Beauty Shapes Us All.

Via on Feb 22, 2012

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
~ Victor Hugo

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
~ Mark Twain

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
~ William Shakespeare

~

Growing Old.

I’m 37. Not old, but not young.

I have many small scars that only I see and three that everyone can see. And I have many new wrinkles this year alone and thinning hair and weakening eyes (thanks, internets).

Nobody gets out of life alive, he used to say.

But I’ll wear big sharp black or tortoise shell glasses and look smart, finally, and I’ll wrinkle more and look like a poor man’s McQueen, and I’ll miss my hair but begin to look, finally, as if I’m mature (I’ll know better).

Aging happens to the best of us.

Aging is beautiful if the emotions that feed into our wrinkles are true and unobstructed by self-deception.

Pain, sadness, joy, a humor about oneself…honest wrinkles tell true stories that perfect plastic hides.

Beware those who hide, for they smother themselves.

I (admit that I) often recoil in horror at the idea of being married to an old person. For that’s what happens when we get married: we all age and before we know it our lover is elderly (and so are we, of course). But then once in awhile I see an old woman who is active, her back unbent, her eyes bright, her white hair uncut, her day alive…and I say: wow.

She’s beautiful.

(Without condition)

For our task here is to practice loving our wrinkles, loving our hair loss. Love our aging. We must be among those who do not fight death but who still embrace life, and do not give in to it easily…and then our life and wisdom may unfurl like an epic, and

we may become more beautiful, with age.

Meryl.

…via alittlehoney on tumblr.

More: Getting Older Happens. This is what it looks like (warning: video autoplays).

And: The Buddha, on aging gracefully.

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16 Responses to “Beauty Shapes Us All.”

  1. So what you are saying is theres hope for me yet???

  2. Lindsey Block Lindsey B. says:

    Beautifully said.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Hah, oops, I (pre coffee) down arrowed you. Thanks for the comment, Lindsey! Uparrow her, someone! ~ Way

  3. Andrea Balt Andréa Balt says:

    I say you're like wine. You should start a Diary of an Old Soul, with this as the first page. I'd buy the book.

  4. Sabine says:

    Yes we can age with grace. But honestly who cares for sagging eyelids and chins? It seems so counter visual to the way we feel inside. But one also carries the joker card in ones pocket. You can let yourself allow much more silliness and nonesense ;>

  5. Sherree says:

    Love this. Funny, I wrote a post on just this topic a month or so ago, for another website. Wrinkles, lines and all those things about aging tell the story of our lives, in my opinion. I've earned everyone of those lines and I'm keeping them.

  6. Barbara Potter says:

    63 and proud of it

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  9. [...] I will always associate memories of my mother with memories of Nora Ephron because of the sparkle in my mom’s eye as she listened to the funny and moving address the woman gave at the Omega Institute’s 2007 Being Fearless Conference. As soon as Nora was done speaking, I scooted out to buy my mom a copy of her 2006 essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck. There was a lot of scary stuff going on in the world, so somehow it was a relief worry and laugh the tyrannies of modern beauty that women of a certain age would put themselves through. [...]

  10. shermeyer says:

    Enjoyed reading this, and thinking how funny age is. I turn 57 soon, and like the writer who is 37, also "feel not old but not young." My dad, at 85 didn't want to go to the local senior's centre because he wasn't ready to "hang out" with old people. Planning to keep on smiling and letting my wrinkles show that's what I've been doing!

  11. Gabii says:

    the young should just realize that this will be them one day , keep that "child" in your heart and continue smiling

  12. Emma says:

    Lovely piece. On a completely separate topic, it would be wonderful to see the photographer (Martin Schoeller) credited with the image rather than a glib reference to the tumblr blog that it was discovered on. I'd be fairly sure there is a copyright breach going on (though perhaps he agreed to give you the image?), but that aside, morally it seems like the right thing to do right? It seems that there is no reference to the source of the early image of Meryl either.

  13. Maggie McReynolds says:

    I want to like this, I do. But the truth is, not everyone ages gracefully and beautifully and like Meryl Streep. Not everyone avoids osteoporosis and a curved spine. Not everyone avoids liver spots, turkey wattle neck, weird teeth. I want to like this, but I think I'm hearing you say that you are only interested in aging alongside a BEAUTIFUL old woman. And you are only cool with aging. yourself, if you cast yourself as a poor man's version of Steve McQueen (who died too young, as it happens).

    I want to like this, because you have good stuff to say. But I'm really stuck on the part where it's only cool to look old as long as you, well, look cool. Some of us are lucky enough to do so. I'm 54, and I think and am told I look pretty good. But one day, perhaps, I won't. I'll be baggy or saggy or something less than graceful and iconic. Perhaps, someday, you will be something less than that yourself. What then?

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