Article by Wendy McCance
I saw a picture the other day on Facebook. It was of several cousins gathered together to celebrate a family event. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, but I was able to see in a picture several cousins who were all around my age and who I had grown up with.
What struck me was how they looked. They were old. I know this sounds crazy, but it jolted me. Here I was around the same age as the group I saw in a picture, a picture I imagined myself in as well and how we would all look together. After all of these years, in my head they were still kids. Hell, I was still a kid and yet, this picture gave evidence to the fact that I was incorrect. We were now much older.
All I could think about was, where are the kids? Here was a party with just adults simply because the kids were us and we were all adults now. It was the strangest thing to try and comprehend. I hadn’t seen these cousins in years. We all lived so far away from each other and life had taken over. Raising families, focusing on careers and growing old kept us in our own worlds. I had seen many pictures of these same cousins individually. Pictures of them with their own families. Seeing them raise their own kids and yet it was because they were all together that the memories flooded back. Picturing all of us as kids and how wrong it seemed to be looking at a picture of adults staring right back at me.
Viewing that picture reminded me of so many other pictures just like it. The only difference was that they were pictures of my parents and their siblings. Posed just the same way and looking the same age. What happened to all of us? How did we all get so old seemingly so quickly? It was truly an unusual moment.
It’s funny how you don’t see it in yourself. The ageing process creeps up on you so quietly. Yeah, your body changes as you age. Maybe a bit more weight or a wrinkle here or there, but it is so gradual that it’s easy to brush off. In your head you are still young.
I think in my head I stopped growing in my early 30’s. I definitely don’t feel like I’m in my 20’s anymore, but after I hit 30 and had hit all of my personally important milestones by getting married, buying a home, having kids and settling into a career age has just become a blur of years that don’t seem to advance. It’s just this stagnant place where you continue to live within a certain age bracket for eternity (at least it feels that way). So when I see my relatives growing older by evidence of a photograph, it takes me a moment to realize that we have continued on. We are getting older and it is our kids who will look at a photo like that and feel like it is a picture of “the adults.”
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