Aging is not for the faint of heart. Now that I’m truly and well into my, ahem, forties(!!), I know this to be true. Metabolism is no longer my friend and each day seems to bring a new grey hair spotted, an ache in a previously undiscovered muscle. Our culture celebrates, even idolizes youth. Instead of seeing the elderly among us as founts of knowledge, wisdom, and experience, we cast them aside. We search instead for the latest in what is fashionable among the young.
These paintings by Austin artist Elizabeth Chapin seem to celebrate the dignity and beauty that comes only with age. I’m not immune to longing for more youthful days– especially when I was a smaller by a few dress sizes. But I recently listened to an interview with actress Frances McDormand on aging and something she said really struck me– those lines on your face are a map of your life. Every wrinkle was earned in some way, whether through hard work or a life filled with laughter. What we lose in smooth skin and toned muscles we gain experience no fountain of youth can replace.