All of us self-assess. Early on in life, as round-faced infants and toddlers, we arrest ourselves at mirrors. Look there!
Discovering our me in a mirror, we quickly go nose to nose, poke, offer our hand to a hand that unfalteringly offers a hand back.
At some point—I suppose this varies greatly from person to person—each of us begins to study ourselves from a point of vanity. Picture a young girl over-smearing lipstick on her lips and scribbling caterpillar eyebrows on her own face. Picture a shirtless teenage boy flexing his biceps, grimacing—his mind fixed on the concept that brutal is beautiful.
Maybe we fall in love with the immeasurable depth of our own eyes.
Perhaps, contrarily, we clinch our fists and shudder at a crooked smile.
Then, over many years, we slowly age in front of ourselves.
I have now aged beyond most standards of vanity. Any particular reason for pride has by now wrinkled or sagged. Trying to flex a muscle might cause permanent injury. A stone tumbling down a steep hill will more likely change course at this late date.
I could easily allow myself to become distressed at the aging of me, but I try, instead, to remain swimming at the clear end of the pool.
It is what it is.
Bright spots of pride do still exist. For one thing, I still have the fingernails of a young man.