The universe mocks me when I look in the mirror. I can see the tell-tale signs of a face in decline; eyelids drooping, a relaxing jawline, and a set of parentheses beginning to appear on either side of my mouth. Even though I’m rarely ever satisfied with the image looking back at me, I often remind myself that this is as good as it gets, because it’s all downhill from here.
Age is mystifying, cruel, and devious. It sneaks up on you, and you don’t really realize the consequences of it until it’s too late. I always told myself that age was nothing more than a state of mind, and I figured I could somehow miraculously stymie the march of time by acting/feeling/dressing young. I know, however, that even if I were to dress like someone half my age, I’m still going to feel tired, achy, and irritable at the end of the day.
My worries about aging seem to center around my appearance, but I don’t think it is really rooted in vanity. It’s more like not wanting to get a scratch on a new car or scuffs on a new pair of sneakers. I know it’s going to happen eventually, but I want to put it off as long as possible.
The older I get, the more attention I pay to the elderly. I notice their wrinkles and sagging skin, the way they have difficulty getting up and around, the way that most people don’t pay any attention to them. An elderly man that I knew once said that the worst part about getting older is that people stop listening when you talk. How many times have I disregarded the words of someone because I assumed their thoughts or ideas had passed some imagined expiration date? Probably more than I’d care to admit.
It is with a deep sense of dread that I recognize where life and time will inevitably take me. They say the alternative is worse, but sometimes I wonder if being robbed of youthful looks, health, mobility, friends, and a sense of worth isn’t just dying a slow, painful death.
Even realizing how cruel nature might be to my vessel as I age, I want the experience and wisdom that comes with the passing years. I just wish my face wouldn’t slide off my skull in the process.