WANT TO KNOW HOW OLD YOU REALLY ARE? Get in a boat with some varsity rowers 1/3 your age and see how you do. Last night I was on Tadaa and a woman photographer, who usually posts sunsets, posted a heavily edited photo of herself and said, "I'm not going to lie, I'm turning 48!" Everyone chimed in with things like, "You don't look a day over 38!" I wrote, “I’m 48, and I’m having the time of my life, enjoy!” Then I realized people were consoling her, or trying to make her feel younger. Personally, I made peace with aging, or middle age, or whatever you want to call, it a long time ago. Maybe it’s because my Home and Family are such a safe place to land. My husband and two sons both think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe it’s because I'm Team Mom, and I am around young people all the time, who are always happy to see me. (This is why when Big Coach tells me to go yell at a kid, I say no way, I'm Team Mom, I give out cookies and hugs and the kids love me, you go over there and yell at them).
I'm not going to lie, I had a hard time initally letting my face age. When I turned 40, I started going to a doctor to get Botox, to get rid of my "elevens", or the two lines that appear in the middle of your brow as you get older. (Yes, there are names for all these signs of aging. I felt those “elevens” made me look angry. The excuses we can come up with are really endless). Botox needs to be done every 3 months. Then I started to get Restalyn (a synthetic filler injected by needle) under my eyes to make me look like I'd had a good night's rest. Restalyn is a lot more expensive than Botox and needs to get "refreshed" every 6 months. Then I started getting Restalyn to get rid of the "Marionette lines" which are the lines that form above your chin, think about the name and it will become obvious. Now it was starting to get really expensive. You could really go on and on with this stuff, and turn into a frozen faced Botox junkie. The turning point came for me when the doctor said, "and if we just put a tiny implant in your chin, we can structure up that soft chin," and showed me on the screen what it would look like. That was my lightning bolt moment. The horror! Nooooooo, we don't want to do that, I told the doctor, That soft chin isn't from aging, it's from being half Asian! "You're Asian," he said quizically, looking at the enhanced picture on the screen, then at me. "Ohhh, yes, now I see it! OK, right no chin implant." That's when I heard my grandmother in my head, "Jiminy Cricket, Jules, what are you doing to yourself? All you need is a little lipstick, you don't need surgical intervention." And she was right. There comes a time in your life when you have to accept who you are, what you look like, and Just Be Thankful for what God has given you. Neither my Grandmother nor my mother ever lied about their age or tried in any way to look younger than they were. And they are my idols. And so I just got up out of the chair and left. I'm not going to lie, I do on occasion get my "elevens" done because I don't want to look angry, but in fact it's been well over a year so I think we might be done with that.
If you ever want to know who you really are, here's a tip. Take up rowing, then get in a crew shell with three varsity rowers. Last week, during Newburgh Rowing's 5-Mile Paddle and Oars Challenge (it wasn't a race, it was a challenge), I rowed in a quad with 3 Student Ambassadors, Chico, Soup, and Kelvin. These guys are my son's buddies, Soup being his best friend. The course for crew shells was shortened to one mile because it was getting rough out there on the Hudson River. Even though the boys slowed down and shortened their reach to accommodate me, it was still challenging for me to keep up. It was really hard on the way up because we were rowing against the current, and blissfully easier on the way down, because we were with the current. I was no never so happy to see the Boathouse behind us and I was ready to bring it in. Then the boys saw two other boats coming up on us. “Let’s smoke them,” said Soup. Oh Boy. Let’s not boys, I said, it’s a Challenge, after all. And Mrs. Lo is a lot older than you. “You got this, Miss L,” all three said. And that was enough, that these boys believed in me. They know what they’re doing and they wouldn’t be in a boat with me if they didn’t think I could do it. “Get ready for a Power 15,” said Soup, which means you give it all you’ve got for 15 strokes. And for 15 strokes, it didn’t matter who I was, how old I was, or where I was, all that mattered was burying those blades and keeping up with these boys who were rowing their true race pace. Time stopped. I rowed harder than I have every rowed in the 2 years I have been coming down to learn. Just as I thought it was over, Soup called a Power 10. Then a Power 5. And that’s when I discovered, out on the water, that I could keep up with them. I discovered that it didn’t matter if I was somebody’s mother or grandmother or great grandmother, the only thing that matters in rowing is: can you pull your weight in this boat?
And really, that’s what matters in this world. I, for one, do not care about your age or your physical appearance. Do you pull your weight in this world? Have you done all you can to contribute to your family and community? Have you done anything to make this world a better place? Do you just take or do you give back? I am at a point in life where I am comfortable with my answers to all these questions. And if you are too, whether you are 21 or 101, then more power to you, you have earned my respect, and baby, we have earned our stripes. Have a great Saturday, everyone, and remember to count your blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo (Photo of Mrs. Lo and the Team Mom Quad: Soup, Kelvin, and Chico, and Little Michael. No filter, no edit, no botox, no makeup, just a lot of sweat and a lot of happiness)