Thursday, May 23, 2013

the art of growing old


As I see the days pass, I realize I am growing old. As I see a few gray hair now sprouting out of my head and the subtle changes on my body, I realize I am morphing into a new me.

This is not about being frivolous or vain. This is about deciding, consciously, if I will welcome the old crone or if I will look like an overstretched maiden. In this youth obsessed age I live in, where laugh lines have become eighth deadly sin, I realize I have to make this very important choice: to welcome the beautiful process of growing old or to fight the inevitable.


Some might say I should not be worried about this yet, as at 36 I am too young to be concerned about growing old. But the truth is, I feel this is the moment I need to make this choice, where I want to welcome each wrinkle, laugh line, and honor this vessel that carries the essence of who I am.

I smile a LOT. I am always smiling and although most would think an introverted as a quiet one, I am not quiet. I am bubbly and my face is so animated I think I could use a feel extra muscles in there. I also cried many tears in many lonely nights when life seemed to be more than I could handle. So, do I ever want those marks erased?

I am inclined to make this process one of great reverence... How do you revere your old crone?

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.-- Mark Twain

38 comments:

Gloria in CA said...

Interesting post Ana, indeed very interesting. Every line that I have in my face is from happiness, sadness, mourning for my son, joy, laughter, crying and sobbing, disapointment, and so much more. Even my neck is showing those lines that are inevitable. It's my way of showing that I've lived my life and am continuing to live my life. Nothing is going to stop me from doing the things I love until the day I die. Mind over matter, I don't mind and honestly it really doesn't matter. ::hugs::

Gloria in CA said...

Your journal pages are very interesting as well.:)

turquoisemoon said...

Sheesh! At 65, I really don't care about it too much. Don't get me wrong, I have a beauty regime, but I love my gray and wrinkles.

Jeanie said...

Beautiful drawings and rather different that some I've seen you post before. OK -- here's my take at 60+ -- don't mind the wrinkles, though the extra chins are a bit disarming. But I'd just as soon keep the hair looking not wretchedly gray for at least another few years or so! Right now I can't have my color because of the shingles and it's making me a bit crazy -- that and that the hair is growing out so much I look rather like a banshee with big hair all over the place! Seems a bit insult to injury to have bad big hair AND gray hair at the same time, but there you have it -- it's what it is! So, I say do what makes you feel best about yourself and the rest, as they say, will follow!

My Grama's Soul said...

This is such a cute post......at 66.....I'm here to tell you......you will not escape the aging process....LOL LOL......you might as well embrace it and be the "very best" you can be at whatever age! (O:(O:

It does beat the alternative. (O:

xo

Jo

CraveCute said...

I love your journal pages, the childlike exuberance comes through so well! I've given myself the freedom to do as I please. And...
I agree with Mark Twain!

Fay Iseminger said...

I think you have the right attitude about aging. It is inevitable. And your life experience has a way of carving your essence out of the raw materials of youth. If you leave out even one earned line, it changes the story. You are a work of art.

Blessings on your journey.
Fay

Debra She Who Seeks said...

"A face without wrinkles is like a book without words."

Almost Precious said...

Age - some fight it, some embrace it. When we are too young to know any better we try to pretend we're older, as we get older and should know better we try to pretend we're younger. Once we become very old we revert back to our childhood and pretend we own more years than we really do.

Though I do not look at myself as old and wizened, I do realize that I am no longer that fresh faced young woman that I was 30 or 40 years ago. I have 3 years of sand in my hour glass before I turn 70. Today 70 seems old to me and, for some odd reason, feels like a long way off, but that's how I felt about turning 60 and 50 and 40.

I've not had any nips and tucks or lifts or injections and I'm hesitant about doing so. Living in an area that is renown for being a retirement heaven, I have seen many elderly ladies with waxen faces, faces with the look of perpetual surprise frozen on them. And yes I've also seen some beautiful faces, faces that were obviously lifted by the very best, faces that have more money invested in them than the price of a brand new Lexus. But one of the most beautiful, older women I have ever known is my dearest friend, Helen. She is going on 90 and though her lovely face has its deep lines, her hair is silver and her eyes are faded, she has an inner beauty that shines through as bright as sunshine.

Helen smiles at everyone she meets, asks them how they are and genuinely cares about them. She listens to their problems, their aches and pains, their sorrows and she holds their hand, nods understandingly and gives them a reassuring smile. To me that is real beauty. When I get old I want to be just like Helen. :)

Riot Kitty said...

I am also 36 and I object to the idea that we are growing old! Old is how old you feel, IMHO. :)

dorothee draft said...

It is wiser to accept what you can not refuse !

Jacquelineand.... said...

