I saw myself naked today.
Like most people, I typically take a quick glance at myself in the mirror after my morning shower—with a towel wrapped around my waist of course—to confirm that there’s nothing weird or abnormal with my body compared to the day before. I then move on with my day without a second thought. But today, it was different : I saw myself naked and really looked at my body this time–from head to toe–without my security towel. It wasn’t easy. After all, I’m not 18 anymore.
At first look, it was clear that my youthful muscle tone, dark tan, and ripped body no longer existed. Now that I’m over the hump of 50, the sudden cold hard truth of getting older hit me. OH MY GOD, I thought. It’s all downhill from here. This is the best I’m gonna look. Tomorrow, I will be a little bit older. Damn, I know it sounds so vain. But isn’t everyone a little vain to some extent? Who wants to look old and unattractive? Not me.
Ever since I was a young adult, I’ve been burdened with a fear of aging, a fear of time, a fear of the future, a fear of the unknown. Staring at myself adorned in my birthday suit at age 50 certainly didn’t help my anxiety.
Nevertheless, I gazed carefully at myself in the mirror, I started at the top and meticulously examined my entire body all the way down to the soles of my feet. Who is this old fart? I pondered.
Thankfully, my external examination started off with good news : I have all of my hair and very little of it is gray, unlike many guys my age. I certainly feel blessed about that. After all, I remember watching that old infomercial on TV years ago—the one that marketed (what I refer to as) spray paint to mimic real hair—and pridefully boasted that I was guilty of having the Best Hair Ever. Even if the gray eventually starts to root, I promised my daughter that I would never color it. Damn, I hate promises.
Next, I scrutinized every inch of my face. I hate to shave, and as usual, I was unshaven. Unfortunately, I had no trouble finding all the gray that was absent from the hair on my head because it was all over my face! Thankfully, I had an emergency stash of Just For Men hidden in the bathroom vanity and quickly colored that gray away. Afterward, I hastily shaped my beard into a armature goatee and hoped for the best.
It was then that I noticed the myriads of lines and crevices and acres of acne scars that carpeted the once unblemished baby skin that I never appreciated. WTF? I also discovered that I had droopy eyes and a sagging neck. I stopped counting my chins after I reached three.
I looked tired, worn, and broken – in my mind I looked old. However, I admit, years ago, when I did consulting work for doctor’s offices, I gave into peer pressure in an effort to remedy my aging face : I gleefully accepted free samples of Botox® and Juvederm® . Thankfully, the Juvederm® has been long-lasting. The Botox®? Not so much. I looked at my face in the mirror again. If I could get a face-lift right now, I’d do it.
I wasn’t even half way done with my self-examination when I began to regret my decision to inspect my naked body. Unfortunately, it was too late, I had to continue on down.
I started to survey my chest when I suddenly became alarmed. I sat up on the bathroom vanity to get a closer look. Grey chest hair?!?! I immediately considered my Just For Men stash, but later conceded. No one sees my chest.
I jumped off the vanity, stood against the bathroom wall and gave myself a long, hard stare in the mirror from the waist down. I have a gut? It was plain to see that I had a permanent belt line imprinted around my waist with a prominent manly muffin-top. Subconsciously, I already knew that size 34 jeans were too tight. But like any other typical middle aged guy, I routinely crammed my gut into the smaller size because I could – despite these unsightly consequences. Perhaps I should start my own Kickstarter campaign to create vanity sizes for men.
After scrutinizing my gut geography, it was time to man-up and face the nether regions. I was sitting up on the bathroom vanity AGAIN to face a disturbing discovery : that’s right – more gray hair! I admit, I hesitated for a moment and considered my handy stash of Just For Men. Instead, I grabbed the nearest razor and manscaped myself to the best of my ability – leaving scattered patches of forest and desert behind. I also tested myself for old-man shrinkage and for the moment, I think I’m all good with that.
I thought I was well prepared for what was next. I’ve always known that I have no ass and that I sport a pair of chicken legs. However, because my gut is now a lot bigger, my ass looks even smaller than before! And my legs? My legs are the epitome of old-man-on-the-beach-with-skinny-white-hairy-chicken-legs. As a result of this horrific discovery, I made a mental executive order to never wear shorts again. Ever. As for my feet, that’s another story.
After I saw myself naked and completed my self-inspection in the bathroom mirror, I called my 80-year-old mother to complain about how much it sucks to get old. I thought she’d understand. “Getting old?”, she exclaimed. “Why, you’re still a baby! I would be happy to be 70 again! ” Wise words there, mom. Wise words.
Getting old sucks. To compensate, I highly recommend that you look at yourself naked regularly. Do it today. Appreciate the beauty of your youth now, no matter how young or old you are.