Most of the time, I think I look okay, not much different, as time goes by. I look in the mirror when I shave in the morning, and I see some gray hairs (okay, white hairs), but the rest of me, I tell myself, is holding its own – a little mellower, maybe, a sag here, a wrinkle there, but all things considered, not so bad.
The other times I see myself are mostly reflections in a display window, hasty, on the way elsewhere, a quick glance, and, yeah, I’m alright. My fly isn’t unzipped, at least.
Every once in a while, though, I have occasion to look in the mirror with my glasses on.
What I see is not necessarily bad, per se – a grandfatherly codger, unthreatening, friendly in an absent-minded way. But it’s not the dashing figure of my shaving mirror, or even the literally dashing fellow hurrying by the store window.
Of course, I’ve known all along I’m getting old; it’s not a big secret. I have a birthday every year, and I can count, providing I don’t get distracted and lose my place. I’m old, face it. If I’m only reminded every now and then, all the better, no?
Then I reflect on the fact that most of the people I come in contact with day to day are comparatively young, with excellent vision. What I see occasionally, when I accidentally look in the mirror with my glasses on, they see all the time.
It’s not so much that I’m treated dismissively, or that I feel out of it; on the contrary, I’m in the swim, as much as I want to be. It’s just the realization of my slow, inevitable decline. Kind of like leaving a beloved city and seeing its outline receding in the rearview mirror.
With glasses on.