Being a man of a certain age, I am lucky that I don’t have to look into a mirror that often. I do like to shave though, and brush what is left of my hair into something not resembling a floppy hedgehog. So at least once a day, looking into a mirror at my face is a necessity.
There are recent photos of course. But something about that two-dimensional image is never quite as disturbing as what looks back at me, from the bathroom mirror on the wall above the hand-basin. The sagging neck, jowls where cheeks once flourished, and bags forming on the bags already under my eyes. Ears slowly growing larger, lips drooping perceptibly. It’s getting harder to separate neck from chin, and the backs of the hands holding the razor and keeping the skin taut look like someone else is shaving my face.
There was a time when I looked into mirrors to check on things. Was my tie straight, and my hair parted correctly? A brief smile to check that I was still on form, a pat of the after-shave onto my firm cheeks, and off I went. Sometimes, I try to remember that face from not so long ago. The face that looked back at me, not the flat one in youthful photos. I can no longer recall the detail, or the differences from what I see now.
I have grown into a face that has reflected my past, and the excesses of youth. The years of work, some times of worry and stress, and many hours of happy smiles. It is my face, and I am stuck with it.
But I wish it didn’t look like someone else. Someone not me.