My Aging Thighs Deceive Me, Part I

I have a big mirror in my bathroom. For the last 10 years I’ve been scrutinizing my body on a daily basis. First thing in the morning, before a shower, after a shower, before a date, after a haircut. Staring into the mirror one morning I thought about getting a new swimsuit.  I was in my early 50’s at the time and was about to take a July trip to Egypt where I knew it would be very hot. A new suit might come in handy.

Twelve years earlier when my friend Linda, from way back in college, and I were backpacking in Grand Gulch, we took photos of ourselves in bikinis. We had a feeling that now at age 40, this might be the last time for exposing ourselves, wearing a two-piece bathing suit. So we lived it up, goofed around taking shots of ourselves with a backdrop of orange sandstone cliffs and  cobalt blue skies. Chest out, hands on hips, one knee bent. No nudie shots. Back then someone at the pharmacy actually looked at the photos and censored such images. ???

So back to the bathroom mirror and a trip to exotic lands.

I drove off to a department store where they would hopefully have a large selection of bathing suits. It was just my luck they were having a end-of-the-season sale on beach wear. I chose several bright Hawaiian prints to try on. They were all of course, one-piece. No skirts, though, or high cut thighs. I pulled and wiggled on the first suit and stood back to take a look.

Now what? Those can’t be my thighs. They had dimples and ripples, on the front, on the sides and in the back. Something I associated with the Fat Lady at a carnival. I knew I had only gained 3 or 4 pounds in all those years, so it couldn’t be fat cells. How come I hadn’t noticed?

Twisted Tree
“Twisted Tree” photograph by Sondra Diepen


Well, back at home, the bathroom the mirror ends at the counter. My thighs had been hiding from view for all these years. Time had been having an impact.

I then began to wonder- what else I had been unaware of?

-To Be Continued: Part II



Shocked to Discover I Was Aging

From Rust
“From Rust to Dust”  Photograph by Sondra Diepen

 The first signs of aging began one morning in my early forties.

I was an elementary teacher back then. I use to spend my summers with my sister Donna and my longtime friend Linda, backpacking among the Minarets in California, exploring Grand Gulch and Canyonlands in Utah, trudging along the trails of New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness—partly due to our love of the great outdoors, and partly to exercise our muscles, stay fit, and keep up our girlish figures.

I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning thinking about how to plan my day. Should I wash clothes, clean out the chicken coop, or get out there in nature. Nature won as a reward for a week of teaching 6 year olds.

Still contemplating, I glanced over at my arm resting on the pillow and got an up close view of my skin. (Being extremely near-sighted can allow me to examine something two inches from my eyeballs.) “What in hell are all these little criss crosses I’m seeing?” They couldn’t be wrinkles. I’m only 43.

I lifted my arm up just a little, twisted my wrist back and forth and they got even worse. Horrors! I instantly put my arm straight up into the air and poof! they all disappeared.

Must have been seeing things.