“Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”
From Mirror by Sylvia Plath
That’s one way of looking at ageing I guess; although Sylvia Plath’s beautiful sad poem, told from the point of view of the mirror, makes it all seem hopeless, we’d like to encourage you to see growing older in a more positive light. For a start – girl; there ain’t nothing you can do about it. It happens because it is as natural as breathing. Everything grows, everything ages and while a new seed brings delightful joy, it is when it becomes a magnificent plant that we really stand back and admire it. Focus on your eyes the next time you look in the mirror; with a knowing smile, remind yourself of the things you’ve seen, the secrets you are guardian of; the pleasures, the knowledge, the pain you carry, the moments that made it worthwhile. Wouldn’t it be disturbing if your face didn’t reflect back to you all of those carefully gathered experiences?
Think of the faces of the ones you love. Are they all super models? Can you love your sister before she’s had a chance to put her eyebrows on? My eye wanders over these faces, admiring not so much clear complexions but a crooked smile, an overlapping tooth, the mix of blues and greys of the eyes, a dimple, a furrowed brow that reminds you why you love this concerned human.
I’m not saying you should let yourself go; like anything we grow, we want it to look the best it can, because that reflects the true health of it. You wouldn’t put a bow on a sad looking plant, you’d water it or feed the soil or re-pot it – all the better to accommodate its growth. It’s alright to want to nourish and rejuvenate your skin too, and perhaps this is the real reason that the word ‘antioxidant’ gets our attention. Oxidising suggests the end of the cycle of growth and like any living thing on this planet, we are designed to want to survive for as long as possible. Getting older is perfectly natural; getting old is another thing altogether.