Wednesday, January 13, 2016

now i see myself as other people see me

and it's not pretty! yes, the cataract operation on my left eye worked. i'm blown away by the clarity and brightness of colors. and since my right eye in the former state, i can compare. wow, i'd been seeing the world in soft focus, and this included my own physiognomy. no wonder i never felt old (oscar wilde says we never do). and deepak ch9opra says we grow old like catching a disease from all the people around us. shocking, to see myself looking like all the old geezers at the coffee shop. 

what do i do now? nothing like exercise can exorcise the signs of age: the stringy neck, the half-sunken cheeks, the thin lips. can i live with this new image? no, i can't afford plastic surgery, and folks who go that route always look artificial, their smiles pasted onto a manikin. accepting my ancient face in the mirror doesn't seem like the way to go, despite every guru i've ever listened to. 

true, i thought maybe by this time i'd be happy to be seen as wise. i spouted wisdom in my twenties. i remember a guy at the youth-hostel on the island of skye, who after listening to me, said, "o no, not another one." i guess in those days long ago when the young read books we had something we wanted to say. in a recent survey of millennials, 75% said they wanted to be rich, and 50% said they wanted to be famous. 

i suspect the bus-stations in new york deposit many a fortune-seeker in the big city, ready to combat. alas, as one older wise-guy said, "the young always underestimate the competition." David Bowie, rock icon, died today. i see them lining up by his coffin, pleading for him to pass onto them his pizazz and charm. i've never been a fan, except i liked the daring of his makeup and costume. again, i've missed the passions of a whole other generation.

now that i look like a gnarled tree-trunk, i should be able to drop a few fruits of wisdom into the laps of the young. at the same time i think the time of humans  on the earth short. i could say, "sing in the lifeboats", "dance first and get your graduate degree later," take a trip around the world while it's still possible. "do it while you can," declared my grandma on her 80th birthday." all these seem to me true. 

alas, the wind blowing through these vine leaves on my head echo old stories, tunes no one has time to listen to. maybe fame and fortune reasonable goals. in my end is your beginning.