Saturday, November 28, 2009

A New Wrinkle

Have you ever looked in a mirror away from home, say at a hotel or in a department store fitting room, and suddenly seen yourself in a whole new light? That recently happened to me and, believe me, the view wasn't pretty. I looked, well, sixty. Funny about that—I am sixty! But that's not how I see myself in the comforting light of my own mirror. The woman who stares back at me is perhaps forty, but a young-looking forty. Okay, that's when I have the lights dimmed. But seriously, when I look in my own mirror, I just see . . . me. A few lines here or there, but essentially the same face I've been looking at since I got my braces off.

Most of the time, of course, I'm not looking in a mirror, my own or anyone else's. I'm looking out at the world from within my head, where I feel much as I ever have—a state not determined by age, but rather by my nature, which try as I might to change it, is still pretty much the same as when I was young—same passions, same insecurities, same penchant for worrying.

While spending this Thanksgiving with my grown children, I suddenly felt keenly aware of being the "older" generation. You might say I saw myself reflected in a different mirror. And while the view wasn't altogether pretty, like when I noticed with chagrin how technologically challenged I am compared to my kids, I've realized it has its compensations. Foremost is the extraordinary pleasure I feel watching them live productive, interesting, independent lives. Now, that's worth a new wrinkle or two (or twenty).


  1. I like the question of what is it that we do most of the time. My first reading of what you said was, "I'm looking out at the world within my head."

    There was a book MOMA did years ago called "Mirrors and Windows" about two breeds of photographers... those who look at themselves and those who look out at the world. Is it ever either?

  2. A while back, I went to have a parathyroid scan. Just before the technician shot the isotopes into my blood, he asked, "You're not pregnant are you?" I laughed and said, "If I were it would be a modern miracle. I'm sixty-five." Now I most certainly do not look young enough to give birth, but it shows that sometimes, especially in medical situations, we're not really seen as what/who we are, but just another body on the table.

    Truthfully, I love the freedoms that come with age. My grandson tells me the reason he loves me so much is because I'm so crazy. I think at a younger age that may have offended me. At sixty-five, I wear it as a badge of honor.