Friday, September 12, 2014

You-tiful

I love living.  I love that I'm
alive to love my age.  There 
are many people who went
to bed just as I did yesterday
evening and didn't wake this
morning.  I love and feel very
blessed that I did.  I love, too,
that I know a little more today
than I did yesterday, or I simply
know it more profoundly.

~Maya Angelou, at age 85




I sat in my share of waiting
rooms the last few weeks, 
and with waiting rooms come
magazines.

Sometimes I found only
worn and dog-eared issues
of Field and Stream, but in
other offices, a vast selection
of current publications was
at my fingertips.





Fall has traditionally been one
of my favorite times to flip
through magazines, with all
of the autumn fashions.  Even
the ads are sumptuous
and inspiring.

But this year, the ads that
seemed to catch my eye the
most weren't about wrap
dresses or tall boots, wool
capelets or plaid pants.




They were all about finding
ways (in their words) to:

beat the clock
be a more youthful you
age perfectly
erase lines and wrinkles
blur time

And this gem:

Lose Years IN MINUTES!




Which, when you consider
Maya Angelou's quote, is

just
sad.

She didn't focus on spots
or wrinkles, younger looking
skin or hair, but in living.





And even though Maya 
survived some tumultuous
personal years, I doubt she'd
have agreed to lose a single
one in return for a more
youthful look.

Because she knew that human
beings grow from years that
are extremely challenging. 
And, scattered amongst the
sad times, happy moments
still glitter like diamonds.

Erasing years erases both.





I thought more about this idea as I
skimmed the obituary section
of our newspaper last Sunday.

Many of the stories were
accompanied by current photos,
or photos of the departed in
his or her youth.

Several included both, 
side by side.




As I gazed at the faces before
me, some smiling, some more
sober, others in uniform, I
wondered if those particular
photos were chosen because 
the families thought they most 
accurately matched who their 
loved ones were, inside.

This is so him.
She always wore a smile.
I loved him in uniform.
The best day of her life. 




Longing to be younger is
a lot like wanting to be a
different height, have brown
eyes instead of blue, or to be
small-boned when you have
your grandmother's larger
ones.

It's not going to happen.




Instead of encouraging us to
obsess over lost youth, I'd
love a culture that says,

Be the healthiest that you 
can for your current age--
fit, happy and vibrant.

You-tiful, versus youthful.




If someone asked you to look
through a photo album of your
life, at what age would you
feel that you looked the

you-est?

It's a bittersweet exercise.




When I posed this question to
my husband, he didn't hesitate.

Forty.

I might choose the same age, 
although I'm really still a work in
progress.  A picture from ten years 
ago, while softer and less lined, 
also lacks the many small joys and
heart sounds I've collected since then, 
which are reflected in my face--
smile crinkles and all.




We should love to be alive
to love our age, whatever that
age might be.  The laugh lines,
the twinges of arthritis from a
broken arm, the sun spots mirroring
our time outdoors, the ropy veins
on hands that have soothed or
cheered on others, the inevitable
grey hairs or that persistent baby 
roll, all tell a beautiful and 
unique story.

Our own.

That's my idea of 
aging perfectly.

How about yours, 
you-tiful 
friends?




xo
Suzanne

All pictures P&H