Reflections/Life

The Mirror Doesn’t Lie

You stand in front of the bathroom mirror. Who is that woman staring back at you?

Maybe you should turn the light off. See if that pretty young girl will at least make a brief entrance.

You would like to hang onto her. She was so young and her skin so smooth and her hair so thick and lovely.

She had to live every moment and then learn from it. Not understanding that sometimes the road she’s running down curves and you can’t see what’s beyond it.

It took her years to learn that oftentimes it’s better to walk away than follow what you can’t see into the dark of night.

She must be in there somewhere. Because you remember her so well. How she didn’t care about the sun’s rays or the things magazines told her would cause wrinkles.

Wrinkles? What wrinkles? She didn’t care about any of that back then. The future seemed so far away.

Yet here it is. Staring back at you in all its seriousness.

The wrinkles are like starbursts at the corner of your eyes. The hair a bit lackluster. Your eyes full of life that’s already lived and left behind you.

Her life wasn’t yet full of such complexities. Or the knowledge that took so many years for you to master.

She ran smack into every experience without pausing. So carefree with her long legs that often carried her from one calamity to another.

She didn’t understand that looking before you jump was something that could make or break her. And sometimes it did break her into tiny pieces.

She cried big gasping tears and thought her life was surely over.

How little she really knew.

She is you and you are her.

You have wisdom that silly young girl did not have. You have compassion and grit and fortitude.

That girl ran through the fields of life with ribbons tied in her hair, laughter echoing behind her. She often flirted with the boys that followed. Her dreams were filled with love and being loved.

She left a trail of glitter in her wake.

What she didn’t know was that sometimes love hurts. That the very essence of it is sometimes hot to the touch and will leave scars if you hold onto the heat of it too long.

She lacked strength. She bent easily in the wind like a slender sapling.

Would you really trade this wise face in the mirror for that young girl if you could?

I don’t think I’d want to go back there. Trade places with her.

Even for that precious time when my skin was taut and there were no wrinkles on my face. Back when men turned to look when I walked by.

That girl was lit from within. She glowed like the flame of a candle.

But when the door was opened and the air shifted, that flame flickered. It struggled to stay alight.

She didn’t yet have the skills to weather storms like you do now.

I wish I could tell her that time is priceless.

Slow down, I want to tell her. Savor life before gobbling it down so fast you don’t have a chance to even taste it.

So I say goodbye to her. I did enjoy being her all those years ago.

But the mirror does not lie.

I smile because I found a contentment that was illusive for that young capricious girl. She often ran headlong into every possible disaster. Fell and picked herself back up again and again.

But then, that’s how you learn, isn’t it?

So I wrap my age around me like a warm cashmere shawl and wear it with a pride that’s borne of wisdom.

“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.” – Louise Hay

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33 Comments

  1. This is such a beautiful post! I loved your line “She is you and you are her.” Thank you for writing this.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and think we all look back on our lives and say, “where did time go”, and wonder if we could have done anything differently, and if so..what would things be like now. You have such a gift of writing. Thanks for sharing. I would go back in a heart beat to a younger life..but mainly for the reason of feeling better healthwise..because aging as we all know, “ain’t for sissies”… I recall being so exhausted in younger years and my saying would be I wish life would just stop turning for a minute and let me rest..keeping up with all of life’s expectations can be exhausting..and especially when they go astray abit or alot..as I think we all have been there in some respect or another, most likely. Gratitude for the lives we have now is a great way to stay happy and a good reminder to make the most of each day..just like you seem to do in your Cozy Little House.

  3. Louise Hay has the best affirmations. I have several of her books. Have a great start to March on Monday.

  4. What a lovely read for me this evening. In my sixties, I’ve struggled recently with the contrast between those old photos in boxes and recent selfies — the beautiful young woman I was compared to the time worn matriarch I see reflected. Thank you for that “warm cashmere sweater.”

  5. You write about a younger you today. I recall that once you posted a picture of your younger self. I would enjoy, as well as alot of your readers, would appreciate seeing that picture again. Please!

