I began this project five years ago thinking I was simply chronicling my process of getting old. I didn’t realize that I would end up embracing these images as a tribute not to just my life but also to the demanding task of aging with grace.
“I enjoy not having to know everything or solve everything or be on top of everything.”
Growing older has occasioned a gradual letting go of things I’ve taken for granted all my life: my youth, figure, memory, mobility, hearing. So much is out of my control; perhaps it always was, but I was blind to it. I enjoy not having to know everything or solve everything or be on top of everything. I’m clear about what is important. Occasionally I think about dying, wondering what will do me in, when and where. But most days I’m in my studio engaged in various projects. Creativity keeps me busy, alive and vibrant. Thoughts of growing old recede as I immerse myself in my work.
Two years have passed since I wrote the above. I am now 77, my partner 88. I’ve retired so have more time and less money. We’re both doing our creative work but at a slower pace. I don’t get as much done each day as I once did, we eat more simply, we’re at home more watching our detective programs, reading, doing household chores but getting more outside help for them, traveling less, welcoming the chances to see our children, visiting our local friends and happy to see those who come from farther away to visit. My partner is writing a book and in the final throes of editing. We both belong to a gallery where we have periodic exhibitions of our work. Aging with grace is still a huge challenge made easier by having good health, a beautiful place to live and an active community of friends and fellow artists.
Book By Marna Clarke