My Picture project
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does that say about you if there are no pictures at all? This thought occurred to me recently as I started to develop the ideas for a self development project. I am 46 years old, however on the inside I feel little different than I did twenty years ago. I would like to think I am somewhat wiser, gaining experience from the ups and downs of life. I didn’t like to have my picture taken and I had to look inside to find out the answer why this was so.
The obvious first thing for me is that I just don’t like admitting that I am getting older, and moving closer to the end of this journey. Because I don’t feel any different on the inside, if you don’t see reminders that you are in fact aging, you can still hold the perspective that death is far down the road and I can worry about all of that later. The thing that bothered me though is that if I didn’t become comfortable with the way that I look on the outside, it will be difficult to come to enjoy the person I am on the inside and to share that with anyone else.
Posting my Pictures
So I decided to use Facebook because it is the easiest medium to use and perhaps it can help someone else who feels the same way. The idea was to put pictures and articles on each day, however due to logistics, it seemed almost impossible. I had to come up with ways to take pictures when I was by myself and to capture the theme I was looking for. I did not like having my picture taken, but I decided to force the issue. Not out of arrogance of seeing myself, but out of a need to accept myself for how I look and the fact that I am aging. So I started. I didn’t want to do it, because I was worried people would judge me, “look how old he is”, “He is much heavier than I remember”, “Wow, he got ugly!” all kinds of negative thoughts ran through my mind, but in the end I had to determine if I wanted to experience growth or be afraid of what someone else thought the rest of my life.
I made some adjustments
Like many projects, you have to adjust as you go, because the point of this project was to become more comfortable with myself and to accept myself the way that I am. At first I was extremely uncomfortable, I would look at the pictures and think, “Wow, you are getting to be one old bastard.” I would force choose a picture and put it into a Facebook header picture and put a quote that was somewhat theme oriented and put it on Facebook. I also started to change my profile picture on a regular basis, because I am one who puts the same picture up there and leaves it for a year. I thought that if I was going to develop comfort with myself, that I should have a picture that represents me, no matter what anyone else thought. The problems I encountered were really time sometimes got in the way, I didn’t have time to do both writing and pictures, and sometimes I really liked the picture. I became more flexible in that direction.
We Don’t Like Pictures
I know that this is a difficult thing for other people in my age bracket as well, because I see people use other images other than themselves as profile pictures. I think that our society is not accepting of the fact that people get older, especially women. As a man, you can have gray hair and to some degree it will come across as distinguished or be acceptable and even attractive to others. For women there is not a lot of acceptance of any sign they are getting older, the marketing world plays on this fear and that causes women to spend a lot of money to look “younger” and feel more accepted.
Getting older is not a crime!
Our society makes getting older seem like a crime, and that is too bad because the most vital ages of people seems to be in the forties and fifties, or even beyond. I think this is true because as you gain experience and wisdom from life, I think people develop a sense of what is really important and what isn’t.
I think the most important thing to come out of this little project which has a few more days to run is that I have become much more comfortable with the fact that I am getting older and accepting of everything that comes with that. I will never be as thin as I was in high school, I am a slower runner, it takes me a bit longer to recover, I have gray hair, there are wrinkles which are clear reminders of all of the many miles I have traveled. Through all of that I have developed a mind that can think better and with more insight than before. I can appreciate things that as a young man I would walk by and not even notice. There is a depth and appreciation for the gift of life and the fact that I am living on this world that was unknown as a younger man, it was all just taken for granted.
What I Hope
My hope is that someone who is getting older will read this and understand their inner beauty and be proud of who they are and what they know. Understanding we all get older and it doesn’t matter what you see in advertisements, you are beautiful on the inside and have significant value. You may never be the “young you” again, but really would you ever want to be that? Think of all you have learned through your experience, and how you could help someone else. Take a picture of yourself and put it in your profile on Facebook, don’t worry if people will think you are different from when you are young, because you are, in so many positive ways. You will continue to get older, and eventually we all will die, that is the way it works. But there is no limit on how much you can learn about things, or what you can contribute to others in the course of your life. You are beautiful, and getting more so every day, and there isn’t anything you can do about it, but enjoy it!
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