Every four to six weeks I sit in the same chair facing a mirror that tells the tales of my life. I have a standing date with my hairstylist, who is a good friend and an even better listener. Confined to the chair, forced to look at myself in this oversized mirror, I see the changes in myself literally and figuratively. As I look at myself, each visit I see more squint lines around my eyes and frown lines on my forehead. Were these here last time? How did they get here? Is that my mom’s image I see reflecting back at me?
Time passes so quickly now, measured by years and not discrete events I used to look forward to during each year. Now, I measure life by another birthday, another wedding anniversary, another year living in the same house. Growing up, I looked forward to summer vacation, Christmas, school dances, watching favorite weekly TV shows, shopping for seasonal clothing, Saturday night at the disco! It seemed that life while growing up was forever lasting and the future was the place to be.
Yearning the Future
I’ve always had trouble enjoying the moment, smelling the roses, living each day for what it brings. Dreaming of and planning for the future is my preference. There is always something to accomplish or something to look forward to with a motto that says, “Today is a stepping stone to tomorrow.” Maybe that’s how the frown lines came about!
Looking forward is exciting and scary at the same time. As a younger person, excitement overshadowed fear. Today as I look at myself, a mature 50-something on the other side of the hump, life looks different. I wonder how much longer I have together with my precious family, I’m choosy about how I spend my time and with whom I spend it. As a young adult, I selfishly yearned to move away from family and be all grown up, not for a moment considering how my parents would feel as I pushed them away. Today, as a mother I fear the day my son is ready to explore life on his own. I know that day will come sooner than I’ll be ready for.
No matter how much I want to stop time and stop the physical aging process, the mirror tells the truth.
Looking in this oversized mirror each visit reminds me that change happens whether I like it or not. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant is change.” If I can embrace my frown lines and the physical changes that make me look seasoned and well-worn, then I should appreciate that they come with wisdom and experience. Is that what others see? Do they notice the deep grooves on my face that tell my story? These wrinkles speak loud and clear to me. They tell me that every day has been a blessing for I have learned to live, love, mourn and grow.
Life is as good as you imagine it, and imagination is just the beginning of the road.