I caught sight of myself in the mirror the other day and did a double-take. I looked older. Older than when I last looked. Really looked.
Not the passing glance look.
Not the hairdressers-no-where-to-look-but-the-mirror look.
Not the clothing-store-dressing-room-ambient-light look.
But a proper, quizzical, detached look, laden with out-of-self objectivity and curiosity.
A real look.
I am older. I feel older. I’m tired. Very tired.
I push myself to keep going. To keep doing. To keep the pace of a much younger self.
And I began to wonder why.
Why do I do this to myself?
The universe answered me in the guise of what is allegedly Clint Eastwood’s answer to country singer Toby Keith when he asked him how he stayed so vibrant:
Every day when I wake up, I don’t let the old man in. My secret has been the same since 1959: staying busy. I never let the old man into the house. I’ve had to drag him out because he was already comfortably settled, bothering me all the time, leaving no space for anything other than nostalgia. You have to stay active, alive, happy, strong, and capable. It’s in us, in our intelligence, attitude, and mentality. We are young, regardless of our ID. We must learn to fight to not let the old man in. That old man awaits us, stationed and tired by the side of the road to discourage us. I don’t let the old, critical, hostile, envious spirit in—the one that scrutinizes our past to tie us up with complaints and distant anxieties, or relived traumas and waves of pain. You have to turn your back on the old murmurer, full of rage and complaints, lacking courage, denying himself that old age can be creative, determined, full of light and projection. Aging can be pleasant and even fun if you know how to use your time, if you’re satisfied with what you’ve achieved, and if you still maintain enthusiasm. That’s called “not letting the old man into the house”.