Today I lose another tooth. I can no longer keep track of how many have been extracted over the past thirty years – easily more than ten! The only ones left in my mouth that haven’t been replaced with an implant, or at least had their roots filled and crowned, are my bottom front five teeth. Even those, hanging in there like brave little soldiers, are reinforced with fillings. Yet when you look at me, you might never know.
If I’d been born in another culture and hadn’t had access to excellent dentistry, I could be the woman in this photo. Isn’t she beautiful?
I wonder, would I be happier living in a world where older women are revered? Where they are respected for their wisdom and wealth of life experience, and not shamed for their failure to stay ‘forever young.’
It’s ironic that I live, of all places, in Los Angeles, a city that glorifies what you have and how you look. And I confess, to some extent, I do care about my appearance. Otherwise, why would I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on my teeth?
Sheesh, I keep being reminded that Aging is NOT for Sissies!
There are so many ways to justify my choices….
I can be logical: As a professional who is seen by many people, it’s better to not distract my audience with a toothless smile.
Or spiritual: The more I honor the temple of my body, the more the light of my being can shine outwards.
Pragmatic: Chewing delicious food is one of life’s pleasures, plus essential for healthy digestion and overall health.
And practical (and a little bit ‘vain’): As a single ‘older’ woman navigating the crazy world of dating, it helps to look and feel attractive!
Or, I can simply be grateful for my health, which is pretty fabulous, in spite of my challenged choppers. Strange as it may seem, I always feel lighter after another tooth has been pulled.
Maybe losing teeth is part of my healing. Perhaps every time another precious piece of enamel dies, I get to release another layer of karma. Who knows! So today I choose to have a good cry and bless the tooth as it leaves my body.