Late 2011, I started what I would like to call “The Aging Project” – an UNRETOUCHED documentary of the human body’s aging process, using myself as the subject (I would LOVE more participants, though!). Rex Maverick Photography helped me out with the project the first year, and as the end of 2012 rolled around, it became time to strip in front of the camera again. So, when I started this project I was 25, which you can compare with my now 26 faces (frowning, neutral, smiling), hands and feet. There ARE full body shots, however I want to document a few more years before the “big reveal”. Here we go! One year older. I’d like to point out that aging is not just purely a physical thing that happens because of gravity and time. Your emotions age you. Your choices age you. I had gone through a lot of emotional changes within the last year as well, which impacted my lifestyle and in turn, my appearance. The photographer and I both agreed that in this year’s photos, I actually looked younger and healthier. But I was actually exercising so much LESS than I was a year ago and not even sticking to a healthy diet. What was different? I thought about it and the biggest change was my stress level and emotional state. I calmed down and am drinking alcohol less. When I was 25, I had been going through a really confusing and emotional period and was drinking heavily several times during the week to cope. These were fun times, but drinking tons of alcohol wreaks havoc on your body – and so does prolonged periods of stress. Over the past year, I slowly became more emotionally balanced and alcohol lost its appeal. My intake lessened considerably. I still drink socially on the weekends, but not nearly as much in excess. I think this is most noticeable in the condition of my skin. I also observed that if I ate loads of dairy or sugar, my skin suffered – so I try not to go overboard on those things now. There’s a little variation in the lighting between the two years, but it’s obvious that my skin is much clearer and less bloated. There was also a big difference in the body shots as well, but you’ll just have to take my word for it until it’s time to post those! But in short, Rex and I thought I was in better shape (despite exercising less) and my posture was better. I had probably lost a few pounds from not drinking as much and I might have been more comfortable in front of the camera, as it was now my third time photographing in the buff (my second time was for the lovely Janna Marie Thurman for her A Study in Acceptance Project). So, there you have it – de-stressing and less alcohol! Of course, this didn’t help me much with this project because I am supposed to be looking older – but this is really interesting to me and might lead to some other cool projects about lifestyle choices and their effects on the human body. Oh yes, and here are my hands and feet. I know there’s not much to notice right now, but in a few years there will be! Stay tuned and happy aging! If you’d like to be a part of this project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!