I was perusing Facebook a few days ago when I came upon the above photograph.
It features two people I don’t know, though I’m pretty sure the woman recently died. The man to her right is her son.
What about the image got me? Well … everything. Or, specifically, aging. We live these lives dedicated, in many ways, to the prolonging of relativity. We want to matter; to portray vibrancy and urgency and now-ness. So we have dragons tattooed across our backs and our breasts enlarged and our faces pulled back. We desperately want people to tell us how young we look and how young we seem. In modern American, “You’re such a lovely person” was long ago replaced as a preferred comment by, “You’re so beautiful.”
And I get it. Hell, I’m certainly not without ego and vanity. I, too, like appearance-based compliments. Who doesn’t? But somehow, in fighting for agelessness, we seem to forget that aging is inevitable. And that’s OK.
Again, I don’t know the woman’s day. But she was once a young girl; once a feisty teen; once someone who fell in love and walked the beach and kissed and hugged and embraced. Maybe she smoked cigarettes and wore poodle skirts. Maybe she was an accountant with a mind for numbers. Maybe she worshiped Mickey Mantle. Maybe she didn’t care.
Whatever the case, she was once like us—young and alive and full of hopes.
Now it’s over. As it will be for us all.