Monday, August 04, 2014

Who is That Old Man in the Mirror?

I had an odd experience the other day whilst waiting for the lavatory to become vacant. I found myself in front of a large mirror, and I must confess to staring into it.

Y'know what? I didn't know the guy staring back. I am being serious. There was a stranger looking back at me. Frankly, my dear, it was a tad disconcerting.

I looked again the next day with pretty much the same result. I knew it was me looking in, but it didn't seem to be me looking back.

Of course, I look in the mirror all of the time, but I guess I haven't really been seeing in some sense. I do know what I look like in reality, but it doesn't match the image that I carry around in my head and in my dreams.

Here I am in my present state, more or less. It's not that I think I look terrible, and I am not fishing for compliments. I am just saying that, somehow, it isn't the core image that I have of me.

Just a day later, I was browsing through some old pictures, and I found this of me and Allyson when she was likely about the age that Danica is now. This is closer to my self image; at least I recognize myself.

This one with Shauna is about ten years earlier and might even be closer to what I am talking about.

But when you come right down to it, this next one, from almost 45 years ago, is the closest to me in my dreams. By the way, I don't think I really see myself in my dreams, but it's the impression that I have.

It's my university graduation photo from my early twenties. I have worn a beard for most of my adult life. I actually grew my first one before I turned twenty. But for some reason, this unshaven look is still what seems to be my closest self image, even almost 45 years later. Strange.

I know this probably doesn't make any sense to anyone but me, and I'm not even sure about me.


Meanwhile, if you want to see the old and fat me in my swim trunks and throwing the grandkids in a pool, stay tuned — towards the end of this video. I have a nerve to post this, but what the heck. We only got into the pool once in our last session. I hope we do better this week.


Mage said...

Yes, I so understand. My long, lean legs are just a memory. You look just fine now even with male pattern baldness. And everybody in the pool looks wonderful.

TexWisGirl said...

i totally get it. i am 51 and i catch sight of myself in the mirror and i see my older sisters or shades of my mother, but not myself. i'm stuck at about 38 yrs old in my head.

Pearl said...

whenever my dad saw a picture of himself, he'd say, whose that old bugger. I don't remember him being there. People would say that's you. He'd shudder.

I am horrified when I see myself in a mirror and thank whoever I'm with who I recognized the reflection of for being with my anyway. I don't know how I cam to be a dowdy old flower child.

ADRIAN said...

It doesn't really matter what you look like as long as the young you is still inside your skin.

Linda Kay said...

Some of us girls were talking about this just the other day. WE look in the mirror all the time, but all of a sudden you notice a wrinkle and then look at the whole image. Yikes!

Gail Dixon said...

Oh I definitely know what you're talking about! These days I look in the mirror and see my mom and it takes me aback every time. Scary even. That's why I don't stare too hard!

Shammickite said...

Never mind looking in the mirror, that's scary enough, but I just had a new passport made, and I am absolutely without a doubt certain positive that they have put a photo of a really strange old wrinkly woman in there, one eye higher than the other, double chin, and droopy jowls, someone who I have never seen in my whole life!
Hmmmmm.... is that really me??? Scary.

Bernie said...

That was fun watching you and the kids in the pool......I smiled as I watch you all making memories.
One day last year I happened to look in the mirror and was kind of in shock.....I actually asked myself "who are you"
Its okay now, I am who I am and though it sucks to grow old I suggest everyone do it if given the chance, xo

Regenia said...

As a volunteer in the hospital NICU I was recently required to attend "Active Shooter" training. As if the thought of that were not unsettling enough, I made the mistake of looking around the room to see if I knew anyone. My first, very sincere reaction was to tell myself that I did not belong in this room full of old people! Some things in life are just wrong!! Seems to me the same man is in the different pictures, one who loves children and takes time for them.

troutbirder said...

Mmmmm. I can relate in a way though my moment of truth came at age 17. I was in a public area with very bright lighting in front of a mirror. Looking at my self I noticed for the first time a certain thinning of the hair towards the front. This is not going to end well, I remember thinking. And at age 20 I knew I was right.....:(

Hena Tayeb said...

while I am not there yet.. I think I have finally gotten to the age where I like the way I look and have stopped being so critical of myself..
but I do seem to forget how old I am now.. I continue to reference things as some 8-10 years ago.. when they in fact happened more along the line of 15 years ago.. i caught myself doing it twice this week..

EG CameraGirl said...

Your grandkids are going to have such wonderful memories of you!

Hilary said...

I do know exactly what you mean. I'm a skinny 20-something year old in my mind. My mirror is a big fat liar!

I enjoyed the video. How's your back, today? ;)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Reading this post, John, and the comments it shows that you are not alone in your wondering where your younger self went, but that it only the physical image. Keeping young in spirit is just as important and that you Do know how to do as evidenced in the video.

Mary Gilmour said...

Exactly! I see Queen Elizabeth.