Aging is a peculiar phenomenon. It occurs without our permission or approval, it doesn’t happen quickly enough when we are young, goes way too fast when we are old, and we are unaware of its presence while it is inflicting itself upon us.
We are in a constant state of NOW – that thing you see in front of your eyes at any given moment. There’s really no past or future there’s always and only that thing we call NOW. At least that’s what happens to me.
Meanwhile, life events, relatives, friends, and strangers provide the milestones of this uninvited nuisance called aging. Birthday parties, clothing that no longer fits, remarks about our appearance:
You need to eat … it will make you grow.
You’re shooting up like a weed.
Time for your shots sweetie.
They aren’t hand-me-downs, they’re vintage.
That’s called a zit.
Wow! Five o’clock shadow.
Is that a gray hair?
You seem heavier since the last time I saw you.
Those are called sunspots.
They have a tool that trims nose hair and ear hair now … I’m serious!
Even with all these gentle reminders, I still have fooled myself into believing I haven’t changed – with the emphasis on “fooled.” I know I’ve changed because my former friend the mirror let’s me in on the fact on occasion, even though I keep the light off now when I’m in the bathroom. The turncoat mirror shows me tiny wrinkles I’ve never noticed before and the jowls that have attached themselves to my face like an American tourist’s lost baggage.
I used to have a strong chin … now … I have a chin. I used to have thick lustrous hair … OK … we won’t go there. I pull muscles in my sleep now – how is that possible? My toenails have started plotting against my toes now – they burrow their way into the toes and refuse to leave, unless I RIP THEM OUT!
But even though I have all this proof – well documented and signed by a Notary Public, I still inhabit my 22 year old body, the one that never let me down. My mind has somehow created an elaborate illusion trying to fool me.
And why do I think this way?
Because when I see someone who appears to be about 75 or 80, and I later find out that they are my age, the first thing I say to myself is: I don’t look that old, do I? I don’t think I look that old … I couldn’t possibly look that old … Nah I don’t look that old …
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