Monday, August 15, 2016

A Suitcase of Pride

Maybe it's not "'pride" that makes me feel embarrassed and a bit sad when I see photos of myself ... my true self ... nowadays. There's the sagging jawline, the wrinkled face and no-longer-taut, trim arms. They are the photos I didn't know were being taken and so, I didn't "pose" for the shots. I'm not fooling anybody, I know that. I also know those who love and care for me likely don't notice all the flaws. 

I've always been hyper-critical of myself. Maybe what I often feel these days is a deep sadness for what was; for the young girl (and even the older woman) who received so many compliments on her looks and her carriage (and yet, never, ever believed them! When I see some of the old photos, I fall into the eyes looking back at me and wish, deeply wish, I could go back and honor that lovely, and most often lost, younger woman).

What brought on this latest bit of musing? A dear, sweet young woman took some snapshots of me and posted them on Facebook. It wasn't really me she intended to showcase, of course, but the year-and-a-half old child in my arms. My great-granddaughter. That one, she was the focus. In the thoughtful process of creating a memory, my granddaughter-in-law inadvertently slammed home to me just how much I have aged and there's no denying it. 

There's no haircut, makeup or clothing that will assuage or cover up the effects of aging. Go ahead, some who are reading this: tell me I'm being too harsh on myself; tell me you don't feel there's any reason to accept being "old." You know what? Why not? Why the hell not? 

Every woman who finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.

There's freedom in this acceptance, in living in this "valley of change," but I doubt I will ever completely empty my suitcase of pride. I know my mind won't stop exploring and delighting in discovery and I will continue to honor my still vibrant intellectual abilities. My family and friends will always and ever be considered my highest, most-loved treasures. 

As Sophia Loren said, "There is a fountain of youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. ... learn to tap into this source ... ."