When my younger son was only a few months old, I took this photo of him with his Pooh bear.
Today this same son sent me a picture of his precious daughter, now 7 months old, in the same pose with her very own Pooh bear.
“Oh, cute”, I hear you say and yes, it is cute but that isn’t the reaction it triggered in me. What shocked me was the realisation that 36 years separated the two photographs. 36 years! How did the decades fly by so fast? Where was I while all this happened? Well, I was there in body of course, but I wasn’t really paying attention.
As with so many of us, my life was mired with the cares and concerns of a young family and all the general noise and chaos that clutters our every waking moment. As John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”, but what he failed to add is that while life is happening and plans are being made, time is rocketing past, never to be regained.
One of the more depressing results of times unstoppable forward momentum is that our bodies age, leaving us with more lines, wrinkles and wobbly bits than we care to acknowledge. That is, until something happens and we are forced to face the fact that we are no longer young. That moment came to me a few weeks ago when I was passing something to a (much) younger friend. As the item passed between us, our hands met and to my horror, I realised that the old wrinkled hand that contrasted so sharply with the smooth young one next to it, was actually mine!
A careful look in the mirror, with my glasses on for once, revealed the very same fate had befallen my face …what was I to do?
Well, one possible solution was to swiftly make an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon for a face lift but I soon dismissed this as:
• I really don’t want to look like an aging Barbie doll. An image of the late Joan Rivers and her ‘plastic’ face still haunts me, as does an expressionless botox induced visage.
• It would still not help the appearance of my hands, neck or my wobbly bits, with which I’d still be dissatisfied
And most importantly
• My hard won travel fund would be depleted … and that would never do! Priorities people, priorities!!!!
So, it was back to the drawing board for a solution, that is until I happened across an article extolling the virtues of a Japanese tradition known as Kintsugi. Thanks to this ancient craft, any old, much loved but broken object is repaired with seams of gold or other precious metals, thus actually increasing its value while still holding its sentimental value and reflecting its history.
This idea resonated deep within me and has entirely changed my view on the idea of aging and imperfection. So called ‘flaws’, especially those brought about by time and experience, are to be cherished, valued and celebrated, not reviled and avoided!
My aging face, or yours for that matter, reflects the lives we have have lived. It is proof that we have laughed and cried, lived and loved, worked and worried and we are so much more valuable than gold or precious metals because of the experience we now carry within us.
So, I’d like to suggest that we gracefully acknowledge the unstoppable nature of time and embrace the signs of aging as we continue to enjoy this amazing ride called life. Time may be unstoppable, but so are we! Are you with me?
P.S. A girl can only take things so far, so no, my hair won’t be going grey anytime soon!