Kelly Frankenberg and I partnered together and chose six different perceived fears on aging, interpreted them in our style of working – she a painter, me a collage/mixed media artist. We call F.E.A.R. an anacronym for, “False Evidence Appearing Real”… the fear of things that are beyond our control…
Pope Paul VI said, “In youth the days are short and the years are long. In old age the years are short and days’are long.”
FEAR of aging or anything for that matter, can be a trap, a deception. Dwelling in fear deprives ourselves of happiness in the present moment, cheats us out of the joy of living our lives to the fullest.
How quickly time passes when we are active, vested in our lives. Then one day we wake to an old face in the mirror. We no longer see a pretty face staring back at us. Feelings of unacceptability creep in and the fear of losing love; being unlovable. Life can become fragile. We may face health challenges that drain our energies, isolate us. We may lose our sense of purpose. We have aches and pains that weren’t there before. Once we are separated from our work life, we may become more isolated and feel invisible; fear being alone and no longer a valid part of things. We may sense people are no longer looking our way or acknowledging our existence as we go out and about in the world.
Kelly and I chose the following fears to interpret with our art and I have paired each with quotes from literature…
Aging instills a fear of time slipping through our fingers, drawing us closer to the end of life.
“It’s strange how in childhood it feels like tomorrow won’t come until the end of forever, but in adulthood [old age] it feels like the end of forever could come tomorrow.” -Richelle E. Goodrich
Feeling invisible as we age.
“She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown.” -Virginia Woolf, “Mrs. Dalloway”
Fearing loss of beauty…Holding onto youth.
“Unfortunately, moral beauty in art – like physical beauty in a person – is extremely perishable.” –Susan Sontag
As we age we may fear a silent, merciless theft of life (health).
“Because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of.” -John Green, “The Fault in Our Stars”
As we age we may fear ending up alone.
“You will never truly know the pain that consumes you when someone you love more than anything dies.” -Mark Lemon
“They are gone. And you must go on. Alone. -Monica Bobbit
As we age we may fear the inability to find love and preserve it.
“Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings – a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionizes it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss.” -Gustave Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”
THE FLIP SIDE TO THESE FEARS — I found an online survey where people were asked to finish their thought(s) on these three words: “With age comes …” Here are some of my favorite answers:
- With age comes a kind of joy in knowing, truly deep in your bones, that at every step – whether confident, stumbling, or falling down – you really were doing the best you could at the time.
- With age comes a far greater ability to see my cup as overflowing and to focus on gratitude for all I have.
- With age comes the possibility to grow in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom … if you’re paying attention as you go along!
- With age comes the breaking down of the body, the building up of the soul.
- With age comes the chance to look back and review one’s life. What have I learned this time around?
- With age comes many opportunities to practice loving kindness.
- With age comes awakening to the power of kindness, love, and simple human caring, and the enormous need for it.
- With age comes an awareness of how insignificant I am in the greater scheme of things, and yet just how much one can change the world by being kind to just one person.
I want to thank Barbara for all of her hard work; George for providing the venue. Thank you Kelly for inviting me to collaborate with you and participate in this show. It has been an amazing experience and I feel a bond has grown between the two of us!