There’s a spot on my hand. It’s not a mole, I have plenty of those and I know how they look. I had one on the same hand as the spot. It isn’t a freckle either, it’s too weird looking to be a freckle. It isn’t a pockmark or a scar or a scab. I know exactly what it is. There isn’t enough denial in me to pretend. I could scrub but it would still be there and even if I scrubbed it off my skin I would still know that spot existed on me. And this damned spot is a problem that won’t let me be.
I first noticed it earlier this week during a meeting at work. Well, that’s a lie. I noticed it on my hand a while back but just thought it would go away or that maybe I got a weird burn or something. Cut to sometime this week when I’m sitting in one of the numerous meetings you have when you go corporate and I’m desperately trying not to lose focus. Then I look at the back of my hands. I look at the back of my left hand, my non-dominant hand, and see the mole that sits just south of my pinky (it’s been there for as long as I remember). I see the blue veins just under the skin, that are getting a little more pronounced – a fact I try to ignore is due in part to aging. And then I notice IT – glaring out as though it were an odd eyeball that just opened. Oval and slightly raised and just little darker than the rest of my skin; an age spot sits directly in the middle of the back of my hand. A melon farming age spot. Cue my tailspin into alarm.
What is an age spot, you ask? It’s also known as a liver spot (isn’t that attractive). They usually appear in places that have had the most exposure to the sun and are caused by overactive pigments. OH, and what’s this? They’re more common in people over 50. That’s right. Five-oh. Which I am not near. Oh, I’m closer than I used to be (and getting closer all the time) but it’s still a bit down the road. But here I am, with gray hairs that I dye and an age spot on the back on my hand.
A good friend pointed out the silver lining that at least I had hands. Which was an excellent point. Better to count the things you have (hands) than the things you’re losing (smooth skin and youth, apparently). I looked at creams to get rid of that accursed age spot of mine – one was $80, another $100. For cream that promises to “minimize” spots that are going to keep showing up whether we like it or not. Hair dyed so we don’t know how much grey we have (or dyed gray intentionally and all over because that became a thing recently). And there are things you can do to tighten the skin as it sags and wax to lighten hairs that shouldn’t exist and wax to get rid of light fuzzy hairs as they spread around the edges of your face (this is a thing that happens to us, ladies). We all do this, in part, because we want to be beautiful, or good looking (or at least not be made a public spectacle). And how do we judge beauty? Youth is usually tied into that. There’s a whole lot of sociology that goes into that like fertility, mating, and propagation of the species. There’s also a lot of money and an entire industry that wants you to buy expensive creams or whatever else keeps you looking young. How much of it is our refusal to acknowledge aging and the grim (reaper) stuff that comes along with it. How much time do we spend worrying about the onslaught of aging. Or rather how much time (and money) we spend trying to deny time as it marches across our faces and bodies. Is this all just a way to try and hold off the inevitable? Am I thinking too much about a single, solitary SPOT THAT SHOWED UP ON MY HAND JUST BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE SUN TOO MUCH???
I probably am thinking too much about one stupid spot. I did the same thing with the first gray hair I found a few years ago when I panicked and pulled it immediately out of my skull. If it didn’t exist, then it never was right? But it was. Or it is. They are. It’s happening. So much of my life still feels like it was yesterday and a long time ago. I look in the mirror and I’m surprised when I realize I look like I could be some teenagers mom . . . because in reality I am old enough to be some teenagers mom. I swear it was just a few years ago that I was sitting in the commons at my high school and eating a Twinkie for breakfast (healthy habits started early, yo) and desperately trying to finish my Algebra I homework before first period started. I don’t feel like I’m that much older and yet somehow I am EXACTLY that much older. And it is so very true that time seems to move faster as you get older. Like speed of light, faster. Someone needs to see if Neil deGrasse Tyson can do a podcast on the science of why it feels that way. Or have we somehow inadvertently discovered how to speed up time? Maybe it’s all the creams?
I should wrap this up. I need to go wash my face, do a microscrub, put whitening strips on my teeth, apply the stuff that is supposed to shrink my pores, and then the moisturizer that makes sure my skin doesn’t get all dry and desiccated. Oh, and some vitamin B . . . for the healthiness and all that.