Well, this month's challenge in the ZNE Artists and Poets group was to do a self-portrait and use a few words to describe yourself. Hmmm... I started out with the idea that I would do an actual, look-in-the-mirror self portrait. Ugh. I couldn't bear it. I'm in such a state about my looks lately. So my next bright idea was to do a self portrait that would portray how I think I look. You know that mythical self image you have that is always cracked when you see how you really look in the Christmas photo your Aunt Millie took when you weren't ready?
So I started on the painting and along the way it morphed into this sad-faced girl with the beginnings of jowls. Then my tiny little poem came to me and I realized that I was still in the state of mind so beautifully described by Paisley here. I had the plan, heck it was practically a credo, to "live fast and die young." My mother died when she was just 41 years old and because of that I always had the fear that I would go the same route. (It was a great relief to turn 42.) Maybe conviction is a better word than fear. I think subconsiously I always thought I wouldn't be around to get old - so why prepare for it?
What that looked like was no sunscreen, lots of alcohol, no exercise routine to speak of, many late nights, chronic sleep deprivation (hey, that's still true!), more alcohol, no savings, fantastic - but fattening and rich - food from fabulous restaurants (hence the no savings part!), lots of laughing, and hundreds of fun memories.
Tomorrow I turn 45. My hair is going gray fast. My skin's dryness factor has doubled in the past year. Stupid, stupid hormones are making my face break out (I'm a little bitter about this part). I'm beginning to see wrinkles - wrinkles! - on my face and neck (I refuse to talk about the Creeping Jowl Syndrome.). My body has apparently lost the ability to burn calories without assistance and I had to get tri-focals this year. Gah!
On the other hand, when I look at my life at 45, I see that I have so, so much. Just having a wonderful husband and daughter and a fulfilling art habit are so much more than I ever dreamed of having. It's a beautiful life and I am so grateful now that I didn't die young. But I'm still not reconciled to the wrinkle thing...