Metaphorical grey hairs

The discovery of your first grey hair is a certain revelation. An obvious time for epiphany. That you ain’t as young as used to be. Now I am prone to melancholy and reflection and I certainly like to think of myself as old before my time.

So I’ve been finding metaphorical ‘grey hairs’ for years. I would say since before I needed to shave but I still don’t really need to so maybe that’s a bad example.

To be honest when I found my first grey hair I was pretty surprised. This was largely cause it was growing out of the centre of my forehead. I kid you not. I have a single white hair that grows out of the right side of the centre of my forehead. You may or may not want to know this but it makes a good party trick and almost as good as having a double dangly bit at the back of my throat. I call it the double dangly bit because the almost knowledgeable aren’t too sure what i’m talking about when I say double uvula.

Enough of party tricks.

So the forehead hair I call Delilah and requires roughly a 2 monthly trim. I have no issued with Delilah. She doesn’t make me feel old.

The second grey hair I found was in my eyebrow and I wasn’t entirely sure that it wasn’t a left over burnt one from lighting the gas stove.

But yesterday I found one on my left temple. Growing almost perpendicular to my scalp, as if to make itself stand out from the crowd. Hey look at me. So perhaps I am getting old.

Contrast with the feeling that I’m still as ‘dazed and confused’ as I was at the age of 16 and if anything I see a downward spiral in my neuroses. I do not feel like how I thought I was meant to feel at the age of 25.

I started keeping a diary/journal at the age of 16. For two reasons. One, I’d asked out a girl I’d fancied for months and got rejected. Unrequited love in a 16 year old is not an uncommon introduction to loathing self-pity and melancholy. The second was a family thing and not relevant here.

I never return to read what I’ve written before. Mostly cause it would be a monstrous waste of time that would be much better invested in say, watching paint dry, or writing this.

But from memory, certainly from an emotional point of view, I’m not much further on from where I started. (Except that I’ve perhaps learnt that if you never get involved in love then it never becomes unrequited – so maybe not a good example of a lesson learnt, pass the whisky… And maybe a counting crows album…). I’ve rationalised and explained my existence on various levels and perhaps am much more settled in my craziness, indeed becoming rather attached to it.

When I look at my peers I see a certain self-assured confidence. That ‘yes I know where my towel is’ (apologies for obscure hitch hikers reference, but stay with me…) or that ‘i was born to be this’. People around me seem to ooze this, taking everything in their stride. Though I sense I (at times) have a tendency to exude a similar vibe. At least I certainly try to.

So I’m not sure how you’re meant to feel when you’re 25, and again pretty sure this ain’t the point. And so there comes a quiet acceptance that this is the way it is, that the ‘craziness’ is here for good. As coldplay sang:

‘so I counted up my demons
Saw there was one for every day
And with the good ones on my shoulder
I chased the other ones away…’

In ‘life after god’ by douglas copeland the guy laments reaching his early twenties cause he’s terrified there may be no more new experiences. The fact that he’s fallen in (and out again) of love and has had all the basic emotional rides and that life from here on in is the slow asphyxiation of suburbia and a ‘quiet peaceful death’.

That tends to resonate somewhere within me but on this i’m sure – that I have time (an eternity of it) to see if there is an end to new experiences of grace and glory. ‘When we’ve been there 10000 years…’ and all that.

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