The Aging Man In The Old-Framed Picture

An old gilded frame holds a picture of a man. A man hardened by life and the passing of time. His story written on the lines of his aging face, his grey hair and beard long and straggly a testament to the years of his endurance. His eyes fixed and straight and not a hint of a smile for he has fought many battles leaving him scared inside. A picture of an aging man — A story waiting to be told.

In today’s world of age-categorization, I’m closing in on my senior years. I of course don’t think of myself in this way, my inner-voice and internal age-clock ever-professing my youth. Still, the nagging aches and pains from passing years remind me I’m not a young man anymore and a quick look in the mirror is enough to confirm this. Today I’m more akin to the aging man in the picture — than not!

In western society, growing old and appearing old is not the same thing. In a culture favoring youthful appearance, looking old means you are old and judgement right or wrong comes accordingly.

How strange it is that we’ve come to look upon aging in this way. Hiding the effects of passing years in fear of appearing old to others. Societal-branding and the judgement of others driving our obsessions on how we look. Demanding our appearance to be youthful, effecting the female of our species most of all.

Judged more critically on their appearance than men, women have become finely tuned to the aging process and its effects on their appearance. For men, age can sneak up on them and reality coming as a sudden shock. Sudden and eye-opening, like a hard slap to the face.

Everything is fine, until one day in front of the mirror, instead of you there’s some aging old-guy staring back? Prompting panicked shouts of “what the hell and when did this happen?” — thundering out from behind the bathroom door.

Yet, this apparent lag in our aging appearance is in reality no lag at all. The old guy in the mirror was there yesterday and probably long before. He’s just consistently painted-over by the mental imagine we have of ourselves. A portrayal, an illusion, propagated by our ever-deceiving tricky brain.

Without determined focus, it’s this more youthful picture of ourselves we see in our own reflection. It’s our brain manipulating reality, going to great lengths to match our outward appearance with the perception of who we are. The internal story of ourselves, a manufactured reality from which within we live our lives.

Hence the shock of our aging appearance. One that doesn’t fit with our perception of ourselves nor match our timeless mind. For in our mind, our thoughts, we remain who we’ve always been. The person at 5, the same you at 40 making signs of aging difficult to see. Oh we do see it of course, but consciously registering the change in us is another matter indeed.

Yet once seen cannot be unseen and male reactions differ. Some simply note the aging change and carry on, mostly unaffected. Others are appalled and color their greying hair, cream their aging faces, the shock even driving some into mid-life crisis. The appearance of age, a curse to be reckoned with.

Growing old is no-longer portrayed as in the storied-picture of the aging man. A man who cared-not of the appearance he both carried and earned. Judgement from others, of no concern.

Not portrayed in this way because Mankind has evolved a fanatical fascination with appearance. Both in themselves and in others. We judge we appraise, even label each other according to how we look. According to how young we look — for our age!

We hide our age behind dyed-hair and covering make-up. Disguise it with youthful hair cuts and under clothes lessening the effects of age-added pounds. Anything to keep us appearing younger than we are.

How pretentious we’ve become. How fixated, how obsessed with appearance and how appalling this stigma of looking-young that society has bred. Bred and supports with cruel indifference.

We all grow old, we all will one day look old. Some of us are okay with that, still others refuse to accept this natural process of aging and work diligently to look younger than their years.

The Question is — Which one are you?

Look again at the aging man in the picture. His growing-old proudly displayed as a badge of honor. His face lined with experience and of life-battles fought hard and won. His long grey hair scraggly yet worn in indifference, his face a story yet to be told.

A man uncaring of how others see him…

This aging man in the old-framed picture.

 

WordofWayne©

 

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “The Aging Man In The Old-Framed Picture

    1. Thanks Wayne! It won’t be long before I officially become a senior myself. When I was young, I remember my parents telling me that age speeds up as you get older. I thought them crazy at the time — but not anymore! Be well Fisherman!

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  1. Well done Wayne! I guess I’m in those aging years, but I picture myself more like the picture and description you have here. I’m happy with my aging appearance, and as our friend George mentioned this is a time to be free in many ways. And I’ve survived much to earn those visible marks and scars. Yes, I may not be the youthful image of attraction that is pounded into the heads of everyone through countless media outlets in this country, and apparently I have little value, unless like George said, I leave big tips. But then again, I never exactly fit the image society requires for attracting mates even in my younger years and never made enough money to compensate 🙂 Money fixes everything in this society and even substitutes for love. When I entered law school at age 40, I received an invitation to come donate at the University’s sperm bank – I’m not making this up. It seems my DNA was finally measured to be “worthy.” However, the letter came just after my 41st birthday and the age cutoff was, of course, 40. Damn, I had it for just a glimpse of a moment. I still have that letter, perhaps I should frame it and put it next to my picture – with my ever growing gray hair and beard 🙂

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    1. Good Stuff Harold! Well-said about aging and appearance. The days of worrying about our appearance to attract mates are now behind us and happily so! Your sperm-bank story though made me giggle after thinking how much of it I myself wasted in my youth. Man, I could of populated in my likeness a whole city, state or province even! Lol!