  6. Love After Love
    By Derek Walcott

    The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.
    © by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

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    © 2021 Verizon Media

  7. Well said!

    Sarah Ban Breathnach who wrote “Simple Abundance” has said to find a picture of yourself from when you were 10 years old. Frame it and leave it in a prominent place. Remind yourself of the young girl you once were and send her love often. I haven’t done it, but I think it’s a nice idea.

      1. Well Brenda the 19th is close enough. So Happy Belated Birthday to you!

        We wish you a wonderful birthday year! Enjoy doing things you love and celebrate the year with joy and peace. Things have to look and get better soon.
        I’m counting on it myself. Loving your blog!
        You are so talented and I look forward everyday to read your blog.
        Thank you for taking the time and researching topics that are beneficial to your readers. I appreciate it and so I’m sure others do as well.

        Thanks!
        LaDonna

  8. I especially love the tv ads for anti-aging products with the models that look about 17. (Eyeroll) Wonderful photograph of the ducks!

  9. Beautifully put Brenda! I look in the mirror and I would love to see that pretty face of my youth! Thanks to good genes my wrinkles are few, but my hair is almost all grey. I will say that when I’m around young people and then I look in the mirror I see an old lady! I would love to go back to my youthful days, but there are a few things I would do differently, like not being in a hurry to marry!

  10. Thank you, for this, Brenda. It’s my birthday, actually the 29th, so it is very appropriate for me to hear your words today.

  11. No, I would not want to go back to my youth. It took lots of learning through experiences (some the hard way) for me to acquire the wisdom, compassion and voice I have today. Not really worried about aging physically for appearances sake, but I would love to have the good health and energy levels of my younger days!

  12. I’ve read the comments about publishing your writing. This one deserves to be shared. Go ahead. Try it. Nothing to lose. Keep it up sweet Lady!!

  13. I would not go back too far but would love to take 20 years off my age. I would still be married to the man I love , its just that I need more time, more time to do all the things I want to do, have time to read all the books I want to read, move into the house I will love more than this one with a big garden with many trees, shrubs and flowers. As I have aged I really appreciate gardening and walking in it with delight to see what has happened there. As for looking in the mirror, yes I would like to erase my wrinkles but I can accept the way I look now.

  14. Maybe it’s the time of year – that long stretch of weather that seems never to want to end before it resentfully allows spring to appear at last; maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in our lives, the nation as a whole has been undergoing an epic life-changing experience that has tested people to their very cores. Or maybe it’s just a function of looking at myself in the mirror every day and going, hmmmm…. I will die a brunette, I will not go to my grave with gray hair! I hate my turkey neck and jowls! A few days ago I was reading something and saw those lines that run down from the ends of one nose to the bottom of the chin called “marionette lines!” I had never before heard them referred to that way but it’s a perfect description. I look like Charlie McCarthy – and you have to be a certain age to know what I’m talking about, LOL! Recently my youngest sister sent me a photo of me and my three younger sisters taken at Christmas 1976. It was a shock to see myself at 25, slim, with thick dark hair, glowing dark eyes, a huge smile on my face, looking like a glamour girl. I’d forgotten what I had looked like back then and how beautiful my sisters were. But that girl is still inside, eternally young.

  15. I am 76, and I would not go back to any younger age if I had the chance.
    All my life changing decisions are behind me and I live happily with their sometimes unhappy consequences. My children and grandchildren are living good lives as am I. Thank you for a look in the mirror. I don’t particularly like what I see there, but am content with it. I deserve this restful time as do you.

  16. I guess most of us olders do find the mirror rather shocking in a way…where did our youth go? (I don’t worry about the few wrinkles or gray hair…I just wish I had MORE hair!!) I certainly have no wish to relive my life…although I wish the really wonderful places had lasted longer…and the horrific ones had never happened…but it is all wishes and all wishes do not come true. We have to be grateful for the good days, even very mundane days…because that is far better in the long run. I am sorry your life was so hard, Brenda…sorry for so many of us whose lives were that way. But making lemonade from the lemons dealt us is still the best we can do isn’t it?