I went to visit my cousin Pat for a couple of days. And as we are wont to do when we get together, we reminisce about our childhood and adolescence; when we hung out each summer. He had his old photo albums, so we flipped through them, wallowing in nostalgia. Don’t you remember the days when we used 35mm film, and printed out all the photos and inserted them into clear PVC sleeves . . . Back then we even made reprint copies to give to people. Nowadays, all we ever do is accumulate them on compact flash cards, and view miniature slideshows on the LCD display of our digital cameras.
Anyhoo, I have many of those same photos at home, but I hadn’t looked at them in a long time. So seeing them afresh, I was struck by how much younger we looked back then.
Well, duh, of course we looked younger back then. But on the flip side, I wouldn’t say we look older now. We just look different; it’s hard to put in words how exactly we look different now. Back then I had large plastic glasses and a dreadful different hair-cut (I cringe when I see photos of myself back then.) It’s not like I have masses of gray hair, prominent wrinkles, etc today. It’s not like Pat has a bald spot or receding hairline. But we just looked really fresh-faced back then, and now we just look like us, what we are, in our 30’s. Even Joe: to me, in person he looks the same as he did when we were first dating; but when I look at photos of him from those days, something is different.
Maybe the word is weathered.
When I moved away for school, everytime I saw my dad after a long absence, he still looked the same. He didn’t seem to change much between his 40’s to 50’s, and even his 40’s didn’t look too different from his 30’s, in my recollection. Even if you hadn’t seen him since college, he’s pretty recognisable.
Whereas there’s photos of some relatives when they were young, and then you see them when they’re in the autumn of their life: they look completely different: “Really, that’s Auntie So-and-so? I couldn’t tell.”
My grandmother, my mom and I were on a cruise, fifteen years ago. Someone who saw my mom and I walking togather thought we were sisters. Later, someone else who saw my grandmother and my mom walking together thought they were sisters! I’m not making this up.
I wonder what I’ll look like when I’m really old.