By Lori Welch Brown
Spark to a Flame
Not sure what all the 4th of July hoopla is all about. Wanna see fireworks? Walk in my shoes for a few days. I’ve got fireworks happening in this 50 year old body non-stop. Some days it’s a full-blown Capitol tribute up in here. Lately my job has been to extinguish the spark before it lights up the night sky (or the customer service desk at Target) which is not always an easy task. Most days I’m like a well-seasoned fireman running into a burning building with just moments to assess the situation and douse the flames before the blaze claims any victims. I joke, but I am starting to realize that my otherwise sparkling personality is now just easily sparked. Public Service Announcement (PSA): If you see me out in public, approach at your own risk if you see sweat dripping off my body (and I happen to be sitting under the A/C vent). Sadly, it seems that it hasn’t taken much momentum lately for the spark to turn into a flame. Could be a look from the husband, an inflection in a friend’s voice, or an email ‘tone’. Those are the worst. You know what I’m talking about—the snippy little tone thinly disguised as helpful customer service.
“Hi, Ms. Welch. We would like to let you know that your purchase has shipped.”
Can’t you just hear the seething arrogance?! No? Yeah, well you don’t have the radar for these things like I do. It’s wisdom honed over 50 years and the hotter the temps, the more accessible the 50-something wisdom if you know what I’m sayin’. Pop! Pop! Boom! It’s sizzle time! It’s as magical as those fairy tears that drench my body without warning. See ‘PSA’ above.
You see, the red hot aura has less to do with conversations with Russians and egregious social injustices than it does with spell check and those produce bags that are impossible to open. For God’s sake. I’ve been rolling around a filthy, germ-laden shopping cart, and inevitably, I have to lick my finger and run it across the top of the bag to separate the sides. For the love of God, in the year 2017, can we please get a bag that I can open without fear of a flesh eating bacteria invading my esophagus? Now, there’s a Shark Tank idea. You’re welcome. Or how about instead of making those plastic grocery bags that are so incredibly thin you have to double bag everything, you make a bag that doesn’t rip when you put in a bag of cotton balls. Now, there’s a thought.
I hear you younger ladies laughing, but my midlife warriors get where I’m coming from. And, you will too one day. One day very, very soon. You see it was just a blink of an eye ago that I too was sitting prettily on a bar stool at O’Connell’s flirting with those roguishly handsome bartenders drinking my weight in wine. I could polish off a plate of fish and chips with nary a worry—I wasn’t concerned about things like cholesterol, weight gain or statins. Heck, I didn’t even know what Paleo was let alone retinol or peptides. I thought collagen was where people hung out when they were tired of sitting in their dorms. Hard to imagine how I made it in life with such a limited vocabulary. Like you, my medicine cabinet was filled with three different kinds of mascara, 16 palettes of glimmering eye shadow, 83 flavors of lip gloss, lotion with glitter flakes, and Clearasil for the occasional breakout. There was no room for glucosamine, tumeric, or Ben Gay. The most upsetting part of my day was getting carded or coming home to one message on my answering machine from my mom. And for the record, I’d kill to have either of those things happen now.
Don’t worry though, ladies. It’s really not all that bad. Actually, magical fairy tears aside, it’s pretty frickin’ wonderful to reach a stage in your life where you wake up every day feeling content, happy, grateful, and confident. As they say, you’ve come a long way, baby. And, when you feel the sparks beginning to rise, you make a conscious choice to either lace up your Sauconys and go burn off some steam or draw yourself a lovely lavender bath. If you should decide to let the light show run its course, well, that’s okay too. You’ve earned it after all those years of wearing pantyhose and thongs.