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).