By Debora Coty

Aging is a peculiar thing. Just when you begin to grow into your skin, it outgrows you. And the extra has nowhere to go except to hang there all crinkled up like a discarded Twinkie wrapper.

In a research poll for my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, fear of aging ranked right up there in the top four fears of women.

And rightly so. As we near menopause, the evacuation of estrogen makes our upper faces respond with receding hair on our scalps and eyes, but our lower faces get even by sprouting dapper little Clark Gable mustaches and random six-inch chin hairs.

Those crazy hormones can also increase our appetite for chocolate, which may in turn cause our derriere rumpage to quadruple, making many of us feel that we are defined by our behinds. We find ourselves battling symptoms of CDD (Chocolate Deficit Disorder), which include stashing Tootsie Rolls in potted plants and hiding M&M’s in our ibuprofen bottles.

This newly-minted subterfuge may result in what I call the Obstinate Orca Propagation Site, or OOPS for short. This Coty near-fact of science involves those humpback whales that suddenly grow on the outside of your upper thighs right where they attach to your hips. One morning you wake up and OOPS, there they are. Beached orcas, refusing to return to the open sea.

My obstinate orcas are named Shamu and Shazam. It’s good to be on a first-name basis with your appendages if you’re going to do life together. I feed them Hersheys instead of plankton.

If you’re one of us who share a fear of aging, take heart!  You’re in good company. You won’t be the only one concussed by the Dumbo flap on the backs of your arm as you reach for your prune smoothie.

“When I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God,” (Psalm 71:18, NIV).


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.