How often do you actually stop to look at yourself in the mirror? I mean, really look at yourself? Of course, I’m being rhetorical here, I’m not begging you to respond with an exact answer, I just realize that most of the time when I look in the mirror, I look past myself, checking just the details to make sure I’m presentable to the outside world. I look without seeing myself, if that makes any sense.
Once in a great while, I actually stop and look myself in the eyes and have this weird moment of connection where I think, I’m that girl, the one with the long brown hair, the one who goes to school to teach children, the one that’s married to Alex and loves to write and travel. I get that we are so much more than who we are on the outside, but sometimes, making that connection to our physical self grounds us in the reality that we’re here, living life, present.
I was just working on my book and this memory of looking in the mirror and seeing the future came back to me. At the time, I was an economic analyst in Berkeley, but I knew I wanted to escape. Each morning I walked to work past an elementary school and I wished I was walking there instead of to my cube. Sometimes, I would look in the long mirror in my office bathroom, and I would see a teacher staring back at me. That probably sounds odd, but truly, I would look at myself and think, that girl is a teacher, not a cube dweller.
Reflecting on this now, I cannot help but wonder whether truly looking in the mirror is a more powerful tool of self-discovery than we realize. I know it’s a commonly used phrase to take a long-hard look in the mirror, but I’m beginning to think it has some actual meaning. Today, I still see a teacher staring back at me. But, she’s also a writer, a traveler, and a much more alive human being.