Beautiful journal pages! I've long wished I could illustrate my Livre de Tenebres but, alas, I've more thumbs than fingers when it comes to such things.

Aging, there are so many opinions out there on how it's best done, at least for women (I don't recall ever reading articles on aging gracefully for me, have you? perhaps there should be some!) but I think perhaps the best rule of thumb is: do what makes you feel happy, comfortable, and more yourself. I'm not going to fuss about lines and wrinkles, but I still have fun playing with hair and nail colours as well as cosmetics because that IS fun for me.

What I truly enjoy about becoming a crone (I do so love that word!) is the increasing sense of freedom about expressing myself, owning my opinions and experiences, and becoming more certain in my beliefs about what is right and wrong. At the same time I feel secure enough to hear others expressing their opinions without feeling threatened by them, nor do I feel that because something works well for me that it will work well for others.

What a lovely sense of freedom that gives!

Caffeine Girl said...

I'm quite a bit further down the road, and I think you are totally right. I decided a long time ago that growing old is better than the alternative -- so age is best embraced and treasured. Yeah, I struggle with my changing body, but I'm not going to cling to a false youth. As I tell my daughter, "I love my middle-aged clothes!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I love that quote from Mark Twain. He was such an interesting character.

Grow old gracefully, and welcome every stage. The body ages, but the soul doesn't. You'll always be young as long as you are happy.

Christine Altmiller said...

I am 44 and very grey. I decided early on that I was not going to fight the hair or the wrinkles. It is the natural progression of life and aging and should not be seen as a sin or a crime to look your age. I earned every mark and color on my body. It seems to bother some of my friends who are always pushing me to dye my hair. That just causes me laugh :-)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Yes 36 is young!! 36 is the new 25 :)

Kyra Wilson said...

I'm 38, and I have many thoughts lately over the same thing. My daughter is turning 15 next weekend, and she is coming into her "moment" - you know, those years when you're an adult, and aging seems impossible and the world is before you with no decisions made yet? All possibilities and wonder.

Me, I'm 38. I've been married for almost 18 years, and my children are edging ever closer to leaving the nest. I have college degrees, and businesses, and a career. I've seen life and death, and I've seen what matters and what does not.

There is a part of me that will always wish that I could retain my youth, but there is a stronger and more willful part of me that says I had it, I have this now - this sort of inbetween, and I would rather accept who I am than spend my time, money, and effort on potions or surgery or whatever else, trying to feel like I can hold on to an outside wrapper that doesn't truly represent me.

My wrinkles are mine, I'm keeping them. It doesn't mean I won't take care of myself, but I'm not going to buy anything to change what I've rightly earned. Those laugh lines, those frown lines, those are simply a part of me, and how silly would I be to try to make them go away?

La Abela said...

There is a Spanish designer who says "wrinkles are beautiful" I always say that when a new wrinkle in my body. Saludos

Laura said...

I too am enjoying aging... I am more confident, kinder to myself and therefore others... every day a blessing, a gift.... I am grateful.

Arkansas Patti said...

Luckily you are still at the age where aging is purely a discussion. For me it is here to stay. I never fought it and accepted the signs on my face that I had lived an interesting, mostly fun, outdoor life. Emotional self confidence seems to be directly tied to wrinkles.
Keeping those extra pounds at bay, white hair properly coiffed and a cheerful persona seems so much more important these days than worrying about skin that is no longer elastic and a bit spotted. I am quite comfortable in my wrinkles and sags.

Nadia said...

Good post Ana! I find people that are pure with wrinckles and grey hair more beautiful then some who had things fixed. It just gives me the creeps to see all those people on tv with their inflated lips and facelifts...
I just discovered Brooke Elliott, that is a nice woman to see! We should have more normal people on tv and such if you ask me. And if you are happy with yourself it will reflect on the outside. Don't get me wrong I am not against getting something fixed but I am not a big fan of the fake. xoxo

Linda Chaves said...

I can honestly say that my sixties so far have been the most fabulous, exciting, and amazing years of my life. Because I don't look in the mirror much any more, I don't worry about it. I dyed my hair bright pink at 64 and never looked back. I have since travelled the world and started painting. Though I loved my work as a teacher, retirement brings a freedom and liberty I hadn't known existed. It is WONDERFUL. We are wiser, more confident and happy with ourselves.I no longer worry about what people think. I live each day to the maximum. Don't EVER worry about ageing - it just gets better!

AntiquityTravelers said...

Love the skin you're in ... as they say. It is who you are, and who you've become.

Sherri B. said...

What I love about aging is that it becomes about inner beauty because the outer beauty is going to fade whether you want it to or not. There's something very freeing about that - I do not miss my 20s when I was so consumed with staying thin. I still try to stay fit, but now it's purely about health and not losing pounds. Lovely thoughts, as always...and beautiful pencil sketches!

