Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Maturing Grace(less)fully

Someone posted a link to the following art project on Facebook:
Portraits of people, before and after ageing
Photographer Ana Oliveira has a photo series with subjects re-enacting their portraits from decades ago with similar lighting and camera angles. So, this is how we all age.
Have a look at the images. As I joked on FB, "time is a cruel stylist." And yet, as my father thankfully is still around to remind me, aging is infinitely better than the alternative.  


Still, someone in our household has a major birthday next month and yet remains in Full Defcon Five Denial about it. His mirror ruthlessly reminds, I mean him...each morning of that day's imminent arrival, but other than when shaving or brushing his teeth, he's so busy with other things, it's easy to imagine he has all the time in the world to accomplish the goals he's hellbent on achieving. 

And yet perhaps that's the cruelest part of seeing what time's doing to his it serves as a visual ticking clock, counting down the time remaining in which he has so, so much left he wants to do.

He isn't afraid of old age, mind you. Since the time he was 12 years old he sincerely looked forward to being a crotchety old man, with wrinkles that look like an aerial map of Scotland, mix-matched clothing, and a cane that he wielded so fiercely that no one dared challenge his will or wisdom. (Some in our household might argue that the essence of that vision has already been realized, but I digress.)

Rather he simply resents the idea of the ultimate expiration date. He intellectually understands that each generation must make way for the following ones, that there are limited resources, and each new human deserves their own opportunities, and yet that can't be reconciled with his ambitions. Not that he isn't practical about life's limitations and the need to focus and choose, mind you.

He remembers quite clearly the day he realized he would never win at Wimbeldon, for example. Not only had he yet to begin his "professional" tennis career, but he had passed the age at which that were even feasible. That disappointment was fairly manageable, though, as he had plenty of other dreams to cling to and time in which to make progress on them.

He also has plenty of examples of heroes who launched successful efforts later in life than he currently is, and that's comforting. The only problem is, the more he manages to accomplish, the more he realizes how much else he might do if...if only he had more time...and money...and patience...and, well, talent...and, etc. But those things too can be gotten with more time.

Now the "major" birthday is not 85, mind you, so he's being just a tad maudlin in his wallowing on its significance. He still has his health, most of his mind, and the kind of wealth in friends and family that kings would envy. He knows how fortunate he truly is. 

and yet...he hasn't quite sorted out how to hold a razor to his neck while looking the other way...

tick tock...tick tock....tick tock...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the height of my powers when I was 14. Then everything went Black for decades. Now i Can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that aint a train coming at me , Cuzz Im the Fucking Freight Train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3/20/2013 11:56:00 AM  

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