Monday, February 03, 2014

The Surrealism of Growing Older

Okay, here it is. Today this maven is 70 years old. That means I have completed seven decades of living. That means I have lived longer than my father and my two grandfathers. (My gratitude to the scientists who developed statin drugs). That means I can no longer deny that I have become an elder. That also means that I am a lot closer to death than to birth. And yet, has anything changed?

Well, for one thing, I don’t seem to have as much energy as I used to. And, for another, things seem to slip from my mind more frequently. Let us also not forget that most mornings I wake up with pain somewhere in my body. But somehow those things seem not to change the basic “me.” I think of myself the same as I thought of myself 40, 50 or 60 years ago. It is the same me.
And then I look in the mirror. Who is that person with the thinning, gray hair looking back at me? Who is that person with wrinkles staring back from within the glass? That can’t be me. That person looks old. I don’t feel old! I am the same me that I always was.

So, how can I explain it? Am I another Dorian Gray? Is it only the image in the mirror that is aging?

Paul Simon was right: “How terribly strange to be seventy.”

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