I just caught a glimpse of myself in the early-morning mirror of a plate glass window, and my beard was so gray it was striking. Okay, if someone were describe it kindly, they might say "salt-and-pepper." Not only do I have the usual, obvious reaction about aging, but I'm also reminded of the summer of 1980, when I was 17 and my father would have been 52 -- just a few years older than I am now.
I recall this moment because it was the one time in my life I remember my father intentionally growing a beard. We were staying in a rented house on Old Montauk Road in Montauk, Long Island. It was modern and on stilts and had a commanding view of the beach. Having two weeks off, my dad decided he would let the beard go, and we were all struck by how gray it was. It was a bit of a wake up call, I realize now -- a reminder of the time that had gone by without our having noticed.
So I'll need to do two things: First, I'll need to live life as I did back then at 17 -- with abandon and a sense of wonder. (Okay, not as recklessly.) And two . . . I'm gonna go shave this thing OFF.