The marvelous thing about growing older is the escape from the tyranny of the mirror. The wrinkles and blemishes are there, but we really don't see them. Rather than looking at our faces, we now appreciate more the feeling of life surging through us, and are thankful. There is too much to be done, too much that is wondrous to be experienced, to be held back by a mere piece of glass.When I read that, I find myself chuckling at the thought that we probably don't notice the wrinkles and blemishes as much because eyesight is fading as for any other reason. Immediately following that thought comes the thought that it's probably the men-folk who are able to disregard the tyranny of the mirror more readily than we women are. And why is that?
For one thing, from the time I was tiny (and I think it is true of women in general - at least of my generation), approval was most often expressed by telling me I was cute or pretty or something having to do with my looks. My brothers, on the other hand, got approval for being smart or hard-working or athletic. Hopefully such things are changing, but I think there is still way too much emphasis on the appearance of girls and women - to the point that we tend to gauge our worth based on whether we are thin enough, or have a pretty face or wonderful hair, or the latest fashions.
As I am beginning to see an old woman gazing back at me in the mirror, I find I am still not immune to the mirror. Rather than echo Keene's words, I am more likely to find myself singing along with Dave Mallett: "Sweet bird of youth, don't pass me by...."
I find myself bothered by thinning hair -- it's been white too long for that to bother me any more. I see my overweight self and feel like I don't want people to have to look at me. Maybe that comes at least partly from my intolerance of overweight people when I was young and thin - serves me right! I wear makeup more when I am going out and fuss over my hair more than I ever did when I was young. All of which is silly, of course. None of those things is going to make me lovely and young again. But Keene gives me hope that, in a few more years, I might grow accustomed to this aging body and not resentful any more. I need to find peace with the aches and pains and aggravations of growing old. I'd like to be blessed to live many more years on this earth and have continuing opportunities to grow and try to be better and to watch my much loved children as they progress through life. Guess it's time to work on learning to "escape from the tyranny of the mirror" and to "appreciate more the feeling of life surging" through me. I am incredibly blessed with basically good health and a body that still pretty much does what I want it to do and a brain that continues to function -- most of the time. Time to set aside focus on the mirror and focus more on the gratitude for life and opportunity.