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"Mirror mirror on the wall?  Am I old?"

“Mirror mirror on the wall? Am I old?” By Julie Seyler.


Age is a fascinating racket. At 30, I wailed I was old. That seems like such a quaint thought today. There are those who say age is merely a number, and has to nothing to do with anything. I disagree. Age is a measurement; a tool we use to mark the passing of time when we are shocked that we graduated high school 40 years ago. So I play the age-boggling game.

For example, I have a friend that I have known since I was 12, when we both had Miss (this was an era before Ms., when one was either a Miss or Mrs.) Isaacs for 8th grade history. My friend just became a grandmother for the second time. This makes no sense to me because it was yesterday when I was taking pictures of her pregnant with the daughter that just gave birth for the second time around. My girlfriend, through my eyes, looks exactly like she did when we were on the cusp of becoming teenagers. Her daughter, who for me stands as a symbol for the child-bearing generation, also looks like a teenager, but not a grown-up teenager in the way I thought we were. Rather, I see her as a teenager playing house. But she’s not – she is an adult woman raising two children with all the responsibilities that goes with that. My girlfriend is now cast in the role of Nana. And that’s one mind-boggling aspect of the aging process.

Another mind-boggling aspect of the aging game is what does “old” look like? I see a woman who looks older than me. Why do I think that? When I look again, and try to pinpoint her age, I realize, “Whoa, she may be younger than me. Or maybe only 60, tops. And that’s only two years older than me.” That means to a stranger I, too, may look that old. Ergo, “old” is a mere perception conjured from the point you are at any given time. I still remember my French teacher in 9th grade. She was so old. She was 24. But then, I flip it, and figure I bet I still look pretty “young” to my 85-year-old buddy, Alan.

Some, like Lois (aka,Lola), fabulously defy the fact that they may be getting old. For me, a documenter, analyzer, and dissector of every stage in life, I just want to make sure I embrace “now,” because one day I may really be “old.”

At the Cape of Good Hope. May 29, 2011.

Julie, at the Cape of Good Hope. May 29, 2011.