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      1. Lol ! Who knows, maybe that city is out there filled with mini-Waynes 🤣 Say, I wanted to reply to your post about your learning about the blogishpere and the following business but the comment section had already been closed. I pretty much had the exact experience you did. What I found is there are a small number of cyber friends I really enjoy talking with. You’re one of those friends and my apologies for not always being here. This circle is small, but I come back whenever I can to enjoy those friends’ posts. Keep writing my friend

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        1. Yeah buddy I found the exact same thing. When I compressed my follow list to those I’ve built a friendly relationship with, including you, my enjoyment level rose significantly. I finally came to the conclusion that if I’m not enjoying myself — why bother? All the other crap, follow numbers, ego stroking and insincere back-slapping I just don’t give a damn about. Its not me, not who I am! So talk with you soon my friend and be assured that when and where and how long from now, doesn’t matter. Be well and be safe!

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  2. Yes, we’re all getting less young. And we definitely experience various levels of discrimination in our society, where premium is placed on youth and good looks. I feel I earned all my gray hairs and wrinkles, and am not concerned how old others view me. I have a number of younger friends, and being with them, I rarely feel the age gap. However, occasionally I make a reference to some event in my past life which I consider would be familiar to them, and receive blank stares in return. On the other hand, I have friends decades older than me, and I can’t recall when I had to have anything explained to me. I asked one in her late 90’s what she most enjoyed about her current age. She smiled at me sweetly, and said, “There is so little peer pressure.” Be well, stay healthy.

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    1. Thanks Jorge! I too do not fight my aging appearance. At my age if I look clean and healthy and feel that way, I’m pretty-much good to go. It’s different, I assume, for the women, who have been subjectively conditioned to hide their aging appearance. Unfortunately their experience with grey hair and wrinkles, more inherently concerning than ours. Still even for them after a certain age, as your 90 year old friend so comically put it — peer pressure becomes less of a concern! Lol!

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  3. I think those subtle changes in appearances, like a little more greys and an extra smiling line isn’t that bad, or so I am trying to convince myself 🙂 But on a more serious note, isn’t it lovely to be comfortable in your own skin? Being happy, accepting yourself and simply being comfortable in who you are is such a blessing and joy in growing older.

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    1. You got it HensBloom! It’s not the color of our skin nor the grey in our hair that defines us. Our exterior appearance is superficial, it’s what’s inside that counts. The sooner we all realize this the better the world we live in will be.

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  4. Growing old…better than the alternative, as they say. LOL! I am the one who embraces aging. accepting the fact that I have been invisible to this society…only noticed and spoken to if I become a “customer” somewhere. And leave big tips. That’s the only way for old men to get any attention. Once old, you’re no longer mate worthy. No one wants your DNA. You’re biggest earning years are in the rear view mirror. You’re useless now…get over it and live free in the anonymity…you’re now useless, thrown out to pasture…but the good thing is, no one expects anything from you anymore. You are finally free. Go BE.

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    1. Hey Francis! Nope, my birthday is many months down the road. Getting older doesn’t bother me anyways. I have the same attitude as Popeye did — “I am what I am and that’s all what I am!” Happy returns to you as well Francis!

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        1. Oh my God Divya I’m so sorry! I was multitasking and your right the coincidence of my post on aging and then I make a mistake like this? 😮 — How embarrassing! 😞
          Forgive me Divya 😭🙏 I’m old and no-not what I do! At least this time for sure!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Not at all a worry, and no need to be sorry! 🤠 It was way better than the ‘Amber’ story 😉😉
          It is not as embarrassing as forgetting your Manager’s name in between a meeting 🤭
          Nameste 🙏🙏

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        3. Yes the Amber story — Shows I do have a problem-history with names. And I did almost catch it this time when I wondered why this “man” was sending me valentine heart greetings? Only to dismiss it as a cultural thing. Anyways, you saved the day Divya with your good sense of humor. And if its not too late — Happy Valentines to you too!

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