Please God, don’t let me look like my new passport photo. Thank you. Oh yeah, and help the people who are suffering in Joplin, Missouri, Afghanistan and Iraq.
That was my actual prayer in my pre-awake haze one recent morning, when the image of my passport photo taken at a local drugstore bubbled into consciousness.
My previous passport photo, taken in 2001 looks all right, not bad. But, oh yeah, I was 10 years younger then. In this newest one, taken in 2011, I look old. And not only old, but extremely unattractive. Is that me? Is my nose that big? Are my eyes that squinty? Do I have a yellowish-orange cast to my skin?
True, the 20ish-year-old “photographer” at the drug store stepped in really close for the shot. And he clearly didn’t use a photo-editing program. Those could be some of the reasons I look like a cheese curd. But really, where did all this vanity come from, anyway. And when is it time to let it go? Age 55? 60? 70? Eighty for sure. I would say that, but my mother, age 80, still worries about her weight (not enough to diet) and steps on the scales twice a day to see if she’s mysteriously shed pounds.
And if we don’t worry about our weight (I can count those friends on one hand), we worry about our wrinkles, our gray hair, our spider veins, our cellulite, our zits (one colleague even names her pesky blemishes; Delores makes regular appearances). When does it stop?
Or a better question. How do I make it stop? Do I have control over my fear of aging? Well, not a fear of aging, exactly, because I believe I am wiser now that I was when my passport photo was taken in 2001. And most certainly wiser than when it was taken in 1991. Maybe it is anxiety about a slow demise, like when you throw a banana peel in the yard and watch as it shrivels, then turns black. I don’t want that for my face or my body or my mind.
What I need is a dose of grace to accept that I’m aging.
How about you?