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40

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Past lives are real.  I have had several:  in one, I was a gymnast who longed to be Nadia Comaneci.  In another, I was a dancer, as well as a student.  I was a poet for a while.  I have been a Londoner, a New Yorker, the wife of a Wall Street Lawyer.  All of them came to an end, and each ending was like a little death, although some of them were slow and natural and therefore not worth any period of grieving.  It’s a lot to have crammed into 40 years, but I’m grateful for every moment.

My newest life finds me knee deep in motherhood.  In love.  Caught up passionately viewing life through a camera lens, trying valiantly to balance what I would like to do with what I need to do, and what I have to do.  I know where I have been, but I don’t know where I am going.  More than ever, however, I know how little it matters to be able to see into the future, and what a waste of precious time it is to even try.  The man who holds my heart closely to his own renews my sense of the present daily.

I am here, now.  Seeing, now.  Over the past year I looked at myself differently; I saw reality reflected back in the mirror:  the reality of my own moment. My hands have become my mother’s hands; the lines on my face tell the stories of all my past lives.  Recently my daughter asked me if I was young, and I said no, but I am also not old.  “You are in the middle.  Middle-aged.”  Middle.  I hope I am not yet at the middle of my life; I would like the middle to be a few years to come yet, but that isn’t up to me, so I will make the most of now.

All photographs made during the past year, my 40th.