When my mother was in her early eighties I caught her staring into the mirror. “What’s up mom”, I asked. She kept looking at her reflection and finally said, “When I look into the mirror I don’t recognize who I see”.
“What do you mean mom, you look great.”
“But what I’m seeing is not what I was expecting. I guess I expect to see someone younger and with some pizzazz.”
“For your age, you look terrific.”
“For my age, is the issue.”
To be honest I didn’t really understand, until lately. When I look in the mirror I don’t recognize who I see either. Luckily I’m friends with people who I have known forever. Long time friends see you like you were when you were in high school or college. At least they say so.
When I look in the mirror I see a stranger with Clarabelle like blonde hair, many wrinkles and my nose looks big. Was my nose always big. It’s hard to remember. Today for my birthday I did six loads of laundry, raked the leaves, made my bed and cleaned the basement. There is so much paper on my desk it’s hard to remember where it all came from. So tomorrow my plan is to sort all that paper.
Remember when you were little, and had kids’ birthday parties. We were luckier than most kids ((me and Stevie) even though we were only two weeks apart and we lived together we each had our own party because that was the law. We had the same relatives and the same friends but we always had our own parties. We probably shared presents, and there was always entertainment (us) usually dancing on the couches. And we were absolutely adorable. This is no longer the case.
When I realized I would never be a great beauty that was ok because I had a case of terminal cuteness. When did that go away? Over the years these things happen. It’s usually subtle, but then one day you look in the mirror and there’s a stranger staring back. Oh, there are remnants of the person that used to be, but not so many. My wish over the years was to be able to grow old gracefully. I have numerous friends who have been able to do that and I admire their casual attitude about it. Maybe the work I chose over the years required a young person to succeed. Someone with unrelenting energy. At some point the energy diminishes and things that you used to do simply can’t be done. I can still read papers on another persons desk upside down. It was a learned skill that no one can take away, regardless of age, but my eyesight is not so good anymore. And I am still quick witted, some would even say funny. Oh yes, I can still come up with wacky ideas, and am willing to participate no matter how wacky. That is innate and comes with a sense of humor, and a friend who always insisted we think, not only out of the box, but out of the universe.
So what does this all mean? Nothing really. Understand that I am not whining. My life has been terrific, many firsts and more seconds. It’s just that without serious face work, I’m never again going to be the cutest kid on the block. Good news is, I don’t need to be, because I am happy, active, meditating and just the person I want to be. A Democrat with a conscience and a moral core will lead the nation when fatty, fatty 2x4 finally goes out the White House door. My cousin with whom I shared those birthdays said, all that needs to happen is the secret service says “we are out of here.”
How lucky am I, how lucky are we all. It’s my birthday: Time to eat a Diary Queen. We’re just sayin’....Iris