Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aging faces

For many, many years I would look at myself in the mirror and see the same person I’d seen the month, the year, even the decade before.  Conscious nonetheless that people do not look the same at 40, 50, 60, as they did at 10, 20 and 30, I told myself this sameness was an illusion, that I must be changing and, since I felt as I always had inside, I must be fooling myself about my exterior—except for my gray hair, which has been noticeably transitioning from dark brown to salt-and-pepper to something approaching steely, for 30 years.  Then suddenly one day, not long ago, I saw someone looking back at me who was familiar, but not exactly the same, as the “long-time” me. I’ve completed my fifth decade but am still not feeling any declines interiorly, still no arthritis or other signs of the inevitable (except for the fact that I just can’t wear high heels like I used to!)  maybe a little more ready to seek opportunities to rest, certainly heavier than I was in the prime of life, but that’s about it.  
There is plenty of interest in the exterior manifestations of aging in the profession of cosmetic surgery, the beauty products industry, and among forensic artists. It turns out I have plenty of material of my own with which to examine the phenomenon. Below is a series of photos of those close to me by blood, history, or happenstance. I tried to pair images from young adulthood with ones as close to the present, or, in several cases, as close to the end of life, as I could. The shortest span is Winston the cat's 21 year life; the longest span is 66 years, my mother's (the first pair). Most are between 30 and 40 year spans.
What do you see in them?

 It happens to us all.


  1. An interesting post. What never ceases to amaze me is that when I look in the mirror and see the obvious physical changes, I still feel (mostly) the same on the inside.

  2. Hi - Nice to hear from you! I agree, in fact I think I feel better more of the time than I used to before, ahem, the hormones smoothed out and stopped being a cyclical bother some 10 or more years ago now. Here's to aging with grace!

  3. Hear hear!

    Its good to be back - we have been away overseas in the UK and France for a couple of months, as well as a trip to Perth Australia before that. With three of our four children living out of NZ its a good excuse to visit and soak up the other cultures. However I never thought I would say it but I am quite happy to have a break from museums, castles and cathedrals.

  4. I really enjoyed your post and the photos, Veronica. There certainly is a strain of truth, of the real person, in each set of photos--that which doesn't go away. It's nice to see. I even think most people really look like they did when they were small children, if one looks hard enough.

    Thanks for your visit recently. Best...

  5. Interesting. I personally avoid mirrors these days.

  6. HAHA, Troutbirder, you are a practical man :-)