Age Spot

At first I had thought it was a smudge of something on my hand, but upon several attempts to wash it off and a moment of staring stupidly at its resilience, I realized what it really was.

It was an age spot. My very first age spot.

It’s a very faint light brown color, just like my mothers had started, and of course on the very same hand, just like her mother before her. I recalled when I first noticed my mothers hands changing and I recalled how my grandmothers hands changed too from my mothers account. Now it’s my turn and I’ve got it where they all seemed to have theirs start. Dead center on my left hand…only a faint shade of discoloration and half the size of a dime. Kinda shaped like the silhouette of that famous image of the Lochness monster.

It’s strange to think about getting age spots, since I’m only 27. Still, it isn’t a surprise either. I’ve been fortunate enough to have clear skin, few breakouts, and decent coloration most of my life and I’m sure it has run its course by now. My health isn’t all it could be. Diabetes is no laughing matter and has a habit of taking its toll on skin. It was only a matter of time before they would form. My grandmother’s started around the time she turned 35. My mother in her 30s. Both of them started out this way, on this hand, in a very faint shade of brown. My grandmothers had turned very dark blackish brown when she turned 60 which sent her to consult a physician only to find out it was nothing more than an ugly colored age spot. My mothers darkened, but not unattractively, when she turned 55 and has not changed much since. I only hope to be so lucky.

The reality of growing old strikes unexpectedly, and as I look in the mirror I find I haven’t really noticed my aging ever, and other than this age spot, I still don’t. I still have a very childlike round face and big eyes. My skin is still fair. My hair is still curly as ever and still it’s same color. Not much feels like it has changed, and yet emotionally I’m reminded that I am so much older than I once was. I know so much more. I’ve experienced so much more. I have witnessed so much more.

And there is still so much more to do.

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Unhelpful Criticism

“I don’t mean to use such harsh words, but this look like something our China team would come up with.”

Please tell me what in this phrase is a helpful direction? What does that even mean? I guess you would have to be a racist to know.

Clearly, my boss really struggles with giving constructive criticism.

This particular phrase really bothers me, firstly, because it speaks badly of a team that the owners of the company chose to work with overseas and that we are trying to have good communication and relationship with. I haven’t ever seen our China team come up with a design, and if they work for us and were chosen by our leadership, why are you insulting them? Aren’t we all working for the same goal? Aren’t we all supposed to be on the same side? Saying things like this puts a bad taste in the domestic team’s mouth and just makes you look racist.

Secondly, “don’t mean to use harsh words,” is not an excuse to then use the harsh words. You do mean to use them. We all know it. It only makes people more aware of how much you actually mean to use and are going to use harsh words. It means you are aware of how you sound. It means the words you have chosen to use, were selected and intentional to be harsh and you know it. Foolishly, you are trying to remove yourself from your own responsibility, which is an indicator of bad leadership. To be a leader is to have responsibility, and to show you wish to remove yourself from the responsibility of your position and the tact you know you ought to have while holding it lessens your dependability.

Constructive criticism doesn’t use “I” or “Me” statements. It explains why a design or photograph does or doesn’t work based off of brand goals and statements. It doesn’t use insulting analogies. It builds up where it needs to and it makes helpful….emphasis on helpful…suggestions to give a better direction.

Consider this a public service announcement.

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