Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Time is it?

Time is something I am very aware of. I often incorporate images representing time and the passage of time in my jewelry and writing. I am very aware of the changes that time inevitably leaves behind. I try to mimic what time can do to the metals I so love to work with. I treat copper, brass and silver with chemicals to speed up this aging process because I love the color, the texture, and the patina of time.

In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself wondering why the passage of time is so difficult for humans. Why we don’t see the beauty in ourselves as we age like we do in the precious metals, jewelry, and art we adorn ourselves with.

Aging is a natural, biological process we have absolutely no control over, no matter what Olay tells us. Aging is amazing. It is wondrous. It is mysterious. It is celebrated in ancient cultures all around the world, and yet here in the U.S. aging is considered a dread disease, a condition that is shameful, embarrassing, and completely intolerable.

The lengths we will go to try and hold back the hands of time. The millions, and millions of dollars spent. The torture, both psychological and physical, we are willing to endure for the illusion of youth. And for what? Approval? Acceptance? If so, from whom? To what end? We still age—we still die. There is no magic lotion or elixir that can stop any of this. We simply fool ourselves because—let’s face it—we’re certainly not fooling anyone else, no matter how tight the face, how huge the lips, how firm the breasts.

To maintain good health, well-being and to live a full life—where is the shame in that? Why do we see aging as a desecration instead of a celebration?

As a woman approaching her mid-forties, I too struggle with what the passage of time has given me. A bad back, skin that doesn’t exactly snap like elastic, and yes, my boobs have decidedly moved a bit South. But, I have learned more about myself in the past five years than I have in the past forty. I think clearer, I see more (especially with my new graduated lens eyeglasses), and for the first time in my adult life I am AWARE of who I am and who I want to be. I look in the mirror and, yes, I wince. Where is the girl who taught 10 aerobics classes a week for years? When did my pores get so huge? Why did no one tell me about back-fat and gray hairs in your EYEBROWS?

But, I have to laugh. I laugh (especially after a glass or three of Prosecco), at what women convince themselves they are getting away with. Cat-eyes and cliff-like cheekbones. Faces and lips so swollen with fillers and frozen with toxins they look like victims of some sort of terrible allergic reaction or unusual thyroid condition. Hair extensions, eyelash extensions, everything but what we really crave—a LIFE EXTENSION. Can’t get that at a salon or surgery suite.

But, we can choose to live our lives to the fullest. To treat every day as a gift, something to be treasured, filled with conscious action and given back to the world. To look outside ourselves, away from the mirror. Humans are blessed and cursed with self-awareness. What we choose to do with this awareness, I believe, is what defines our lives.

I want to try to become like the women I often write about. Beautiful, older women who not only embrace time, but revel in it. They do not fight the passage of time, they use it as a stage upon which to deliver the greatest of performances—the performance of their LIFE.

Beauty is defined by action, not by celebrity or pharmaceuticals. I choose to live a beautiful life. Would you care to join me? I certainly hope so.

NOTE: This post was inspired in part by the passages of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Two iconic individuals that defined and fought what we consider “beautiful”--both have left us far too soon.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful words to live by, now if I could just stop focusing on the wrinkles, sagging skin, sore back, etc. My mantra needs to remain: AGE IS JUST A STATE OF MIND.

Thank you dear friend for a reality check! xoxo

Queen of Tides said...

I applaud your honest perspective on beauty and your ability to see the real beauty of your own life and that of others. It is a crime that what the media labels "beautiful" filters down through all societies until little girls are checking mirrors and judging each other against what they see and hear about beauty through TV, movies and magazines. Though some parents try to instill in them that it is what is inside that counts, they can't seem to compete...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post--definitely a thought provoking topic. I wouldn't trade what I've learned in 30 years on this planet for the surface level things I had in my late teens and 20s. We age so that we may learn there is no need to hold onto superficial definitions of beauty.