Don’t You Think I’m Looking Older?

The camera doesn’t just add 10 pounds; it adds 10 years, too.

Jeremy Helligar
6 min readJan 8, 2022


Photo: Pixabay/Mimzy

Age is nothing but a number — or so they say — but boy, can she be cruel. This harsh reality really hit home for me in my twenties when I started watching reruns of The Golden Girls on Lifetime. Although the four ladies frequently described themselves as active, vibrant women of a certain age during their cheeky late-night cheesecake sessions at the kitchen table, they’d often insert sobering reminders that age usually gets the last laugh.

In separate episodes, Dorothy and Blanche both talk about looking in the mirror and being stunned by the face they see looking back at them.

Dorothy (season one, episode one): “And then I got into my car and caught a glimpse of myself, and I almost had a heart attack. This old woman was in the mirror, and I didn’t even recognize her.”

Blanche (season two, episode two): “Sometimes I look in the mirror, and I see my mother’s face looking back at me. Not all the time, just every now and then, when the light’s too bright or it’s too early in the morning or late at night or I look real fast. There it is. My mother’s face. It scares me to death. It just scares me to death. I just get so depressed I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to get out of bed ever again.”

For years, I considered myself lucky. Either my mirror was a liar or I was destined to have the last laugh. I may not have always liked what I saw when I glanced at my reflection, but the man in the mirror at least appeared to be holding back the years nicely.

All that said, country music great Lefty Frizzell may have been onto something with the title of his 1974 single “I Never Go Around Mirrors.” I interviewed the singer Amy Grant for People magazine in my twenties, and she echoed that sentiment when I asked for her secret to keeping young and beautiful: She told me after you get dressed in the morning, stay away from mirrors for the rest of the day.

The implication, I believe, was that constantly worrying about your looks is the surest way to ruin them. Steering clear of mirrors throughout the day served me well for decades, until the pandemic happened, and I started having to spend a good portion…



Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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