To some of you that may seem old and to some that may seem rather young. In recent years, my age has begun to feel a little older than I would like to be. I think that is actually true for most people over the age of 21. After 21, at least in the states, where 21 is the drinking age, I don’t think there is a particular age which people look forward to becoming. Thus we’ve become a society, and more and more so a world, that is identified with youth. I remember being in Santa Monica, CA several years back with my friend Evan and picking up a local weekly entertainment/alternative newspaper. There were 21 ads for plastic surgery that were at least ¼ page in layout. I was stunned – breast implants, butt implants, calf implants, cosmetic dentistry, botox injections, botox parties, etc. It was so incredibly pervasive. That is southern California and luckily I live in northern California where it’s more so about inner development rather than outer, but it’s certainly not immune to those tendencies either.
Anyway, what’s the point of this?
The point is that I am becoming much more comfortable in my age than I’ve been in a long time. Since coming to England around the 9th of July, I haven’t shaven, so I am sporting a beard. The point of that, though, is that my beard is actually quite gray in the chin. As such, wearing a beard makes me look quite a bit older than I otherwise look when I’m clean shaven.
The thing is that I’m loving having a beard, loving being the age I am, loving not trying to appear younger to be more desirable. There is a real liberation in this for me. What started out as a shaving practicality at a 4 day festival has turned into a full-on experiment into being more authentically (on the outside at least) who I am. It’s very related to my inner journey and this blog too in a way,. It’s similar to my inner journey because I am on a quest to be more truly and authentically me, whatever the truth of that may be from moment to moment. This blog has supported that as well because, as you will know if you are a regular reader, I do my best to lay myself out in the open, splayed open on the table for others to see. I honestly write this blog primarily as an exploratory tool for my own development, but the public nature of it means that others get to read as well and thus I am much more fully exposed to the world. If you “google” my name, you will find this blog and thus I can’t so easily pretend to be someone that I’m not, or gear my personal presentation to fit the person or the circumstance. I find that I love that. There is such a liberation in my soul that has come from being much more public in a more authentic way. I can simply relax more in being myself without nearly as much opportunity to pretend to be someone I am not. You all may not fully truly get that, but just think of all the different groups of people you may have in your life – childhood friends, parents, children, other family members, new friends, church/association members, neighbors, business acquaintances, etc.. If you are anything like me, you probably have a slightly (or perhaps profoundly) different persona for each group/person you interact with, none of which perhaps are sufficiently real enough. I am not completely liberated from that through this blog, but I am much further along that path which gives me a much deeper sense of inner calm and relaxation. It’s hard to quantify or describe fully, but the simplest way would be to say there is an easefulness which is much more pervasive in my experience. I feel much more at ease with others, or just while walking alone more slowly down the street, or striking up a conversation at the train station with someone, or sitting still in the park not feeling like I have to accomplish anything.
Thus the beard thing – I feel more secure, more genuine, on the inside. In a way the outer Ted is now more reflective of that as well. (picture above taken last night in Paris).
So here I am, 46, gray beard and all, take it or leave it. I actually like it. I may not keep it forever, but at the moment, at least as an experiment, I’m liking it and what it represents. It’s an “experiment” because I’m practicing wearing the truth on an external level and seeing what effects there may me ( I like this typo. I meant to write “what effects there may be, but “may me” seems to work for me too). We’ll see what “me” there “may be.”