Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stepping Forward into the Past

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been. ~Madeline L'Engle

It's coming. And I dread it. Some time around the first of the year, I make the realization. This is the year. My twenty year high school reunion. And I, who have never had qualms about getting older, I who never put cream under my eyes, I who has never given too much thought to extra pounds, I who am I normally confident in my own skin.. I have become an age maniac.

Suddenly I notice age spots on my arms, lines under my eyes, a new texture to my skin, lines across my forehead. I notice I can't sit up as quickly in the morning. I notice that I go to bed early in the evening. And deeper... I notice the time for having children, for starting new career adventures, for traveling the world with a backpack is dwindling. I notice with the experience of difficult years of stressful jobs, questionable relationships, and challenging health issues, I'm more skeptical of people, I laugh less, and I don't remember the last time I turned the music up and danced alone.
I am confused about the passage of time. The past is a blur. Memory fades. When does adolescence turn to young adulthood, turn to whatever this age is that I am now? And if I feel this way now, how will I feel in ten years, in twenty years, in thirty? Where did I go?

And then.. in an evening of fellowship with several of the friends with whom I will celebrate the glory of our youth later this summer, something extraordinary happens. (Admittedly with the help of a glass of wine.) The presence of these people from my past scrapes away the buildup of time and I step into a self I have not seen for many years -- a giggly, less reserved, less serious, lively, innocent, unfiltered self. And I can't stop! Where have you been all these years?
They give me a gift.. they say I know you, the core of you, the you who always has been, the you that has been hidden. They coach this self out through laughter and hugs and time spent in holy frivolity, not speaking of politics or finances or plans for the future but of silly fashion trends of our youth, embarassing moments, and iconic crushes.

I embrace the joys of aging.. the ability to say "to hell with you," the stability of a more structured life, a greater knowledge and experience base. But I may also embrace the child, the adolescent, and the young adult in me. They are all me and are never lost, their fates united.

Thank you, dear friends, for reminding me who I am.

This painting is available for purchase from the Sacred Arts Studio on Etsy for $75.


  1. Nice painting. You should turn up the music and dance...

  2. yes, turn up the music and dance!!!

  3. This is a beautiful painting! The butterflies are about to fly off the page. And as for's just and number...
    and mine is unlisted!

  4. I'm a firm believer that we are however old we think we are. Our age is a collection to all the years we have lived, so there should be a child's soul somewhere in every one of us!

  5. great post and beautiful painting!

    Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.”


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