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.


  1. Oh Lou, you are an amazing writer with so much emotion! Your words make me laugh (you weird pro-aging wacko), and send chills up my spine (your sweet bedtime connection with Tom). I love the pic of the hands...and yes, that's where I notice my aging the most. Hard working aging hands that deserve medals! I saw this quote today and thought I'd share on your blog..."Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. I found you via FB and Beauty of Aging Laurie Schur. It's seems like karma after the blog I wrote today on my blog. Your thoughts are so much like mine! I feel the same way. I look forward to reading your blog and hope you will drop in and read mine! You will find Laurie on the "Wonderful Wise Women" page.

  3. love the idea of this blog. I work with residents of a Continuing Care Community several times a month. When the class gets still and focused, I often sneak in a sketched portrait. I love their faces, their hands.

    One the things which surprised me most when my girl was little was her hand on mine: suddenly, mine were dry and creased, next to her brand-new skin.

  4. Once I had a picture made for a church directory. The company sent me a copy for approval with all the face lines feathered off--I sent it back and wrote -- put the natural lines back in --I was in my 60's then-- I am what I am. Loved the picture of the reading in bed -- Take some eye vitamins to preserve your vision!

  5. I've been meaning to write for AGES but have just been so danged busy. And I'm happy to see that you have been as well. I've only had time to quickly scan it, but here's my provisional comment........Been There, Done That. Approaching 50 ain't approaching 70, my dearie.

    My hands are misshapen due to rheumatoid arthritis.

    My mother instilled in me from a very early age not to look at myself in mirrors......to her, German Protestant to the core, it was vanity so I've never really paid much attention to anything in the mirror.

    Life isn't "over" by any means.......after all, we have a double Jacuzzi in our master bath. My sister's advice when we remodeled the house 15 years ago......of course, SHE was talking about easing the aches and pains of old age. HA! Little would she have imagined.....

    Have fun in the next 2 decades, Louisee.

  6. Lisa DiBart MarcantonioApril 16, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    My grama was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She passed at the age of 85. The inner beauty certainly shone outward. That is what I teach my two teenage daughters. 'Pretty on the outside, does not make pretty on the inside." It is the exact opposite. If a woman's heart and soul are pure, 'pretty' it will surely show on her countenance. Thank you for this site!!

  7. great idea louise! i look forward to reading this!
    i notice the hands too... i remember when i was little, my mom talking to me about how hands change as you get older, and looking at both of our hands, and im seeing it start to happen, but i dont mind... it shows how hard they work!

  8. I am totally with you (with my veiny, dry and cracked hands – which I sort of love). Bring on the aging – I welcome it, aspire to it and hope for it.