I’m sitting in the hairdressers chair, looking back at my reflection. I notice the grey hair, lots of grey hair. I notice the bags under my eyes, the rivets in my forehead. jowels that have sunk with age. Behind me in the reflection is a picture of a young woman in the shop window opposite, modelling underwear. the difference is stark. Where did my looks go? Where did my youth go? When did age suddenly appear on my face?
I have to stare at this image for 2 hours, this gives me a lot of time to think. Even the magazines she gives me to read while I wait for my colour to take scream youth to me.
Not that long ago, I was running around on the world stage. What happened? I’m 46. Even by the best of odds (which are not in my favour as my mother died at 66 and her mother at 64) I am at least half way through my life. If you look at my odds, I might even be 3/4 of the way through my life. And here I am sitting staring back at myself wondering what happened.
We spend all of our youth being told that we are taking our age for granted. We don’t listen to any of those wise adults and have no idea what they are talking about. I spent a lot of my life worrying about what I looked like, what others would think, what clothes would look good, whether my legs looked fat, the skirt was too short. At one stage I wanted my boobs on show, the next I wanted rid of them because they made me feel fat. I look at myself now and think man, you looked good back then, why did you never realise it?
I was running, swimming and biking an average of 15+ hours a week on top of a day job, racing all around the world, now I struggle to walk anywhere at all. This is shit. Is this really my life? I regularly work 50-60 hour weeks, I am often too tired to do anything else when I get home. The grass is greener on the other side? No, my friends, it is not.
I don’t want to die. I don’t want to leave this earth. I want things to stay the same. I do not want time to pass, I don’t want to get any older, I hate this, I hate this. Why did no one tell me about this earlier?
I was flicking back through the magazine and looking at all the smiling models. Imagining what their lives might be like. What their worries might be like. Jennifer Aniston popped out at me. How can she look so good when she is so much older than me? Oh yes, that’s right, money buys everything these days. Including a face I imagine. Perhaps that is what I need.
I sat reflecting why I was suddenly feeling so mortal, so down on myself. Then I figured it out. I think.
This is what constant debilitating pain does to you. It wears you down to the point where you wonder why the hell you bother to get up each morning. It wears the smile off, the zip out of your step. It wears extra wrinkles into your brow and extra worry lines onto your face. It wears the life right out of you.
Or is it just that I woke up today and wondered where my life went and why I am wasting so much of it doing things that stress me out? The question is, what do you do about it to fix it? I haven’t found that answer just yet.