November 12, 2010

Aging Gracefully with the Layers of Life

This week's beauty is knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas.  Kristin is also an artist, and the author of seven books on knitting & embroidery. She lives on a sheep farm in western Massachusetts with her husband Mark and their daughter Julia. Kristin and their home have been featured on Martha Stewart as well as in numerous publications. She also has a great blog called Getting Stitched on the Farm, and a very colorful and fabulous website.

I'm happy to introduce you to Kristin, and her thoughts on growing older:

"My theory on aging is to not really think about it. It seems like I was 30 just yesterday. Where did the time go? What did I do with all those years? Now I’m starting to think about my life in decades, not single years. The 20’s, the 30’s, the 40’s and now the 50’s. The one thing I do think about every once in a while is how the heck am I going to fit in everything I want to do and learn in the next year or the next decade?

Getting older has given me more layers of life and experience. I remember something my octogenarian friend Charlotte said to me one day when I was visiting with her at a party attended by family and friends. We were watching the kids play and she said “Oh, I wish I was your age again and knew as much as I know now.” Her comment has stayed with me a decade later. I think it is great way to look at aging – to see the layers of experience build up and make you a more complex, interesting, intelligent person. Aging is about life experience – whether good or bad.

The first time I saw a photo of myself with creases, I was shocked. I had just spent a couple years taking care of my daughter who was born with hydrocephalus. I became a mother just a couple months short of 40. We were in and out of Boston hospitals and doctors’ offices for multiple surgeries and follow-up visits. I hadn’t had the time to even look at myself, nor worry about what I was doing or accomplishing with my life for over two years. My husband and I were just trying to take care of Julia and get her better with the help of the doctors. In between it all, I had written a book on embroidery for children. My friend John Gruen, the photographer, was taking my photo for the back flap. I looked at the Polaroid (that was back when there was film and Polaroids) and I said to him, “When the heck did that happen?” He told me I had earned them and they looked good. I love that way of looking at wrinkles – that they are earned. They are nothing to worry about – they just are.

If I am fortunate to have lots more time on this earth to get more wrinkles, I will count myself a very lucky woman. I don’t think I knew that when I was 30 but I do now.

Thank you Louise for making me think about this."

You are welcome Kristin. Thank you for your contribution! Looking at your photos makes me want to go knit :-)