April 14, 2010

The Unfolding

Photo by Leroy Skalstad
I had the idea for Lines of Beauty in January after watching a documentary about photographer Annie Leibovitz called Life Through A Lens. What stuck me about the film were her shots of older people. Once again I noticed how beautiful they are. It made me want to pick up my camera and begin capturing them. This led me again to thinking about all the anti-aging stuff that is happening in our culture, which led me on a mad search on the internet to find someone who is talking about the beauty of aging. I found hardly anyone. I discovered some good articles, but not a blog whose primary focus is the celebration of aging. My next thought was “ I have to do this!” which was quickly followed by “I can’t do this! Writing for me is torture! There are so many ways to write even a single sentence! I don’t really even know how to write!” You know what I mean? Plus there was a time consideration. Where do I fit this into my already very busy life? The next thought that came along was what everyone was going to think of me. I had visions- while having hot flashes in the middle of the night- of becoming this weird pro-aging wacko woman who people whisper about. After a winter of planning Lines of Beauty I finally came around to thinking that this was probably okay, and worth it. I think.

Which leads me to this: I don’t mean to be judgmental about anything other people are doing to freshen-up their faces. I understand it. I totally do. I have even at times briefly considered it. I absolutely enjoy hearing details from women who have done it and my hope is to not alienate especially those near and dear to me. The bottom line is that I want people to be happy and I will always support whatever choices they make to be content. I frequently say that we all have a different tape running through our heads about everything in life and mine for whatever reason is encouraging me to let my face line naturally.

Maybe it is partly because I hardly look in the mirror unless I am brushing my teeth, driving, or getting ready to go out. You know where I actually observe my aging most? My hands. Like many of you perhaps, I notice my hands a lot while I am working. In recent years I have been watching them evolve and slowly morph into old lady hands. The other place I have noticed aging is in my eyesight. Now at night Tom and I get into bed with our books and our glasses on. It’s actually kind of sweet. After he falls asleep I don’t just set his book on the bedside table and turn out the light anymore. Now I carefully lift his glasses off him as well.

We’re two partners in a bed, maneuvering through life, and growing old together.