Artist: James Golaszewski
Title: Yesterday's Child
Size: 30"h x 16"w
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When I was in high school, I did some volunteer work at a nursing home. My job was to spend time with the residents, read to them, play games, or just engage them in conversation. I noticed that some of the residents seemed “older” than the others. This difference had nothing to do with their physical appearance, actual age, or level of physical infirmity. It was something separate from their physical being. This puzzled me. I knew it had to have something to do with their overall attitude, and I initially concluded that it was simply that some were optimists and some were pessimists.
However, this seemed like an imperfect solution and I continued to wonder about it. One day I was having a conversation with one of the elderly ladies that I had come to know. This particular woman was one of the “young old people”. I asked her for her thoughts on the matter. Her explanation was fascinating.
According to her, it all came down to “what we see when we look through our eyes”. As she explained it, what she meant was that she still saw the world as she did when she was young, full of wonder and possibilities, full of things to do and things to learn, full of tomorrows. There was no “bucket list” for this lady because she was still actively living, not counting down to nothing. She was adding things to her list of things to do, not ticking them off one by one until there was nothing left. Her worldview was open ended and evergreen, there was no dark shadow waiting for her around every corner. She wasn't kidding herself. She was aware of her mortality, but she was not obsessed with it. Her age was part of who she was, but did not define her.
She summed it up by saying that she frequently lost track of how old she was, and it was only when she passed a mirror that she was reminded that she was elderly. Her body had aged, but her spirit had not, she was “Yesterday's Child”.
In “Yesterday’s Child”, I use the imagery of an old tree illuminating the countryside with an explosion of fall color in defiance of the coming winter to express these thoughts.
Image and Text © 2014 James Golaszewski