To The Lady in My Mirror
Dear Lady In My Mirror,
I stare at your face looking back at me in the mirror. Who is this old woman with the white streaks in her hair and eye-lids drooping down a bit at the corners? Your eyes look puzzled, as if you cannot recognize the image reflected back at you, yet you should know her well. Fifty seven long years you have lived inside her skin, felt her grow and change, fought with her and against her thru good times and bad, followed her thru countless adventures in many places and encounters with endless people, and yet in some ways she remains an enigma to you, and to many folks it seems.
I've seen you struggle to try to define her, to explain her, and even to conform her to what the world expects her to be, all without a great measure of success. You are one of the different ones, aren't you? One from another tribe of misfits, not content to move along with the flow of things, always questioning, sometimes rebelling, sometimes reeling from the sting of defeat.
If I were to choose words to describe your life now, I would have to say first of all - loved, and that's a rare and wonderful experience for you! It has been so good to see you laugh, and love, and trust again - to truly feel alive! Secondly, I would say you are for the most part content, certainly more content than you've ever been before with your life. You love being at home with your husband. Your furkids and your laptop are your only other constant companions - except when you are at work.
Work is another story. You seem destined to never find a job that you truly love, that fits you, that makes you want to come to work each day. What you are assigned to do, you do well, or at least as well as you can. You're an organizer and a team player and your do everything you can to help out. But deep inside you know this not really what you should be doing, could be doing, with your life. There were other dreams once long ago, and every now and then you wonder what would have happened if you would have chosen a different path, rather than the one you did. Would it have been any easier? Would you feel more fulfilled? Would you possibly even be retired by now, as some of your friends are? You know that is not to be. I hear your sigh of resignation, it will always be necessary for you to work in order to live.
Your eyes look tired, they often do. You feel tired more often than you don't, right? And you know a large part of that is your lack of effort in maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise. Instead, you sit at an office desk for nine straight hours most days, getting up only for a trip down the hall or to the filing closet. And at night you collapse onto the sofa next to your husband, weary from a day of constant push and focus, and having little desire to move except toward bed a few hours later.
It's Springtime now, how I'd like to see you find the motivation to get out there and start doing more, get active, re-energize, and make a real attempt at eating more healthy home-prepared foods. Not only would you feel a whole lot better if you looked better, but you might live longer with less complications too. Your Dad spoke of that often in his last years. Remember how he regretted not having taken better care of himself?
I know you feel overwhelmed most days by the tasks and responsibilities required just to maintain your simple life and work routines. I know you struggle to deal with the unfairness of situations in your life and in the lives of others you care about, over which you have little or no control. You're doing better at learning to let go, to just live in the moment, but you still need to let go of more stress if you want that stomach to stop hurting by the end of the day. Prilosec can only do so much!
I'm so glad you've learned that life won't end if the dirty dishes sit a bit, or laundry doesn't all get done at once. You used to be just plain anal about keeping everything cleaned and polished as your mother did, but she had all day at home to do it, and you don't! Most days you're away from home for more than ten hours! While tasks do need to be accomplished, and you do have a tendency to procrastinate, you also need to know when to pamper yourself and ignore the dust! I'm glad you've got Saturday's to do this now. You need your quiet time, your alone time, to read and write and think! Along with your passion for writing and blogging, you need to make some time in your life again for reading and craftwork. I know you miss curling up with a good book, and I remember how relaxing and therapeutic you used to find cross-stitch and crochet. I'd still like to see you attempt quilt-making some day too!
What I want to say to you most of all, lady in my mirror, is that you've done pretty good in life. No, it's not what you thought it would be, nobody's life really turns out as they expect it will. But you've lived a full life, with all kinds of experiences that most folks will never know. You've raised two amazing children in the midst of chaotic marriages, and you've been blessed with a wonderful man to keep you company in this stage of your life. I know you aren't all you wish you were, I know you struggle to live according to what you believe, I know you're never satisfied that you've done good enough, but in truth you've done pretty darn good!
Smile at your reflection in the mirror now and then. In fact you should smile more all the time! Think of all the good times, the magic times, the fun times, the crazy times, and the times when you realized just how blessed you really are. Smile in the knowledge that you're not really as crazy as some folks might believe, or maybe that you are! Ha, I knew that would make you laugh! We'll just keep that our little secret.