Stephen (sir_alf) wrote,

Vanity, vanity... all is vanity

I have a bunch of grey/white hairs in my beard. I noticed them about a month ago. I'm a little surprised it took this long; people my same age and 5 years younger than me already sport the salt and pepper.

In and of itself, this is kind of cool. I like the idea of getting on in years in some ways, mostly in the hope that with age comes wisdom and wisdom is really cool. But there's a bizarre side effect that has occurred: I'm paying attention to my appearance more.

In general, I've never thought of myself as particularly vain. I'm not the most handsome guy in the world, even if I do think I'm okay lookin'. I used to say I ranked "cute" and as time goes on, I'm hoping that will translate into "distinguished". I've never taken a great deal of care with my appearance, just usually making sure most of the hair on my head is going in the same direction and is mostly clean. The occasional spray of deodorant is not uncommon for me, either.

But now, I have kind of started wishing that more hair on my head matched my beard. They seem a little incongruous and it would be nice if they were more in sync. I have no interest in shaving my whiskers but I'm not sure I want to dye them either. And besides, see previous statements about not thinking of myself as vain.

But if I'm not vain, why do I care?

I'm happy with the fact that I look mostly like I want to look. I could use a few more tattoos, but I like my hair and my features. I've been going to the gym semi-regularly of late (doctor's orders) and I'm seeing some effect on my love handles, which is spiffy. I'm just not sure how I'll react when the appearance changes more, as time and biology invariably dictate it will.

I worry that as time goes on, I'll start freaking out about my facade fading and that I'll hit some crisis that will be assuaged only by copious amounts of beauty products (applied too late) and a little nip and a tuck under the knife. I don't know that such a phase will invariably arrive, but I worry about it the same way I worry about being able to control my temper or how I worry that I've already reached my personal pinnacle of self-discipline and that anything after is on the down slope. If my body starts failing me, I'd rather be grateful for the time I've had it in good repair than to start clawing at the vestiges of youth.

For now, I try to keep a level head about it and accept the changes in my body for their novelty. I'm only 38 for crying out loud, there's no reason to be feeling old or decrepit just yet. I just hope that I can make good on the statements I've made that I'll grow old gracefully and accept myself however I appear.

But still, a creak in the bones here and the odd hair in a place I used to not have a hair reminds me that change is coming and I'm not sure how I'll meet that change. The uncertainty, I think, is perhaps more alarming than anything Mother Nature and Father Time might have in store.
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