Tag Archives: Reflection

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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.

As much as Photo Booth can make you feel like a teenager making duck faces for Facebook, it also provides that mirror snapshot. The chance to capture yourself and ask who you see.  I asked myself these same questions the other night after work, laughing into Photo Booth while my husband gave me funny looks from across the couch.  It was one of those rare moments I actually stopped to look at myself and I saw a tired, but happy teacher staring back at me.  When is the last time you stopped and really looked?

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Here is Your Life…

The night before last I had a dream that I showed up at my dad’s house and found a party in my honor in the backyard.  Attending this party were all of the people in my life that have ever mattered to me, even if only for brief periods or in small but significant ways.  If you are reading this, you were probably there, too.  It was a little like my wedding but bigger in scope because of the wide range of people there.  It was one of those dreams that remains visually haunting throughout your day, almost as though you’re still dreaming it hours later.

The funny thing is that I spent the whole day thinking back to the “Here is Your Life” segment of Sesame Street where all of the old friends and family magically appear to surprise the contestant, (in this case a carton of eggs!):

Okay, I know that was corny, (pun and reference to the clip intended), but it is interesting to me that “Here is Your Life” was the most memorable segment of Sesame Street for me growing up.  I’ve often thought back to it over the years, even if my memory of it was a little different than the reality of watching it for the first time in decades just now.  But, I often find that dreams are like those segments as people from your past mysteriously reappear from the depths of your subconscious.  This most recent dream was like “Here is Your Life” on steroids with a combination of both long-lost and present friends and family all together in one space in my brain.  It left me thinking about how many people have touched my life in various ways and how the routine of life limits how much time I have for everyone, even those that are closest to me.

This is an important reminder because I deeply believe that it is the connections that we share with the people in our lives that make life matter.  I feel like the universe has been shouting this at me between the events in my family this week and this dream that still will not leave my head.  On both sides of my family there will be gatherings in the next two weeks that mark the importance of coming together.

These pictures of then and now-ish of my dad’s family gatherings are a tribute to my Uncle Mike, who was good at bringing us together, and to my big family, who I hope will come together more often in the coming years.

So, here is my life, and I am happy that you are ALL part of it!

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