Has She Ever Aged!
While rushing around town the other day, hurrying as usual as I dislike shopping and want to finish up as quickly as possible, I bumped into an acquaintance I haven’t seen for several years. When she said ‘hello’ to me, I looked at her in puzzlement for a few seconds until my brain figured out who she was. I tried not to stare in dismay, as the first thought that entered my head was ‘my goodness, has she ever aged.’ My next thought, following a nanosecond after my initial shocked disbelief at seeing the gray hair and other signs of age in my acquaintance was, ‘good grief, I bet her first thought when she saw me was, my goodness she’s aged.’
It’s amazing how much a person can change in looks in just a short time. Poor health of course ages a person rapidly, but the appearance of a sickly person isn’t the same as the looks of a healthy person just going through the normal aging process. The surprise at seeing how much someone has aged since I’ve last laid eyes on her always makes me wonder what that same person thinks when she sees me again after the passage of time. I know I’ve aged, I can see it in the mirror (when I bother to look, which I try not to do as I know very well what will stare back at me), but somehow we never expect others to age and it comes as a shock to see what time has done to our fellow human beings.
I mean, I have nieces and nephews that I still think of as teenagers, and yikes, they have passed their 40th birthdays. How can this be possible? I get photos from friends and relatives at Christmas which reminds me in no uncertain terms that time truly does march on, and we all show the signs of that relentless march.
Then again, some people never seem to age at all. I have a friend who never changes whatsoever, she looks as fabulous now as she did when I first met her fifteen years ago. Nothing about her ever seems to age, her hair remains nice, her skin doesn’t wrinkle too much, she doesn’t put on weight, and in general she looks like I expect her to look when I see her after the passage of some time. I envy people like that, and I hope that I can begin to age from here on out just as gracefully as she has aged over the course of the past decade.
I also think of Sean Connery, the movie actor. He was a relatively handsome man as a youth, but wow, has he ever aged well. I figure he was better looking at sixty than he ever was at thirty years of age.
I’ve decided that the feature that usually give us the biggest surprise when seeing someone again after the passage of a few years is the change in the hair color and the amount of hair on that head. Something about that steel gray hair or the snowy white locks shout “look at me, have I ever aged!” in loud, strident tones. A few people wear gray hair very well, but most of us do not. Older people who dye their hair that strange shade of purple in a vain attempt to disguise the fact that they’re a tad elderly also announce in no uncertain terms how much they’ve aged. Magenta colored hair sitting on top of a wrinkled face really spells out beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person sporting this hair has really put on a few years. And of course, those with no hair or thinning hair can’t pretend for one second that they look the same now as they did back in the good old days. Toupees generally make the situation worse, as I’ve seen very few toupees that don’t look like dead tarantulas or discarded door mats sitting atop unsuspecting heads.
Fortunately, we usually acclimatize quickly and get used to the changed appearance. If we see the person frequently, we don’t think again about the aging process and that we all are showing our years in one way or another. That is, until we see someone else we haven’t seen for awhile, and think in astonishment, ‘my goodness, has he ever aged.”