Monday, November 4, 2013

Thoughts On Aging


Sometimes, when the light is just right, I look at my reflection and wonder who that old woman is. It's hard to write those words for some reason. I hesitated before tapping out "old woman." I wonder that it should be so.

I have another birthday rapidly approaching. This one will put me much closer to seventy than sixty. It has gotten  me thinking about aging. I don't have all of my thoughts sorted out just yet (Could that be another of those signs of aging?). But as I work through them I'll try to put them into words every now and then.

I love words, but find the things lodged deepest in my heart are the most difficult to write.

Not too long ago I watched a news story concerning an "elderly" person. It turns out said person was my age. Elderly. I hadn't thought of myself in those terms, but I understood that in the eyes of a twenty-something reporter that person was indeed just this side of ancient.

My fear in writing about aging is I will speak in generalities and do exactly what I think our society does to those of us neatly filed under the label "senior citizen." That isn't my intent. I mean to share only my own thoughts, such as they are.

I spent a few weeks with my sister-in-law recently, and we talked about how it feels to grow old. We discussed the way our looks have changed with time and the subtle way it marginalizes us. It is easy to overlook the ones with the wrinkles, lines and aging bodies. I am at a loss as to how to accurately describe it. We simply get the underlying message that our time is done and it's time for youth and beauty to step onto center stage.

Women who age in the public eye seem to have gotten the message that unless they can do a bit of surgical nipping and tucking they will have to be sent to the sidelines. I've caught myself standing in front of the mirror pulling the skin of my face taught. I don't think there is anything wrong with plastic surgery, but it saddens me when it is done in a desperate attempt for approval.

I look at my ninety year old mother, her face filled with lines and age spots, and understand some day it will be my face too. But if I can still have that same radiant joy she has when she smiles; if I can draw others to me by gentle grace; if I can encourage and love those around me - I will wear them gladly.

Blessings,
Linda

8 comments:

lil red hen said...

Ah ~ You've said this so well, Linda. I'm past seventy, you know, still working, but feeling more tired every year. I see my mother when I look in the mirror. Oh to have the patience and love she had!

S. Etole said...

There's been a stranger in my mirror for a while now. And yes, you've said it well.

Ro Elliott said...

I remember the first time someone thanked me for being an older woman speaking into her life....I wanted to turn around to see who she was talking to...I wrote this the other day...when we think about "elderly" woman...we don't think of the size of their jeans...the wrinkles on their face... but we usually walk away and comment more of their demeanor....are they woman of grace and kindness...or are the sharp and negative...this is where I want my focus to be...not on the externals that are fading....but on those qualities that do not fade....because they reflect the beauty of The Lord!!!

Glynn said...

I solve the problem by not looking in mirrors any more. Then I can always be 19. :)

Kelly Loggan said...

That is so beautiful! I feel this way too and I'm 55. Thank you for this! You're a Gem!!!

Nancy said...

I have a similar reaction when I look in the mirror and see all that gray hair--Who is that woman?

Beautiful words, Linda. I can always here your calm, gentle voice when I wander over here.

diana said...

Yea and amen to every single word of this. Well said, Linda. We do need to talk about all of this, the reality of aging faces, bodies and personalities - and also the sidelining that happens, way too often. Thank you for this today.

tonia said...

I can remember listening to my grandmother (who is much older than you, Linda *smile*) talk about how horrified she is about her wrinkles...it was the first revelation to me that the inside of us does not age the same as the outside of us. I am listening and learning to my older sisters...and I so appreciate this kind of musing. It helps me know what is ahead. love you.