who is this person?

I had an English teacher once who kept a picture of his wife in his wallet. No, wait, let me start over. I had an English teacher who kept a picture of his wife in his wallet from when she was twenty years younger. “That’s when she was most beautiful,” he said.

Twenty years ago. To be able to remember yourself as an adult twenty years ago must be strange. It must be strange to look at yourself in pictures for who you are today and see pieces of your younger self and wonder “who is this new person?” This new person with aging skin and age spots and greying hair. “Who is this person?”

I’m not a professional photographer, but I enjoy taking pictures of people. I take pictures of my little girls and trees and flowers and family and friends. Whenever I take pictures of older people there’s always a strange thing that happens when they look at the pictures I’ve taken. They take a double take, shrug their shoulders, and stare more at themselves, or their new selves as revealed to them in the pictures.

It’s fascinating, I guess, to see yourself, your new self. You must get to know yourself again, I think, when you age.

I may be wrong, but maybe that’s what my English teacher meant, or that the woman in his wallet was the woman he remembers most and that his new wife is someone he is still getting to know. Maybe.

STOP.

Does any of this make sense? Have you encountered an older person who is surprised to see what they really look like in pictures?

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2 Responses to who is this person?

  1. My mother said that she felt she stopped aging inside at about twenty-five, and was always surprised to see herself in the mirror and discover how old she was. I think twenty-five was about the time I started to feel confident in who I was, and that I had come to be the person I was going to be. That’s the age when the brain develops enough for most people to become aware of their own mortality, which is probably why they stop charging high insurance premiums for young males when they hit 25. But maybe it is also when our brains are developed enough to feel mostly grownup, but the body keeps aging. Interesting post!

    • Jessica says:

      That’s so interesting, both what your mom said and the science of it all. And it makes total sense. So fascinating. Thank you for sharing. I want to learn more about that now!

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