Creatively yours Fi said...

Beautiful post Ana. I love what Almost Precious had to say. My 40yr old girlfriend the other day was asked whether the lines in her head hurt by her three year old! And she has a husband 15years younger than her. Looking in the mirror and seeing the face change is difficult at times. But I agree with you....Best to go with it....as one wise Papua New Guinean said " You can't make 6 o'clock 3 o'clock.

Annette said...

Hi my dear young friend, yep age is how you look at it. I am 69 and proud of it. Every milestone age I think ok I made it thru that one and enjoyed it and looking forward to the next year and see what is around the corner. Just embrace it and tell the mirror that you are fine with Ana the way she is in this very second. I have wrinkles and always smile Smiles take less muscles than frowning. Now the Grey? Wellllllll I thought when I was 65 would quit coloring, me and Miss Clairol are the best of friends. First name friends. then as each year comes I think ok this is the year, nope well maybe when I am 99 and ca't reach the top of my head I might quit. I wish it was the all silver or all white but nope mother nature pulled a sneaky on me . so that is my stand on age, just go with it and enjoy life to the fullest. I have done things that a lot of youngsters wouldn't do but hey I guess I am a daredevil at heart. Hugs my dear and keep smiling. Those are the best wrinkles. I hope I am making semi sense. xoxoxoxo Love you tons

Magic Love Crow said...

I agree with Mark! Be you! Don't be someone else! Be proud of your laugh lines and wrinkles! They are yours!

Ileana said...

Although I like to see beauty and feel beautiful, I think someone's laugh lines and aging face (as long as it's not grumpy) can be a beautiful and wonderful thing. I'm not one to go under the knife to look younger but I will continue to die my hair and use make-up to feel my best.

Irene @ In A Different Place said...

Beautiful words, as always, Ana! You're absolutely right, we do live in a youth-obsessed era. I do wish not to give in to what the world dictates, because true beauty comes from within, and those lines, when I get older, they will only remind me of how much wisdom I gained through the years. :-)

Jeanne said...

I grew up learning that with age came beauty. Beauty of a sort that is deeper than the skin. Such a shame that today's youth does not know of this Beauty. And such a shame that today's society does not revere the wisdom (or Beauty) of our Grandparents. Seems like this is a step backwards.

Francie M said...

Hard thing to write about at 64 much easier to think you'll embrace it at 36. I'm filled with regrets - I don't like being old, don't like what I see in the mirror - just a reminder that my time here is limited. I look for beauty in old faces and I find it, its the beauty of acceptance but I haven't reached that point yet, not sure when it comes, could be different for everyone.

Kristin_Texas said...

I have a hate/hate relationship with age if I'm to be perfectly honest. I just had a birthday last week (I'm a couple years older than you). I think it bothers me as much as it does because I still feel like that lost girl in high school. Not really knowing what to do with my life, but constantly searching... and falling on my face a lot of the time. :p

I have to be honest with myself. Age is evil and I don't like it one bit. Nope.

Kristin

Red Shoes said...

I think that we also discover that as we age, we take on more characteristics of our Parents... how they looked, some of their mannerisms.

My wrinkles from smiles, laughter, crying, tears, etc., reflect all of the events in my Life that I have experienced to this point.

I do have to say this, however...

I wish I was as wise as 36 as you seem to be.

I LOVE your drawings.

~shoes~

NatashaMay said...

Love your sketches! I got my gray hairs I think around 32 and it's weird because I don't feel old. :) My dad's hair turned gray when he was in his 60's but I of course take after my mom. :)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I am old enough to be your mother and I love this time in my life. I think more about my health and staying strong than lines on my face! I smile a lot...it makes me look younger, I think! Sweet hugs!

Theresa Evans said...

I'm so pleased I found your blog ... thanks for visiting mine :)

At 18 months off 60, I do feel a little apprehensive that I'm getting old, at least on paper. But, the inevitable 'time is running out' feeling that creeps in sometimes does give you a kick in the pants to really live life to the full. There's no point fighting wrinkles. In any case, they add to the beauty and character of an older face. Authenticity wins every time.

bohemiannie! art said...

I love your honesty Ana...and the way you spill your heart.

Palomasea said...

Beautiful sketches...
Beautiful musings...
I love the word reverence. Gratitude, reverence....words of the soul and words of wisdom.
At 36 I was not quite thinking about it too much, but now into the fourth decade...yes. I reach deep into my creative self, and I consciously make time to dance, to play...to appreciate the seemingly simple things...
Do what makes you happy, surround yourself with people who make you happy, and know that you are beautiful! :) Love the Mark Twain quote...
Love and blessings (and a big thank you for coming over to see me and those darling bunnies)
- Irina