Springingtiger's Blog


Silver Stubble

S5002161I hadn’t thought about it before, but today it hit me as I was about to shave. My stubble is silver! Naturally I use a wet razor, today’s electric shavers have  ̶  I am reliably informed ̶ a ‘stubble setting’. Apparently it is now considered appropriate to appear in public as if one is careless of one’s personal grooming. I dare say some people consider a manly jaw covered with dark stubble attractive, I suspect one covered with grey hair is less so. I am not sure why, but it is. With the realisation that one now has no other choice, but either a full beard or to shave ̶ at least partially ̶ comes the realisation that one has reached what is commonly called ‘a certain age’.

Comedians are too fond of pointing out that with age comes uninvited nasal hair, actually they are rather fond of drawing attention to all the orifices from which hair begins to grow. I must admit the nasal hair thing never much perturbed me, although I found having to pluck hairs from my eyebrows when they hung over my eyes was annoying. Having had a full set since before I was entirely grey I accepted my grey hair quite cheerfully, it was only when I decided to shape my beard that stubble became an issue. Somehow silver stubble suggests age in a way a silver beard does not (it just suggests evokes comments about Santa if long, and Obi Wan Kenobi when short).

The problem with noticing one physical change it that one’s attention follows to all the other changes. Having noticed the stubble I should have turned away from the mirror, but no. I just had to survey the whole package. I remember when my stomach was firm, never a six-pack, but still firm. Now it wobbles and I have ‘love handles’. ‘Love handles’? Why are they called that? What’s love got to do with it? What’s worse I’ve developed ‘moobs’, I don’t like that word either! What happened to my muscle tone? I am not aware of eating any more or exercising any less and yet I have become wobbly. I am relieved I can only see my front in the mirror, one can only accommodate so much disappointment in one day, there are some things of which one does not want to see both sides.

It hardly seems any time ago that I used to think of grandparents as old people. I suppose that’s a young person’s perspective, they rarely look old to me now. Rather more worrying is how young parents look, in many cases far too young to be allowed to bring up children. No I’m not talking about teenagers, anyone under about forty is of suspect responsibility. My mother uses to remark on how young she thought policemen looked, I’m beginning to feel that way about the House of Lords and Judges! I am a fervent republican, but I will say this for the Queen, at least she has the decency to look older than me, although sadly by not as much as I’d like ̶ I blame homoeopathy and Norman Hartnell.

The funny thing is I don’t feel any older than I ever have…except perhaps when getting in and out of low chairs. I suppose I do walk more slowly than I used, but that’s because I no longer feel the need to hurry. Most things will be there when I arrive and as long as I am where I am, doing what I’m doing, I feel no particular desire to be elsewhere doing something else. I used to worry about missing things, now I’m reconciled that there will be things I won’t do and places I wont go; just as I have done things others won’t and seen things that no one will see again. It is enough to live every moment, enjoying what one is doing. The great thing about where I have reached in life is that it is almost impossible to be bored, even were there nothing else to do I can always look in the mirror and see if there’s anyone there I recognise.

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