The name of this painting is "Dancing and the Art of Growing Old Gracefully" by Paola Catizone in Dublin. Her web site is here.
This is a topic which has been endeared to my heart but which I have not spoken of much, until now. I'm sure this topic will take many postings to cover.
Before I begin I must make a couple of statements. While we attempt to paint aging it the most positive colors, I do believe that it is part of the curse of the immortality of humans. To deny that curse-ness I think is to live in denial. When I've attempted to discuss my feelings about aging with some of my Christian friends, immediately they see me as "just being negative" once again. Or, not having an eternal perspective or, lastly, just being self-consumed. I think this is why I've avoided talking about it until now. But it is part of the human experience. It is painful (both emotionally and physically) and I think it needs a microphone in which to speak and to speak candidly. I will cut to the chase. Getting older sucks. You can put lipstick on it, but is it not still swine?
I think I gave myself permission to speak of the pain of aging when, a few weeks ago, I heard an interview on NPR. I can't remember who was being interviewed but it was a "has-been" actress. She lives here in Beverly Hills (yeah, I'm sitting in Starbucks in Beverly Hills right now). Her entire life had been centered on her beauty. She got everything by her looks.
Like a mummification, the technicians here really know how to preserve age. As she grew older and older, her beauty was well preserved. Until one notorious day. She was driving her BMW convertible, at a high speed, down the Sana Monica Boulevard and a cop pulled her over. She says, up until that point, she had never gotten a ticket . . . just warnings. The cop would recognize her, or she would simply flirt (which she admits being an expert at) and he would blush and let her go. This time though, it didn't work. The young cop didn't recognize her nor did her flirting work (as she was approaching 50). He gave her a ticket. But far beyond the $150 fine, she was completely devastated. Her youth, her beauty was at that line of demarcation . . . gone forever. Of course it had been insidious . . . but this moment was the chief milestone.
She turned around, drove to her Beverly Hills mansion and got totally drunk. She stayed drunk for the next twenty years to dampen the pain.
She was on NPR because she had written a book about her coming to grips with getting older and losing her beauty.
I will be back. I have a meeting that I'm late for. I will try to correct any typos later . . . thanks for your patience.