A huge difference between kids and adults was illustrated to me this week. I went for a burger with just me and my eldest son, he's 9. As we sat in the booth in Captain America's (still a really decent spot for a burger) I noticed that, regardless of what we were doing, he glanced a lot of the time into the mirror to see himself.
Now this isn't a vanity thing at all (even though he is a handsome little bundle of perfection - none of which he got from me!). If you spend enough time around small children you realise that they are completely unselfconscious when it comes to matters of their appearance and reflection. Little ones will happily play away and look at their reflection, even in the blank TV screen, to see what they look like when they're chatting to you. Just because they can.
In contrast (and I do realise I'm a little touched to feel this way) I almost never look at myself in mirrors. I mean ever. I try to avoid it in all possible circumstances. I only shave twice a week or so to avoid it, I never brush my hair, I avoid my reflection on windows, mirrored surfaces and bathrooms.
Actually maybe that's just me and might possibly undermine the thrust of my thought which was the difference between kids and adults and their relationship to their reflections. They're so unselfconscious, with none of our hang-ups about those kind of things, and we, when we do look, usually see things we don't like or have to fix. When does the moment happen when it all changes? Why does it all have to change?
Big questions, all rhetorical. I'm aware of the many reasons the changes happen as we get older. Maybe I wish I was a kid again (that happens), that naive, that simple, that perfect. Maybe I miss wanting to watch myself as I moved, talked, smiled. Maybe I don't want to think the time will come when the same thing will have to happen to him as must have happened to me at some point.