I grew up just outside of San Francisco. We lived in a nice cul-de-sac of newly constructed homes. I remember being in 3rd grade moving away from our smaller, older home in the Sunset district known for its side-by-side houses and fog.
To me, the other families around us seemed to be normal and happy—young families creating lives together.
Two girls who went to the same elementary school as my brothers and I lived a few houses away with their parents. From the outside, their lives seemed perfectly happy. They went to school just like us. Their parents would wave to us as we drove by and would stop by if we were outside and talk with my parents.
Then it all changed. We would hear arguing once in a while. Then the arguing became more frequent and more intense. Eventually, we stopped seeing the father doing normal household chores like taking out the garbage or washing the cars. Word spread that the parents had separated and gotten divorced.
Overnight, their mother looked like she had aged 10 years. What was once jet black hair had gone gray. What was once a youthful glow in her skin became a shade of drab.
How did she age so quickly? How was this possible? This was one of my first memories seeing stress drain the youth out of someone’s appearance.
Now that we got that out of the way, what causes this rapid aging?