TIME “The indefinite continued process of existence and events in the past, present, and future.” (Merriam-Webster)
Aging is ever present. We resist with our choices and hope to make friends with the reality in the mirror and our minds. There can be judgment and disagreement in the choices we make to achieve youth or how we define healthy aging. The passage of TIME that defines aging however, is unavoidable, accepted and defined differently for us all.
I have long made art that relies heavily on my experiences as a nurse working with older adults and it has always served as a speaking point for me. I worked as a CNA in a nursing home when I was 16. I loved the residents’ white hair and faces, deep with wrinkles and lines. I am now middle aged and though I will always find them beautiful, I don’t want those features to be mine and I wonder about this. Irony? Hypocrisy? My mother lived to be 99 years old and in her mind she was forever young, always preferring to keep her age top secret. Even though she’d laugh with awareness after she’d say “I’m sweet sixteen!” youth and beauty would forever be desired by her.
My process has often been drawn to the act of sewing. It is both a memory and a companion to art making and nursing. Both my parents sewed. My mother sewed when she was young to make the clothes she could not afford but desired and later to adjust the clothes she could now buy but needed to tailor to her liking. My father was a surgeon and sewed tiny stitches both to mend due to an accident or to adjust for the patient’s desire. I have often felt the kinship of sewing to caregiving as an act of making repairs, closures and mending as we nurses help our patients seek out help to do the same.
Image: Amy Zucker