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Posts Tagged ‘aging’

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What do I see when I peer into the mirror? I see change. I see experience. I see the Byram eyes. I see the wrinkles around my mouth. Age spots. I see a neck that is crinkling and lines in my forehead. I don’t see ‘me.’ At least the person in the mirror doesn’t feel like me. She’s not the woman that I saw for most of my adult life. She’s not the pretty, soft eyed woman that could turn heads. The one who seldom wore makeup and simply trusted her natural beauty. In all honesty, while not quite a stranger, this creature who looks back at me and whom I recognize as me still seems somehow unfamiliar. I most definitely haven’t caught up to this face yet.

This woman in the mirror doesn’t appear as approachable as the one that I had the luxury of taking for granted for so long. She doesn’t look as soft or as gentle as the one who lives inside of me. This one looks like she’d probably suffer no fools and would tolerate no back talk.

I direct her to smile, and she immediately obliges. Still, no matter how hard we try, she and I, that smile doesn’t convince me that she’s, well, truly me. Could this be what experience and life wisdom does to a face? The question surprises me. After all, it’s been my lifelong mission – the acquisition of wisdom. Am I offering up a psychic trade? Beauty for wisdom? Or maybe I’m merely acknowledging a simple truth. You don’t get to approach wisdom without traveling a significant distance, suffering lots of fools (including your own foolhardiness), and encountering (and even embracing) so many (often painful) opportunities for growth. And all of those takes a toll on a face.

What kind words can I say about this face before me? If I’m truthful, I need to admit that no such words come to mind at the moment. Clearly, I haven’t made peace with this face. I miss the old one. I really miss the old one. And yet, at the same time, I prefer this version of the woman who claims the face in my mirror. She’s so much happier and yes, wiser than the younger, prettier one.

And now I gaze at the woman looking calmly back at me, smile at her warmly, and send her love.

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