This made me think of a discussion I had with my children the other day. My overly observant 10 year old son was standing next me while I was making dinner, and he suddenly says;
"Oh look Mom, a grey hair".
Quick thinking, I quickly say "No, those are Angel kisses. It means I am blessed."
My 12 (almost 13) year old chimed in at this point and adds "No Mom, you are just old."
Gee, thanks! In all honestly, having passed the "check if you are 40+" birthday a couple of years back, I understand that to my children, I am old. While I may not like it, I realize it.
The irony of this is that I don't see myself as old. I see my own parents as older, and my Grandfather as old. But when I look in the mirror, I don't see old.
So we ever see ourselves that way? I look at pictures taken 20 years ago, and I still see me in them. I might see someone who was (a lot) thinner, but it is still me. Self-perception is a funny thing. While I might see a lot of flaws like a double chin, thick waist and auburn instead of copper hair, I don't see someone who is 40-something.
The popular saying "You are only as old as you think you are" comes to mind. If I think I am younger, than I see someone looking back at me in the mirror who is younger. I don't see the teen acne and the thick glasses, but I also don't see the difference between me and someone who is 20 years younger.
Of course, when they are standing right next to you, then it can become like a slap in the face. I remember one wedding I went to a few years ago, and all the Bridesmaids were in their VERY yearly 20's or younger. They were all strikingly beautiful girls. When I went into the ladies room to touch up my lipstick, several were standing next to me fixing their hair. Their reflections were right next to mine, and I was horror struck at how old I suddenly looked. Before I had entered the bathroom, age hadn't even entered my mind, but with the comparison glaring back at me in that brightly lit room, I saw how looser my skin was, how my eyes had deep lines around them, how my makeup looked like make-up versus the younger girls glowing skin.
My husband commented later that he didn't remember when I had drank so much so quickly.
So how does this all go back to the Proverb in the begining of this blog. Well, what I have found is that no matter what we believe about our age, each passing year cannot be escaped. The reality that we are all born and we all die is inescapable. Yet their are gifts that come with age. Gifts that the young cannot have, no matter how book learned they are.