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Sep
14

LOOK INTO YOUR FUTURE

I published this essay on CuriosityQuills.com a few days ago. For those of you that didn’t read it there, here it is again.

 

On September 8th I heard a news story about Angela Dorian, 1968’s Playmate of the Year. Following her 60’s splash into the media, Angela continued to get work playing supporting character roles in TV and movies, including “Rosemary’s Baby.” Then she subtly drifted off the radar and no one even noticed.

Now I can tell you that just one year before Angela’s big win as the 1968 queen of sex appeal, her center-fold was stapled to my college dorm room ceiling, along with the fifty-nine other playmates-of-the-month I had raided from my dad’s Playboy collection. You see, I was a dreamer. And as I fell asleep each night fantasizing about those perfect bodies, all I wanted to do was get old enough to attract one of those sizzle chicks and make her swoon in my arms, although “swoon” was not the word I would have used back then. I was still eighteen and Angela was what? Twenty-one? An older woman in my book who I figured was going out with guys at least twenty-six, or twenty-seven, maybe twenty-eight! And those men had money and drove Stingrays or Mustang GT’s and had cool apartments with black leather and chrome sofas and super stereos and views to the ocean. Yep. I couldn’t wait to get old, get out of college, get money and get laid.

I couldn’t wait…until I DID get old.

And now, even with all the cars and all the gals in my past that came and went, I miss those days I wanted so badly to get past. Not because I miss the innocence of youth, but because I miss the young healthy bodies we all had that went with it. I miss the arms, legs and muscles that did anything I wanted, simply by thinking it. I miss the unlimited energy and the ability I had to run on four hours of sleep. And I miss the creaseless faces that lied about my future and told me I would always be young.

I’m not complaining about my years. I wouldn’t subtract a single experience from my life. And I certainly don’t feel old, nor do I act old. But my physical body IS old, or at least older, and the appearance I had at 26 will never come back. I tried letting my locks grow longer a year ago. Dumb idea. So my hair is shorter again and I’m feeling it’s more me, and more honest.

So what am I writing about here? What I’m leading up to, is that all the people I know who are my age and older, are coming to the same conclusion: When the body breaks down, getting old sucks.

Below is a picture what Angela Dorian looks like now. Her real name is Victoria Rathgeb, and she is seated in a Los Angeles courtroom. The girl of my nineteen year-old dreams just got sentenced to nine years for shooting her husband while high on methamphetamine. This happened in a West Hollywood apartment. Not in a Bel Air mansion that I dreamed about in college days. Victoria is not dazzling gorgeous anymore. She certainly is not happy and rich and living happily ever after. But the saddest part is, except for cellmates and correction officers, for the next nine years, Victoria Rathgeb will be growing even older alone.

So for all of you under forty, here comes a little tip from the future. And yeah, it’s cliché, but we all keep forgetting it time and time again. I’m no exception. This reminder is for me as well.

Beauty is about who we ARE and what we DO. Not what we look like.

At some point, youthful looks will leave us. Our bodies will sag, our bones with hurt, and eventually a thorough bowel movement will be our lunch conversation. And ya know what? That’s all worth it when there’s love in our lives.

When we are loved and loving, and doing lovable acts, the journey into age is all worth it. But we have to remember that. We really do. Every time we look at our mirrored reflection, or pump up in the gym, or pluck those first gray hairs off our face, we have to remember: People will see us as beautiful forever, if we ARE beautiful; thinking “beautiful” thoughts, acting in “beautiful” ways, feeling “beautiful” inside, for the “outside” will surely wither.

I’ve been married for thirty-six years. When I met my wife, T, I looked like my avatar on this post. She was a knock-out with a sexy German accent. Yes, we were “beautiful people.” And now we’re in our sixties looking very much older. But I can honestly tell you that when T laughs, I see her as a care-free little girl. When we tuck ourselves in at night, we are back to our twenties and thirties. When we hold hands, the love still glows. And when we gaze into each other’s  eyes, we can’t deny our fear of losing another day…that dying is certainly the place where we’re headed. So we clutch what we have left to stop the growing-old part. It doesn’t work. Every morning there’s another chance of discovering that a body part doesn’t quite work as well as it did the day before. We older people, we try to ignore the growing-old part. Maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should not take a single day for granted. Every day is a gift, at least for now.

So I guess that’s what this post is about; not sweating the small stuff, like how we physically look; and remembering that beauty is really kindness and compassion for others, and that we must never forget that.

Irv

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4 comments

  1. Jerry's cousin says:

    Well done, beautifully written. Yes, true beauty comes from within. The beauty of our face and body is only fleeting. But the beauty that comes from within, we will have with us until we leave this earth.
    I have a lady friend, 80yrs old. She just had a face lift. I feel sorry for her, as she is still seeking beauty at her age. If she doesn’t have it or feel it at 80yrs old, she will never get it.
    Thanks, Irv, for another enlightenment.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      And thank YOU for joining the conversation.

      Irv

  2. Gregor Wossilus says:

    These are truly beautiful thoughts. Yet I just recently experienced how much outer appearance and looks can influence and strengthen your self confidence. To explain I have to tell you a little about myself: I was fightling being overweight my entire life. You come to terms with it after a while, that you do not really like to see yourself naked in the mirror – it’s always a question of how much it bothers you being overweight. I did not truly spend much attention on it for years, was focused on different things, did not mind the pains and the dangers coming with being overweight. Only sometimes, when life was not the best and I had to compete with others or saw other people in positions I wanted to be in, I felt bad because of my weight. I figured people would judge me (not in the open) for being weak and someone not really in control of life due to being overweight. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t – it was bothering me.
    I finally changed my life when entering fatherhood. Trying to meet all the demands of a toddler and wanting to be able to cope with those, I HAD to lose weight and get fit, otherwise I would’ve not been able to handle this new life. So I started with WW (I do not want to advertise here, so the initials should do here). Now, after 10 weeks I have lost 24 pounds. Carrying my son around for two years gave me a strong back and even stronger arms. I look fitter than ever before. And … for the first time in decades I like the way I look in the mirror. And that boosts my self confidence and mood every time I look at myself. Maybe deep down it’s not the looks, it’s the feeling io having achieved change in life, having mastered the temptations, having mastered and changed easting habits … hopefully for life. But at the end of the day you look into the mirror … and like yourself. This cannot be everything that counts, and it isn’t. I just wanted to point out that you should not neglect the importance and influence of outer appearance in our world, our society … and our heads. Yet I’d give everything up for the health and happiness of my son … he is everything beautiful in my life. He IS my life.

    After so many beautiful thoughs of you, Irv, I thought I’d share this.

    Best

    Gregor

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Thank you for your time and thoughts, Gregor.

      While reading your comment I began to think of the chicken and the egg question: which came first? I’m thinking about self esteem and weight. Does the ups and downs of self esteem/confidence effect body weight? Or does weight and a good-looking trim body contribute to self esteem or take it away? I would say BOTH. And sometimes sheer will has to override a constant surge of weight gain. But once it does, as you said, it works FOR you. The more weight you lose, the better you feel, and the easier it is to lose more.

      Another thought came to mind. I read somewhere that a young woman got on a weight-loss binge because she felt that the only control she had over LIFE, was the weight of her own body. Losing weight gave her a feeling of certainty. That stuck in my head. Just thought it was interesting.

      Irv

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