Thursday, April 10, 2014

how we see ourselves

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon learning to play mahjongg.  One of my friends has a standing Wednesday afternoon mahjongg group and I was invited to round out a second table.  The group was very forgiving of my very limited understanding of mahjongg.  I've only played mahjongg once in my life about a year ago and had no recollection of the vocabulary or rules. Luckily, this group of ladies was not the cut throat variety of players but a group of friends that used the game as a time to chat.    As we were playing and dealing out the tiles, which is a fast paced activity where everyone takes a turn pulling four tiles at a time to their wall I noticed our hands as we reached to the center of the table.  All of our hands were old.  Even those women who had maintained their hair color, and figures, and style, couldn't keep their hands from aging.  Some hands had pretty manicured nails, some had short clipped nails, some were lily white and some were darker brown, but all were thin to where you could see the bones and our hands were veiny and mottled.  Even the beautiful diamond rings on some of the hands couldn't mask the age.

As play progressed and I became more comfortable with the rules and the pace of the game I started listening more to the conversation than worrying about my next move.  Suddenly one of the women commented "Aren't you always surprised when you look in the mirror and you don't look like you did when you were thirty?"  After a very brief moment everyone agreed that in our minds we are still thirty and the kids are still young and we have our whole lives ahead of us and sometimes we wonder who that woman in the mirror is.  I wonder if when we are 90 we will wonder why we don't look like we did today, and I wonder what my hands will look like.


Hattie said...

How true this is. My hands are the oldest part of me and thin and veiny, but the rest of me is not thin. It's the giveaway to one's true age.
The Asian women down at our senior center play mah-jong, but I'm not sure how they would welcome my participation. They have so little that is just for them that it would probably be felt as an intrusion.

ellen kirkendall said...

I have always had veiny hands with big knuckles and age has not improved things. My big aging moment was seeing my mother in the bathroom mirror. Before that moment I did not think we looked alike. Apparently she has had the same experience.

J at said...

It's horrific, looking in the mirror at just the wrong angle. I mean, when I've just done my hair and clothes and makeup, I don't look too bad, but then I catch a glimpse of myself not posed, and wow, I'm looking old.