As I get older, time flies faster.
Before I retired, I expected that, with no job to occupy my time, the days would dawdle pleasantly. It took a while to realise how fast the months (no, years!) have whizzed past since I stopped working.
I should have realised. Didn’t the weekends always fly by faster than the weekdays?
But, given that I’ve already lived the bulk of my life, it seems unfair that time seems to be hurrying me along. And, in case I decide to ignore the calendar’s flying pages by turning it to face the wall, there are shop windows and shiny surfaces to remind me how time is passing.
Yes, I do have mirrors around my home, but since I retired, I rarely need to look in them. And, having got into the habit of ignoring them, I’m likely to forget to consult one before I go out into the wider world.
Only when I get home (or pass a shop window… or, occasionally, catch sight in my rear-view mirror) do I realise that my hair is standing on end like a bottle brush or my face is streaked with nut butter.
I never have been happy with mirrors. I recall the first time I looked in one; I think I was around three years old. At least, that’s the first time I’m aware of seeing myself in a mirror. I remember approaching it in a spirit of investigation.
I distinctly recall expecting to see someone else in there. That wasn’t the me I thought of as me.
I became used to my reflection over the decades, and reconciled to its more gradual alterations. That all changed a year or two ago. Suddenly, there’s a different person in the mirror again!
Who is this imposter who’s sneaked up on me?
I’ve heard about women turning into their mother as they age but, having been adopted as an infant, I never met mine. I therefore can’t tell if it is her shade that has come to possess me or some other ravaging spirit.
Whoever it is, I wish they’d slow down.
I gave up wearing watches when I stopped work and I gave up wearing make-up. Until retirement, I didn’t step outside the house without foundation and mascara at the very least.
Now the days go by so fast I’ve begun wearing a watch again if only to keep track of feeding times. (Our old dog used to remind me of the time by barking at my back and capering in what we called her dinner-dance when I turned. Sadly, she is no longer with us, and I don’t think her replacements can tell the time yet.)
Unlike the watch, I haven’t gone back to wearing make-up.
For a while I would return to it when we went out, but since we’ve been nowhere in the past year while ‘shielding’ I’ve got out of that habit too. I’m not sure I’d feel like me anymore with it on. I’m particularly reluctant to experiment again with eye make-up that accentuates the lid’s wrinkles, or lipstick that emphasises the furrowed upper lip – although my lipstick was only ever ’60s-pastel. (I’ve always felt like a ’50s throwback in red lipstick )
I once believed that I’d wear mascara till I died, but it’s such a relief now to rub my eyes when I want to without risking the panda effect. I remember well those attempts to poke a fingernail between lashes to scratch an itchy eye.
More to the point, I can no longer see without my spectacles to put it on.