Friday, December 06, 2002

As a boy, I was always small for my age, smaller than my brother who was a year and a half younger for as long as I can remember. And I grew slowly - my voice changed when I was 15. Until I was 30 or so, I always looked younger than I was.

Then the grey hair started to appear.

Then, even worse, it started to disappear, or at least recede a bit.

Now, I would say I look at least as old as my 41 years. Definitely middle aged. My brothers and sister seem to look quite a bit like they have looked since their early twenties, definitely older and perhaps not as skinny, but more or less like they always looked. Me, well, I look much less like I did 10 years ago.

They disagree with me, of course. "You don't look more different than we do!" they insisted over Thanksgiving, and I even think they believed it. But it simply isn't true.

I am mostly resigned to looking middle aged, but it's hard to ignore the cultural equation that youth equals beauty, or more important, its corollary that the older one is, the more unattractive one is. I sort of deny it, and sort of get annoyed with myself for being bothered by it. And, I sort of don't care although, to be honest, that's actually a very small and insignificant part of me. Mostly, I do really care.

The Swedish word for the day is vårdhem. It means nursing home.

- by Francis S.

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