I hope that there are 1000 new denizens this morning. After my talk yesterday morning, how could they resist? It occurs to me, writing earlier in the week, before I've left Tucson for the PMA Annual Meeting, that newcomers to this blog won't have any frame of reference, dropping into the middle of my life today. Therefore, I am going to reprise an oldie but a goodie, a post which gives a brief but thorough look at my life as I see it.
First posted March 1, 2012, with a little bit of editing today, here's the last of five posts I've written before I left for vacation.
What Do I Look Like?
"I believe that I have known you for &&&&*** years " wrote Ami, who I knew as Amy when our parents moved into the same neighborhood 6 decades ago. Her family came a little later than ours; her house was on the cul-de-sac that was a wooded area with a stream when my folks moved in. Only a weeping willow remained of the vegetation after the builders were through; Amy and I used to hide under its branches.
" I still remember you as '16'", wrote Mr. Horowitz, my high school chemistry teacher and after-school mentor. Funny.... that's how I remember myself, too.
Do you have a picture of yourself in your brain? You know, the one that pops up when you think back to that day at the beach or the walk in the rain? When you switch to a more recent image, which version of yourself do you see?
I ask because I wrote a check on Monday, my birthday, and dated it as my birthday - February 27, 1952.
Have I really regressed that far?
I see photos of myself at my college graduation and they feel perfectly congruent to my self-image right now.
Sure, I know that now I'm grey.
I know that the years have taken their toll.
But, when I close my eyes and run the tape of my life, I never seem to age.
I am stuck right here. It feels great.
I have certain pictures which define me to myself. There have been days which will stay with me forever. I wonder if that's because they were captured on film and put in the photo slot of a jewelry box I see every morning in my closet, or if the sun and the sand and my dad and it being the day before I got married have more to do with it.
It doesn't really matter. Every time I put on a bathing suit, my mental image is of me in this orange striped two piece, digging my toes in the sand at Point Lookout.
G'ma is surprised by the face that she sees in the mirror when she puts on her lipstick. "When did I get so wrinkled?"
This is the way she's always looked to me, though I know that can't possibly be true.
She had dark hair and smooth skin at one point. She must have, right?
Yet, I close my eyes and I see her current incarnation superimposed on my memories.
I'm sure that there is a psychological reason for all of this, but I am not interested in investigating it right now. I am amusing myself with the notion that I am reverse aging in my brain, and that I have inherited the tendency from my maternal unit. There are some times when I am glad that the acorn fell close to the tree.
We see ourselves as strong and healthy and full of life. That's not a bad image, even if, as we age, we fall short of the taut, capable selves we once were. We think of ourselves as competent and attractive, and as far as I am concerned, that's good enough.