Sobre lo intrascendente
I just turned one year older. Many more years than I ever imagined I would live, if revisiting an already distant youth, when the future seemed remote. I have arrived at that stage where years are not named. Ageless, unaccounted.
Birthdays have become synonymous with “you look exactly the same, the years don’t seem to touch you,” a dubious compliment often countered with the formula “I’m older but young at heart.” That is, having become a potential candidate to physical and mental botox. I, however, have felt old forever.
Early in life I began to feel the weight of old age and simultaneously playing with the idea of eternal youth, which can only be achieved if one dies young. My existential inspiration has long been the writer Yukio Mishima, who thought the sky would be horrible nowadays because people live too long. But, as might be expected, to die young in this epoch is a feat unattainable for most, if lacking Mishima’s extreme will power. And here I am, turned into a woman of a certain age.
What does someone with an old soul do when he gets to this crossroads between what was and what could still be? Although my friends say that I look exactly the same (I do not know as which period of my life but the same), I’m older and have a matching spirit. What is so terrible about accepting that time has passed, that there is often nostalgia, sometimes there are desires to return and other times an urge to go forward? Have we forgotten that every age has its own older people and that to be one today is not to be lost to the world we have to live in? Is old age a failure of character whose remedy must be the imitation of youngsters?
I have decided to accept that every age has its turn, that I was not a good student of Mishima. It is not a philosophy of life. It is to accept the inevitable, without pretentions, without romantization of times already lived or to be lived. It is rather not to lose the habit of looking at the world through the eyes of the new, and the new is this age.
Text editing: Kate Callen
Illustration: Roy Lichtenstein
Girl Before a Mirror (1994)