When a grinding noise began to accompany the action of braking my car, I didn’t wait too long before making an appointment at a garage. Like anyone else, I was hardly anxious to find out that an extensive and expensive repair was in order, but the estimate was straight forward: new brake pads, rotors, and calipers – front and back, plus the labour charge – ca ching. Goody. Those unexpected, big expenses are always unwelcome. And, while I value safety and understand the benefits of regular car maintenance, there is simply no frisson of joy in such an expenditure. It’s not the same as getting new furniture, jewelry, or a perfect new purse – or a motor cycle, fishing rod, or electronic device (to be gender neutral).
But more and more, maintenance is the order of the day. Usually, however, it’s of the personal kind – exercise, mindful eating, hair colour, nail care, magic creams . . . it’s a rear-guard, stop-gap, wish and a prayer exercise to keep ahead of time’s ravages. Wrinkles, lines, spots, sags, fat, grey hair, wattles, and weakness – ah, middle age. I don’t have all the symptoms, but I certainly have most, and what is surely the common denominator – mid-life maintenance is both time consuming and expensive. Dealing with grey hair takes a couple of hours while a concoction of chemicals does its work; this is the calm and restful period of a process that is followed be a sharp jolt of sticker shock – the bill that follows the cut and colour.
Any cream that promises to smooth away wrinkles, age spots, or any other unwanted age-related affliction is bound to be costly. Staying the hand of time cannot be done on the cheap. No, if we choose to address the signs of ageing with dyes, creams, pills, and such, we must pay with time and money. Of course, there is an alternative. Acquiesce to our life stage; embrace the grey, celebrate the wrinkles (we’ve surely earned them), and eschew the fruitless quest to remain youthful. So here is some sound advice – exercise, eat well, and enjoy life. Having said that, I’m off to the salon tomorrow.