On photographs, memories, growing old
I was recently visiting my wife’s parents. I returned from a run through suburban New York. Groomed grass. Intimidating facades.
I came home to stretch and begin the rest of the day. I glanced up on my side to framed photos atop the family piano. There were five. My wife proudly holding her graduate diploma. My sister-in-law accepting hers on stage, shaking hands with the dean. Their maternal grandmother looking right back at any onlooker as she sat in a stately manner in a simple armchair. My wife and I at her sister’s wedding. My sister-in-law at her own wedding. Happy memories. Important milestones.
This house is filled with photos. More than I can count. More than they know. It’s the wallpaper of the home. The soundtrack. The everything. I wondered. I realized. These photographs are their life. Their life is on display. My in-laws have lived: their youth, their adulthood, their future as lived through their children.
I don’t live my life like this (yet). I live for now. And for the future. Hardly for the past except when in therapy and analyzing it, or the rare moment off my phone when I reflect on my childhood or struggles or achievements.
But as you grow old, your life was, more than it will be. Photographs ensconce you in those happier days. Days of greater hope and more active energy. You relive them daily even though you are still here to live.