Tuesday, August 26, 2008
A Very Unimportant Announcement
Tonight, I discovered my first gray hair.
To be honest, I saw it a week ago but I pretended it was a blonde highlight.
I don't look in the mirror much. When I think of myself -- the person I feel like I really am -- I'm somewhere in my late twenties or maybe early thirties. Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't want to go back. It's been an interesting, rich life so far and I can't wait to see what happens next. I've made some terrible mistakes and I've done some things I'm proud of. I'm looking forward to the next decade.
But there is a strange sensation that comes with the realization that no matter who I am inside, this outer vessel that carries me around is on a predetermined schedule, moving toward a natural expiration that I have no control over and yet I feel unchanged. On some mornings I wake up and I notice the lines around my eyes and I wonder who the middle aged woman staring back at me could possibly be. I don't quite recognize the physical entity who is now undoubtedly an inch shorter than I claim to be and who is a little wider than she once was.
When I see very old people, I now understand that they are who they always were. When I see people half my age, I understand how they probably see me.
It doesn't make me sad.
It doesn't make me wistful.
It's just -- surprising.
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It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.