What has gotten me through the greatest challenges of my life? — a sense of humor, especially the ability to laugh at myself and the things that happen. In my humble opinion, humour is the key to aging gracefully. Laugh and laugh heartily.
A Day at the Spa
My friend and I recently visited Olympus Spa, a Korean spa in the Seattle region. According to its website, it merges “the Eastern medicinal techniques and Western relaxation techniques to create a total health conscious spa.”
If you’ve never been, it’s quite an experience.
The spa’s base package—a one day pass filled with soaks in hot pools followed by cold showers — rejuvenates the weary body and soul. Women-only patrons wear nothing in the cell-phone-prohibited wet area.
A veteran of the spa, my friend booked us the Korean Premium Body Scrub, 55 minutes of exfoliation and moisturization. No gentle massage, “unlike any salt scrub” the masseurs use only simple soap and scrub mitts. The magic lies in the vigour of the rub.
As I experience the scrub, I imagine myself a car with its paint being sandblasted off.
The end result—baby smooth skin and three pounds lost. I know it sounds gross, but yes, pounds of skin literally fall to the floor and wash down the drain.
After 30 minutes of alternating from my back, left side and right side, my massage therapist finishes Side 1. She scrubbed every nook and cranny, taking exception only to the orifices.
Now it’s half-time.
She says to me in her broken English, “Get drink water. Use bathroom. Wait for me in sauna.”
In the odd state of feeling vulnerable in my nakedness, visually disoriented without my glasses, yet completely relaxed with the treatments, I slide off the rubber bed and lumber towards the drinking fountain. I use the washroom and wait as told.
A few moments later my massage therapist interrupts my Zen to take me back for Side 2 of the scrub and moisturizing.
Return for Moisturizing
As I climb back onto my elevated bed, I glance to my left and see a very Rubenesque woman, likely twice my weight.
Then I glance to my friend on my right. She’s about the same size as me. But since we just stepped on the scale before the treatments, I know she weighs 10 more pounds than me and measures a couple inches shorter.
Too Much Tissue
As I climb up on my table, my massage therapist starts gesticulating wildly and exclaims, “too much tissue, too much tissue.”
I’m like — what do you mean I got too much tissue? I’ve got Rubenesque on my left and slightly bigger on my right. Who are you to say I have too much tissue?!
She reads the confusion on my face.
“In your bum! Tissue in your bum,” she says excitedly. “I hose you.” And so she did.
The Fun of Aging
Telling my physio a few weeks later (because I still think it’s so damn funny), he laughs and shares a story. He tells of an attractive young woman in her 20’s exciting the pub washroom, toilet paper streamed behind her, out her skirt, down her leg, threaded around her high-heel and flapping behind her like crepe streamers in the breeze.
When she got to her table and her friends alerted her to her trailer, she blanched, then turned crimson with embarrassment. Mortified, she left the pub immediately.
And that my friends is the difference between a woman in her 20’s and one in her 40’s. When you’re in your 20’s and you’ve yet to experience some of the really shitty stuff life can deal, the small stuff seems devastating.
But when you’re in your 40’s and you’ve survived — and thrived — through some major crap, a little misplaced toilet paper? — nothing but the source of laughter.