60 year-old hand with henna application at our son’s pre-wedding Bollywood party.  Yes, the party was a BLAST! 

 

 

Jane’s comment still makes me smile, but the words are now MY TRUTH. It is MY Mother’s hand that pops out of my sleeve.  No amount of lotion or cream will change that.  Ever.  Like FOREVER.  Since puberty my body has been slowly losing it’s Elastin- that bouncy, slinky-like, protein in the dermis, that gives skin that boing-boing when pinched.  

 

And guess what, girlfriends. I’m okay with my Wrinkles.  They are a part of who I am.  The Real me.  I’m not young anymore.

 

In fact…

Today is my 60th birthday! Woot-woot!  

 

When I first began writing this August 21st post, I contemplated discarding the “Wrinkle” topic and substituting a more joyful and upbeat topic.  I wondered if you, my readers, would prefer reading about the celebratory party that Johnny threw for me at our family lake cottage (yay!), and learn of all the family and friends who attended (sigh!), and salivate as I tell of the delicious king crab, pulled pork, elote, we savored (yum!), or share other sentimental thingy’s that happened.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then I thought… nah.  I’ll share photos from the party, but commemorate my 60th with a topic we will all have in common (eventually).    

 

So here’s to my Wrinkles.  Every one of you tells a story.  

I lift a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay with Wrinkled hand in your honor!

   

I must really like Wrinkles, because as a teen I actually accelerated the aging of my pink skin.  Here is how it happened.  Girlfriends, you may relate to this!     

Stolen Iodine

 

 

It was June of 1971 when I snuck into the bathroom of our family lake cottage. My guilty heart pounded as I exited, hiding the bottle of Iodine.  

 

With scientific precision I squeezed 10 orange drops into the baby oil bottle.

I knew this potion would bring my longed-for tan.  Besides, my community of pre-teen professionals had promised!  I dutifully followed my girlfriends’ advice optimistically dreaming about the results the orange oil would bring.  

 

My. Eventual. Tan.

 

Afternoons were spent lying on the dock, baking my fair skin in the sun till I was freckled and a slightly darker version of pink.

 

Oh.  And, girlfriends, you KNOW my what my Ultimate-Teen-Girl-Logic-Goal was?

 

Tan skinned girls attract all the guys at the beach. This is a fact. (If you are 14.)

 

This was the beginning of my aging process.  In an attempt to appear more attractive, more youthful, I (ironically) and purposely hastened the aging of my body….all for boys I never met, and was too shy to talk to!

 

(I wonder if the girls from Generation Z  still concoct the baby oil and iodine tanning balm?)

 

Friends, I could go on and on with this topic of Wrinkles…but since I have a party to attend, I am going to skip over all the rest of the hot topics related to Wrinkles.  For instance:  

But instead….on my birthday, I decided to give you a gift. A positive story about Wrinkles… 

 

The following tribute to “Wrinkles” was written by a 92 year-old beauty named Wanda Goins.  I am grateful for gaining permission from her caregiver, Kathryn Wilson, to post it.  Kathryn emphatically stated “Yes, please share the poem!  Wanda passed into eternity last February and would have felt honored to have it shared.”

 

The Gift Wrap and the Jewel

“I looked in the mirror, and what did I see?

But a little old lady, peering back at me.

With bags and sags and wrinkles, and wispy white hair

And I asked my reflection, how did you get there?

You once were straight and vigorous, and now you’re stooped and weak

When I tried so hard to stop you, from becoming an antique.

My reflection’s eyes twinkled, and she solemnly replied

You’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside.

A living gem and precious, of unimagined worth

Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth.

The years that spoil your gift wrap, with other things more cruel

Should purify, and strengthen, and polish up that jewel.

So focus your attention on the inside, not the out

On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout.

Then, when your gift wrap is tipped away, your jewel will be set free

To radiate God’s glory, throughout eternity.”

-Wanda Goins,

Wanda’s words made my eyes start leaking… trickling down onto my Wrinkled 60 year-old smile.  

 

  

The reason I write

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends.

