The SC was mesmerized when this photo appeared, along with similar images, on ‘That’s Not My Age’ (click here), a blog located in London that I admire and follow. Alyson’s creation is elegant, witty and beautifully written. These photos reminded me that I have always appreciated my hands for all that they do for me; they have served me well, making it possible to blog, put together an outfit, pick out the hat of the day, and participate in the power of touch. I remember clearly during the first year (that would be 1961) of my registered nursing program, one of my instructors commented that my hands were dextrous (I was performing a procedure for the first time). It was a remark that I have never forgotten, and I considered it a treasured compliment. According to the dictionary, the definition of dextrous is ‘demonstrating neat skill, esp. with the hands.’ Later, in graduate school, one of my professors asked each class member to name a part of ourselves that we loved (it was the early 70’s after all). My response was my hands. I now realize that I have significant ‘hand history.’
I love to observe hands, including my own. I see them as an important part of our self expression with their ability to gesture, point the way, physically emote, reach out to others and reflect an aspect of ourselves. They are also functional, and are a large component of our ability to navigate our environment. Having worked with people with high level spinal cord injuries at a point in my career, I understand and have observed that some deeply grieve the loss of the hand’s many gifts. I have always cared lovingly for my nails, an honoring of the part of myself that extends itself without conscious thought into my surroundings. I consider nail polish just another accessory and I have fun choosing the color of the season with care. So when I saw the photos of ‘old hands,’ I thought of how the appearance of our hands transitions over time, and how important it is to love these changes as we age. Our culture doesn’t appreciate this transformation; it takes extra effort, conscious thought and acceptance to love the more visible veins, evolving skin appearance and texture, increasingly prominent knuckles and the heightened pigmentation of age spots that magically appear over the years. The tree has no judgement of its leaves, spring or fall. So bring on the nail polish choices and rings classic or quirky, to emphasize my hands, today and into the future, as an expression of self love and appreciation. Crone hands are to be adorned, embraced and celebrated!