Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Reflections in the Mirror of Life

 If only we were Time Lords, eh? Like Dr Who, spinning in and out of the stream of time, popping off to wherever we like, whenever we like, to the future or the past. Never aging. Never looking back wistfully, and wishing we could have a moment over again. How good would it be to have our own Tardis for personal use?

 Alas, it is not to be and we are stuck taking the straight line on the eternal plane of life. No u-turns. No reverses. Just an occasional reminisce of how it was. For better or for worse. Our life. Good and bad.

  I ran into a fellow at work yesterday who use to do a similar shift to me. A pleasant man, always friendly, popular with the girls although inclined to play his cards close to his chest. Secretive yet inquisitive about the lives of others. Not the worst fellow I have ever known.

 The thing that struck me while talking to him yesterday is how worn he has become. Weathered. Aged. A bit scary really and a reality check.

 He has been working as a postman for the last five or six years and perhaps the outdoor life hasn't agreed with him although he was always an outdoors type. Running. Swimming. His once shiny forehead a swathe of skin cancers.  Perhaps age has begun to catch up with him? Not the pretty boy anymore!

 I was working with a colleague later in the night who also knew the aforementioned fellow quite well. I mentioned I had seen him earlier in the day and remarked that he wasn't the "Golden Boy" he once was. She laughed and agreed with me as she had seen him around Queanbeyan and noticed his physical deterioration herself. But she was quite prescient when she noted that he probably thinks the same of us. No one notices their own decline as they look in the mirror.

 I, as most people are I'm sure, a bit of a Facebook stalker. I look for people I once knew, simply to get a glimpse of how they look or a small glimmer of what their lives are like now they have long been out of my circle.

 It can be refreshing. It can be scary. You never know what you might find!

 There has been an air of mystery about another of my former workmates. After leaving our employer under a cloud she embarked on a relationship with a fellow employee which lasted a decade and ended some years ago. As she was quite popular there have been some questions about what she was doing and where she ended up. But she had appeared to have fallen off the face of the earth.

 Occasionally I would punch her name into Facebook or Google her in a vain attempt to get a handle on what she might be up to and lo and behold, today, I have had some success. But what a shock!

 She appears to have been married recently but was almost unrecognisable as the person I once knew. In fact for a moment I didn't think she was one in the same but a continuous look at the screen ensured that her features soon became recognisable through the dyed black hair and bloated appearance. My first thoughts were uncharitable. But then, who am I to criticise?

 We all get older by the second. Time waits for no one. Some people hold on for a lot longer than others, maintaining a youthful appearance and vitality and looking years younger than they are. Others succumb to the ravages of time much more easily. Diet, work, attitude, genetics all play a part. But it is important not to judge. Old age is fate of all of us.

 I am the youngest in a family of four. My father guffaws when he notices  a slick layer of grey hairs burgeoning above my ears and I need to remind him that I am not a kid anymore. My workmates, many of whom I have known since I was a teenager note that I have put on weight around my midriff or that my hair is thinning and once more I need to remind them that time is moving on.

 My closest friend at work suggests that all I have to look forward to from here is an annual prostate check! He's a comedian.

 But I am happy with myself as I ease into middle age and my old colleague's appearance yesterday merely served to heighten my sense of mortality and remind me that while we change physically, most stay the same characteristically. And that is important to remember.

 Don't throw stones in glass houses and be nice to all you meet, even if their appearance has deteriorated somewhat. They may be looking back at you and thinking the same thing!

 Have a nice day.

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