When I pulled the black and white Polaroid photo from the box in my closet, I knew its disintegrating condition was the perfect metaphor for my experience of aging. Taken in 1972 by Playboy’s staff photographer, this Polaroid is one of two professional photos of me in costume.
This painting is a combined vision of two major turning points; my summer as a Playboy Bunny at age 19, and my first hip replacement at age 54. That summer in 1972 I was living under the influence of youthful illusions where time stretched ahead of me with endless possibilities.
Superimposed over that painting is an X-ray of my titanium hip implants.
My first hip replacement in the winter of 2006 marked a reckoning with my mortality. I could no longer deny that I was going to age and die just like everyone else. My self-delusions were mostly gone.
Over time, the realization of aging, which started out as sad and terrifying, has evolved into a freeing of body, mind, and spirit.