Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Do you ever get a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and not recognise yourself? I do it rather a lot. And yet the funny thing is, when I finally recognise myself, I never really know what it was that I expected to see there in the first place, reflected back at me.
Do I think I am taller/shorter/thinner/fatter/blonder/greyer...[take your pick!] than I really am? I don't think so...but there is certainly something.
I remember once asking my grandmother how she felt. It was her 90th birthday and we were all out celebrating at the local pub with her.
She looked me clear in the eyes and in the voice of an excited schoolgirl declared, "do you know why I am here? It is my birthday. I am 44 years old today!"
That tale still strikes me as both funny and infinitely sad. Sometimes lucid and sometimes not, I was glad that at least she was having a good time and perhaps it was more fun for her to think of herself as 44 rather than 90!
But it was the loss of the memories of a life lived that saddened me. Trials and tribulations were lost just as surely as the joys and unfettered jubilation that those years undoubtedly rolled out in perhaps equal measures.
And yet in a small part I feel that myself. I look out on the world with eyes that are as curious and wondrous as they were when I was a teenager and inside my head I don't feel any older...
Perhaps it is this which catches me out when I pass a mirror. The next time I do, before I step in front of its critical gaze, I shall repeat the litany, "I am 46 and will look 46, I am 46...."
Maybe then I won't get such a shock. ;)