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