“Don’t prioritise your looks my friend, as they won’t last the journey.
Your sense of humour though, will only get better with age.
Your intuition will grow and expand like a majestic cloak of wisdom.
Your ability to choose your battles, will be fine-tuned to perfection.
Your capacity for stillness, for living in the moment, will blossom.
Your desire to live each and every moment will transcend all other wants.
Your instinct for knowing what (and who) is worth your time, will grow and flourish like ivy on a castle wall.
Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,
they will change forevermore, that pursuit is one of much sadness and disappointment.
Prioritise the uniqueness that make you you, and the invisible magnet that draws in other like-minded souls to dance in your orbit.
These are the things which will only get better.”
No matter what your gender is these words by Judi Dench remind me what is important as I age….and what is definitely not. What a remarkable face she has, as does the man below.
I would imagine that the stories these elders will tell you and the wisdom they share is worth the price of admission. Admission to elderhood and the remarkable and at times challenging journey of aging.
I decided in an instant today to really look at my aging face in the mirror….. like a lover would gaze at their beloved.
Each line and furrow telling a story about my life laid down over the years, soon to be 74 of them. I used to make people guess how old I was. I don’t do that anymore because it no longer matters.
Are the lines radiating out from my eyes born of laughter and smiling, from squinting at too much Southern California sun, or even being near sighted and attempting to see more clearly. I choose the laughter!
The faint horizontal lines between my eyes at the bridge of nose go completely away when I open my eyes wide and raise eyebrows. A reminder to open vision to see life more clearly?
The furrows traveling from side of nose to corners of my mouth, then artistically traveling down to chin. If I make faces at myself and move my mouth around, especially in a big smile, they disappear and then fall back into place when my face is at rest. And when I really let go I am surprised to see my father’s mouth and furrows of his elder years looking back at me.
As I gaze ever downward at the loose folds embracing my neck I wonder just when my skin decided to let go of its elasticity. One day it was just there….or so it seems.
The horizontal lines marching across my forehead like railroad tracks laid down by drunken laborers or artists with a flare. Though no grooves to fall into here….yet.
Oh, and the droop of eyelid at half mast over my left eye. Will I not be able to see out of that eye one day because it simply can’t hold itself up any longer?
And where did the long black hair come from growing out from my chin? It wasn’t there yesterday I swear!
Age spots, moles, acne scars oh my, reminding me of beach time in the sun and challenging teen years when appearance was so very important.
When did this sneak up on me, this aging face that tells my life story?
Thank God for it all as they say in novels, I have finally grown some “character”!
For a moment I flash on the young elastic skin of youth and the innocence in feeling I would always look this way.
But you know what? My face now reveals the depth of living that has brought me to now and the stories I can tell about my life.
….and I have fallen in love with this elder whom I am becoming – all of her.
One last note is gratitude to humor, constantly breaking into the day pleading to not take ourselves so seriously. To let go and “lighten up a little why don’t you”. And that will be revealed in our face as well.
Humor – the antidote and the connector – a facelift for the heart and soul. When shared with others it ripples out and gathers others into its warm and hilarious embrace creating a feeling of vibrant aliveness.
Besides, aging begs us to have a sense of humor! You know what I mean?
RESOURCE: The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Sweig
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