Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Here's Looking at Him/Her/You and Me!

A few nights ago I was struck by an interview in which a young actor made the point that 'inside every 60 year old woman was a young 16-year-old who loves to dance'. It was a reference to Queen Victoria and our perceptions of her in our own time as being this little old lady in black mourning. Well, it brought me up a bit short as I am now 66 and even older than a 'little old 60-year-old!

So lying in bed thinking about this and that -- as you do when you are getting on ... I started thinking of our perceptions of people. About how the great thing about having friends for many years -- and including siblings -- we don't see them so much as they are now -- but in layers. When I see my oldest friend from the age of 10, I see her as I did on the first day I met her, and as she was when we met everyday after school and when she got married and so on. I still see my husband as he was the day I met him -- right alongside the grumpy old man who shouts at the evening news ...

Perceptions change as we get to know -- or as we become -- the 'old dear' or 'old git' next door or the 'hooligan' down the street. They cease to become just 'adjectives' and we can begin to see with new eyes something deeper and more pervading than that which is cursory. No matter how much we spend in time or money on how we look to other people, the truth is that how we are perceived is up to them to see. Some people don't see very well and others see what is not there and others what they want to see.

In no way do I denigrate 'looking good', wearing make-up or nice clothes. I love all that stuff. But now I'm a 66 year old lady and the perceptions are a bit  past my prime! It's just important to remember the word 'cosmetic' is on the surface. Most of 'us' is in the 'underneath' part and that's what is something to behold!


  1. "Most of 'us' is in the 'underneath' part and that's what is something to behold!"

    Sometimes you may have to dig a little to find it.

  2. Hello Katherine:
    Well, we are not sure about the sixteen year old dancer inside as some of us were born with two left feet when it comes to the dancefloor. However, we do know what you mean here and we are with you.

    Sadly,today's world seems to us rather shallow and people generally are too busy [doing what?] or too self possessed to pay very much attention to anybody else whatever they may look like. This for us is terribly sad as we believe that people are endlessly fascinating and inside everyone is a whole raft of wonderful stories just waiting to 'trip the light fantastic'!!!

  3. I loved this post, Broad! It's so true. I have some friends I've known since childhood and others who were part of my family of friends in college. And, in my mind's eye, I see them as they were when young as well as how they are and somehow it ends up being a perception of them as quite a bit younger than they really are. My husband once asked my grandmother, who was in her nineties at the time, how old she felt inside and she said "I always feel 18." And she winked at him! It was an aspect of my grandmother that I had never known and I was so grateful to see another layer of her being!

  4. G'day Broad.I enjoyed reading this post. There's a saying about never judging a book by it's cover. I have always believed it's what's in the heart that counts.Take care. Liz...

  5. Great post, Broad - so very true. I think it's why I always feel a bit of shock when I see an old friend again after a gap. They have aged and it takes time to integrate the new appearance with how I remember them. Mind you - I think the same when I look in the mirror and see this older woman looking back at me :-) Not at all how I feel inside.....

  6. Wonderful post! Something else about being over sixty: you finally accept all that you are, inside and outside.

  7. Fully agree with your Broad... very perceptive.
    Our culture has become one that is superfluous and as you say cosmetic.

  8. Living in France showed me how highly 'appearance' was rated and treatment doled out accordingly.

    I wasn't brought up to that way of thinking and, personally, have an initial distrust of the well turned out - which I try to overcome!

  9. Lovely post and one which I am completely in tune with. I too am 66 and feel the same way.

    I still layer on the make up when we go out but I now know it's not important what's on the outside.
    I've also had to learn this year not to take my health for granted.
    I'm on the mend after a scary few weeks. Bless you for sharing this. Barb

  10. PS
    My friend Patti and I have been friends since second grade. We graduated together. When we are together you'd think we were still little kids. We both feel so young. In fact, it's time for a visit. She lives five hrs. away but it's time to get into the car.
    I need a spirit life.

  11. I find it interesting how my perception of others has changed. I now find a mature woman more desirable than some bit of fluff in her twenties. I think more of the time spent conversing and enjoying company more than the relatively short time that would be spent in other activities, if you know what I mean. And I can't imagine anyone far younger than I am having anything to say that I'd be able to stand for more than a couple of hours.

  12. Oh, I so appreciate all your wonderful comments. Thank you so much. As usual my time on the Internet is limited, but I shall be toasting you one and all this evening with a lovely glass of Sancerre and I wish I could conjure you all up for a late summer drink!

  13. Hear, hear! Very well put. We're all a bit like onions--each layer has something to offer. The older the more layers of a person to explore & enjoy :-)

  14. Interesting when we realise peoples' perceptions have changed, too. So strange! A thought provoking post.


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