I’m Gretty, and welcome to my blog.

My life drastically changed at 57 when my husband and I hit the road full-time in an RV. Trust me.

It was highly unlikely that I’d be a full-time RV’er (more on that later) but here I am. Here’s the deal.

I really really love my new lifestyle. I enjoy adventure, change, meeting new people, experiencing different climates, visiting new communities, etc.

And, I love my man. Really.

He is kind, sweet, honest, full of integrity, and willing to watch chick flicks with me.

But honestly? John is a guy.

His brain thinks differently than mine. Since we have been full-time RV’ers,

I miss hanging out with my girlfriends. If you are a nomad like me, I bet you are shaking your head!

So, I thought, if I want to connect with girlfriends on (and off) the road, and I have some funny stories to tell, maybe I should begin a virtual coffee shop where we can gather to chat, laugh, commiserate, and do life together?

Plus, last year I felt a tug to share personal stories of challenges and joys in my unique RV life.

It’s like you can peek inside my diary!

This blog is for you if

  • You are a woman, (but guys you can read it too!)
  • You are an Unlikely RV’er like me.
  • Your shining ‘dream life’ has had some hiccups.
  • You’ve experienced divorce or loss of a long term relationship.
  • You and your partner (at times) see life through different lenses.
  • You’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the challenges of living in an RV full time.
  • You like blue nail polish (just kidding!)
  • You occasionally feel untethered to the real world.
  • You need a good laugh.

It’s the truth. Men just don’t think like we do.

They are waffle thinkers. We are spaghetti thinkers.

Men stay in their square until it’s time to move to another topic or task

.But we girlfriends? Our thoughts, feelings, and activities weave, turn, and circle around as we process a topic or task.

My brain says this:Hey-I-woke-up-and-have-so-many-things-I-wanna-research-but-must-dump-the-tanks-first-oh-hi!-new-neighbors-walking-their-cute-dog-back-to-dumping-the-tanks-listen-to-that-bird-up-there-um-what-was-I-doing?-back-to-checking-out-that-hike-adventure-but-look-what-splattered-on-my-cute-sanuks-where-did-I-store-those-paper-towels-kind-of-day.

My man’s brain says: I am going to research a hike that we can do this week. 30 minutes later (after ignoring my interruptions, the phone ringing and the dog bringing toys to him)….Oh, here are three options for that hike, and let’s make a decision so I can eat breakfast next.

I hope to encourage you by

  • Promising to be real and vulnerable with you.
  • Giving you a voice to respond.
  • Letting you know you are not alone.

What you’ll learn

  • You are not alone!
  • How to see the joy in the small things in life.
  • The importance of deepening our relationships on and off the road.
  • How to have fun wherever you are.
  • Finding the balance of work and play in the RV world.
  • How to laugh at yourself and not take life so seriously.  More about Me
  • I LOVE Fritos.
  • I am 59 years old and shocked at what the lack of estrogen has done to my skin these past 7 years.
  • I am an encourager – I love that part of my life.
  • I admit I get distracted ALL the time by life happening around me, and it drives my husband (a lot) crazy.
  • I am a people person and find you fascinating.
  • A Cougar by age standards alone. Yep, I was born in 1957. My husband John was born in 1966.
  • A divorcee magnet. I run into you all the time. I’ve met you in line at Starbucks, in campground laundry rooms, dog parks, and I love talking with you.
  • I talk to God all the time- and he never seems to tire of my rants…
  • I am crazy proud of my two adult sons and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, but I won’t be embarrassing them here with stories of them.
  • I’ve got a ton of insecurities, that I will be unloading (and uploading) regularly.
  • I am vain…I color my hair and freak out when my jeans are a bit snug.
  • I admit I am more comfortable asking about you than telling about me. (sigh..)
  • I am all about cooking for large gatherings, and then usually I forget to put one item on the table.
  • I love boots and shoes and will check yours out when I meet you.
  • I’ve been on Mission trips to Peru and India and have never seen the world the same.
  • And lastly, I love my dog, Penny, the Cockapoo!