Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Age is a number with a life behind it

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Today, I woke up with the realization that the woman in the mirror is 44 years old.  44.  Forty-four.  XLIV in Roman numerals.  She has been 44 for some time...but the number is clanging around in her head this morning, ricocheting off memories and dreams.

44 is old enough to know better and old enough not to care.  44 is too old to play dumb and far too experienced to waste time.  At this age, that woman I see in the mirror has finally stopped caring what people think of her but she still longs for them to like her. And she wants them to accept her exactly as she is. She has spent a lifetime pretending to be this for one and that for another and has become content...finally...with simply being herself. 

The woman in the mirror looks back at me with kind, vivid blue eyes.  I appraise her objectively and find her beautiful.  I rarely see her beauty but, instead, focus on her shortcomings.  Her short upper lip curves upward when she is at rest.  It is nothing more and nothing less than how she was made.  It's a part of her and it's only a lip.  It's nothing to hide.  It's nothing to disdain.  It's a lip.  And it belongs to her. 

I wonder why I have spent a lifetime being critical of that woman staring back at me. I realize that she has done nothing more than the best she can.  And, at some points, even her best really wasn't very good.  But every day, no matter what the day before had brought, she wakes up.  She puts one foot in front of the other.  And she keeps moving.  She goes forward...every day attempting to be a better person, a better friend, a better mother, a better employee, a better human being.  She fails.  And tries again.  And fails.  And, once more, she tries again.

She deserves my compassion.  She deserves my patience.  My forgiveness.  I must remember not to criticize her, apologize for her, belittle her or be angry with her for too long.  

She takes life to heart, this woman in the mirror.  She knows her role on the planet is small but that her behavior and her moods impact the environment in her home.  She willingly fosters a climate of acceptance, kindness and love.  She laughs a lot...sometimes too loud and too long for those around her. 

She lashes out at times...usually in fear.  Her fears are deeply personal and related to loss of self.  She fears not being heard, understood, or loved.   She is sometimes sarcastic and curt.  She is harsh and unyielding until she becomes aware of her own coldness.  And then she melts like butter in tearful apologies.

She believes that people are inherently good...even those people who do evil things.  She rails against stupidity and ignorance.  She aches for those who are hurting.  She assumes their pain and makes it her own until she can't bear it and pushes it away.

The woman in the mirror is 44.  She still has a lot left to learn.  She has places to explore, thoughts to examine, things to conquer, and tasks to master.  She is 44.  And she moves forward.

Who is in your mirror?

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  1. Thanks for your inspiring and heart-felt post, Kelly. Yes, cherish you've been, who you are and who you are becoming.

    1. Thank you MORE for your kind words! :)