Reality bites: I have come to the conclusion that I’m still shrinking. It’s been a gradual process, but I think I got the first clue of my true adult size when I fell off my platform shoes in the 1970’s. But thankfully, along came the 80’s with 4 and 5 inch stilettos, big hair and monster shoulder pads. I’m not saying that I looked like a linebacker in drag, but I felt I could tackle the world in that decade. Then with the 90’s, came a more scaled down version of my mega-self, although I still sported the highest heels I could climb into. But all good things come to an end.
Mirror, mirror: My diminishing condition went into overdrive when I retired from banking twenty years ago. Since then, a strange thing has been happening to my reflection in the mirror. I have progressively become smaller, shorter and significantly more…comfortable.
A good dressing down: The first thing I did after retirement was give away all my business suits; designer suits, power suits and tailored suits that made me look like the rest of my corporate comrades patrolling the concrete jungle. This was a major stage in my shrinking process. When I stopped wearing suit jackets, I thought I looked minimized and almost vulnerable. I was definitely more compact as I entered the shrink-age.
Hair today, gone tomorrow: With my new pared-down look, my daughter suggested that I go all the way and get a funky new haircut. She said that while my old ‘do’ didn’t exactly scream “I love Elvis”, he had not quite left the building. I have always been a white-knuckled makeover subject and I headed for the salon, feeling as comfortable as a twelve-hour ponytail.
Phoenix rising: When I emerged from the chopping-chair, I found myself sporting a short spiky new look, not unlike that of the porcelain cockatoo sitting on my kitchen counter. And there was no doubt that my head had shrunken! However, my daughter assured me that I looked thoroughly modern and we had lunch to celebrate another important stage of my arrivement into retirement. Next, I was going for the big one. Shoes!
Heavenly bliss: I eagerly set out to explore life beyond stilettos – and maybe even find shoes that didn’t burn the soles of my feet, or pinch my toes into a pointed vice. Like a woman possessed, I searched until I found the Holy Grail of comfortable shoes. I discovered cushioned soles, marshmallow foot beds and lightweight walkers with attitude. I bought them all! Flat comfortable rubber-soled beauties that gave me more satisfaction than an itch in a box of sandpaper.
Melt down: The downside of this orgasmic moment of chiropodist bliss happened when I noticed I was much closer to the ground in my new shoes. Once again…I was wilting. Now, inches shorter without my height-boosting pumps, I was without a doubt, taking up less airspace. Friends looked at me rather strangely, as they continually struggled to adjust their eye level. “Didn’t you used to be tall?” they’d say.
No gobbledygook: Even my everyday language was shrinking down. Power phrases like “organizational infrastructure, strategic inflection points and transformational leadership,” no longer rolled off my tongue. There’s something refreshing about speaking clearly, without the need to fight your way through the fog index.
Scaling down: So over the years and during this metamorphosis, I have been shrinking steadily into a more compact and petite exterior. And even now, as I accept my transition from foxy to functional – my doctor tells me my spine is compressing, my dentist tells me my gums are receding and my hairdresser tells me my hair is thinning. On top of all that, in the past 4 years, I’ve had a double mastectomy, gall bladder surgery and a hip replacement. So I’ve been losing and replacing body parts at breakneck speed.
Final word: As an addendum to my shrunken condition, there are even more indignities to come. According to the gravitational gurus, as we age – gravity will cause the tips of our noses to droop, our ears to elongate, our eyelids to fall, our jowls to flap, and our boobs and scrotum to sag. (At least I don’t have the whole scrotum and boob thing to deal with.) Small mercies!
P.S…my husband has always loved the patent leather burgundy stilettos in the picture above. They are the only pair I have saved all these years. He calls them my “hooker boots.” We take them out every once in a while and reminisce about the good old days when I could walk in the damn things!
See you between the lines…