aging - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
They say we exchange beauty for wisdom as we age, and so perhaps that is a root cause of societal narcism - in a philosophically-poor culture we lack what we need to gain wisdom and so cling to the ephemeral.
Lillie had been a person once. By grade seven she had been the school celebrity, doll-like proportions with double D breasts. Boyfriends were easy to come by, as were free drinks in every bar; who was to know she was underage? Her twenties and thirties went by in a blur, one man after another. She knew why they all liked her, but it didn't bother her one bit. But from forty she began to unravel. Her self-esteem was superglued to her beauty and for the first time she realized how transitory it was. Her bathroom was a mess of expensive face creams- miracle wrinkle solutions. She barely ate and worked feverishly at the gym. She partied like a twenty year old and dated a man young enough to be the son she never had. When fifty hit, roots greyed and wrinkles deeply etched the cosmetic surgeries began. Now, at sixty-one, broke, abandoned and homeless, Lillie is one of the unseen who walk in broad daylight, clothed by the Salvation army and vying for a spot in the winter mat programs...
Katy had left her youth behind like a forgotten bag at a bus shelter. She had realized it was gone one day, but simply shrugged and carried on. Her face that had been as fresh as any spring petal years ago now looked more like potpourri, dried and somewhat leathery. Her hair, once russet brown with waves was now a practical short length and for the most part silvery white. She'd been a midwife these past forty years and had the kind of warm brown eyes that put the mothers-to-be at their ease. She was the voice of calmness and knowledge in the painful intensity of child-birth. She'd seen it all, the majority of births that went as nature intended and the ones where not everyone survived. She attended more christenings than the average pastor and more funerals than she ever cared to recall. With each new life there was risk. Now the wireless told of a new war, a new way for these precious sons and daughters to die - to survive birth and childhood diseases to be slaughtered in the trenches all over again...
The copper of the auditorium dome is like a beach awash with turquoise waves. It spreads over the imperfect surface, a blemish that only adds to the beauty. In time the roof will only be green and perhaps we'll forget the copper underneath. I'm sure it will be beautiful then, perhaps even more so, but this dome has greeted me every day on my way to buy the morning paper for nearly thirty years and I love it. I don't doubt there is already less copper showing and from day to day I never notice the change, but at my age that's the fastest rate my old ticker can stand.
I used to find sweating so gross. It was the dark stain under the pits of old men while they played boules in sun hot enough to drop a cow. To a teenager that's right up there with pus and puke. Perhaps in my so called "maturity" I've become obsessed, part of being an insecure person I guess, but I can't go three days now without running until I am sweatier than all of those grandpa's put together. When my hair is saturated and the salty drops run into my mouth it's a kiss of life. It's the reassurance that I can still run, still enjoy the body God gave me for years to come. I check for the grey hairs sometimes, none yet, but even if they sprouted faster than spring weeds I'm not ready to buy my boules set just yet.
On the surface of the lake, distorted by the ruffled water, was my own face. The years have taken a toll, no longer is it a youth looking back at me but a worn older woman. The soft skin that once clung to my bones in attractive slimness is now filled out- not fat, but the face of a mother rather than a daughter. I pick my tired eyes from the surface and take in the lake, beautiful in the post dawn glow. Already there is warmth to the air, today will be hotter than yesterday. I draw in a deep breath of the air that retains the moisture of the night and savour it, by eleven the air will be dry once more, but by then I will be in the air conditioned library.
Somewhere around forty-four Elise had ceased to be a person. Men used to hang on her words and laugh at her jokes, she had enjoyed male company and assumed her personality was simply superior to her more plain friends. But since the crows-feet and the lines that ran from her nose to her thinning lips became more pronounced, she'd felt like her skin had been painted as beige as her mother's sitting room. Unless she dressed up and went somewhere older people were more welcome, like an expensive car showroom, she was considered as interesting as any other middle-aged woman. It riled her no end, she was still in shape more or less; a few more pounds really, but that was all.
Aging is the gift that keeps on giving, that keeps on taking away. As the years go by the girl I was gets further away, as if she almost never existed at all. I recall so little of what she did, the coffee shop lunches, the crazy times with new romance. I recall that old version of myself with such fondness, all the stupid mistakes, such high intensity over things that were so transitory. I look back on her with a mother's eyes, aged eyes, ones that have seen so much more. It truly amazes me how all the small choices she made have built the person I am today, for better or worse. Different paths may have held less pain, but not more love. Though no-one wants to grow old, aging roots me further into the love of a soulmate, a true partner and best friend. Aging is part of being a parent, putting your children's needs first. Aging allows you to realize you have acquired wisdom and skills with which you can help the next generation. So whilst youth is exhilarating and never to be wished away, age is an opportunity for continued growth with new ways to give back and acknowledge the blessings bestowed.
If time was a thief, aging was a mugger. It wasn't the ticking clock that bothered Dorothy but the loss in function. At first she had thought of her new found idleness as a kind of lazy pampering with tea and biscuits, but choosing not to go out and being stuck weren't the same thing at all. Whether it was rainy or fine her place was by the front window, watching the folks of the estate go by.
Her health was now in a downward spiral. Less movement meant less strength, less strength meant less movement. Pressure sores were as much of a problem as the loneliness, the promised visits from friends coming less frequently than she craved. The phone never rang unless it was a telemarketer and fresh food was harder to come by. One tumble, one fall, and her aging was on fast forward with no chance of reprieve.
She looked at old photos of herself in the photo albums that she had stored away in the attic. She had known she hadn't aged well, but looking back she didn't understand how she could have gone from a beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her to this empty shell of a person. Now she didn't even feel like a person, more of a ghost, wandering around the Earth for however long she had left, regretting the decisions she made and looking on other young girls with pity. She knew what would be coming for them.
Brick walls turned moss green,
creepers snaked up tall trees;
Black locks turned light grey,
weakened bones took smiles away.
Flower buds now bloomed bright,
for they'd earned their share of sunlight;
Tiny feet once ran around,
all alone; now safe and sound.
Rust begins to leave its trace,
as do wrinkles up your face;
Time ages all it touches,
turning cradles into crutches.
Ahh What Once Was!
Blowing like the wind
Wild and free
Igniting the spirit
Deep within me
Ahh what once was!
Russet like autumn
Young as spring
Rippling and curling
Like a river
Making my breath violently dissever
Ahh what once was!
A mind of its own
Never staying in place
Soft like a dove
Framing your face
Ahh what once was!
Spunky like the waves
As beautiful as the sea
What once was; was never meant to be!
Gone like the stars
Killed by the sun
The russet color flew
Just like a bullet from a gun
Ahh what once was!
The mesmerizing ripples stilled to an end
Buried beneath the surface
Fire was quenched
And I was left to mourn, my friend
Ahh what once was!
But once passed through heavens glorious gates
White will turn russet
And ripples again churn
Strands will decussate
And spirit will burn
For ahh what once was…
Will always return!
This is just wrinkles over a soul, a part of me that has never aged a day, immortal as it is. It's the eyes that still dance even though the legs may only wish. It is the dreams that still play though it is only my thoughts that still can. Music moves me as much as it ever did and I love as fiercely as anyone of younger years. So look past this skin that tells of no more than mileage on this vintage car.