How A Silly App Helped Me To Embrace My Ageing Self
By Marisa Garau • July 30, 2019
Last February I turned 51. And to be honest, it didn't make me jump with joy.
Of course, I still recognised the face in the mirror. But it definitely didn't reflect my inner me anymore.
While I retreated to the desolate land of quiet mourning, a tsunami of hallelujah stories swept through the web about age-enthusiasts who are carving out a whole new career, accomplishing extraordinary feats, training to be extremely fit, and feeling the best they ever felt.
'60 is the new 30!'
'Life starts after fifty!'
'How I reinvented myself at the age of 55!'
All that we-are-older-and-don't-give-a-damn didn't quite struck a chord with me. It only depressed me even more, because I for one wasn't starting up a trendy design agency, or training for an ultramarathon, or being the best I'd ever been.
As a life coach helping others enjoy the power of mindfulness, I felt even worse for feeling how I felt. Mindfulness is about acceptance. About gratitude. About gracefully going with the flow. Not about resistance, resentment, and regret.
So I found myself not only watching how my original self slipped through my fingers, but now I was also rapidly turning into the world's worst Buddha disciple. Jesus…
Until, three weeks ago, husband comes home and shows me Face App on his mobile.
The app has changed him into an 88-year old Clint Eastwood kind of hunk, wow!
I can't help myself and fall in love all over again. Moreover, the change is simply hilarious and we laugh our heads off!
Then, of course, it is my turn.
— eew —
Husband takes my picture, puts it into the app. App grabs my face, crunches my features, and voilà, poops out an 88-year old version of me.
OMG! Husband rolls off the couch roaring.
But I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
It's me alright. I swallow.
Then I take a closer look at my elderly avatar. My teeth are shorter. My wrinkles are deeper. My neck is seriously sagging.
Like an obsessed laborant I examine the result with such a laser sharp eye that it nearly burns a hole through the glass screen.
But then I zoom out and look at the whole picture. I see softness glowing on the cheeks. The comfort of a warm smile. A gaze lined with a lifetime of incredibly rich experiences.
That night I share both my present and old me on Facebook. The next morning my friends seem to like the old me. 'I think you look pretty cool' one comments.
Again I study the older face critically.
But suddenly I feel how my face smiles back at that older lady who might be me.
Now, when I see myself in the mirror, I'm sincerely pleased. I haven't run an ultramarathon or started a new cool career. I can't boast about any physical or intellectual feat. My leap forwards is a purely emotional triumph.
I've opened a door within myself and behind it discovered compassion, appreciation and love for myself. Whatever age she might be.
Thanks to that silly app I've mustered the courage to start crossing the bridge into my future. On the other side of my present me — I now know — lives a lovely old lady.
She is patiently waiting for me.
And once I arrive, I'll be her best friend.
• • •
About the author
Marisa Garau is 51 and from Dutch-Sardinian descent. She is an internationally published author and mindfulness expert, and lives in New Zealand with her husband who is an award-winning brand designer. Together they produce organic olive oil from their own land, and run Marisa's online platform Growing Mindfulness [ www.growingmindfulness.com ]. This autumn they will launch Luxon Scented Meditation Candles and MindSpa, an in-office mindfulness experience to reduce work stress, boost creativity and nurture holistic leadership.
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