Whose face do you see when you look in the mirror?
Recently I went on a business trip that’s took me through 5 airports, boarding 5 planes, and taking off and landing 5 times in 4 time zones. Along the way, I waited in lines, looked in a lot of faces, and heard lots of conversations. One conversation in particular stands out – two young women in their early 20s were behind me talking about another person. I wasn’t eavesdropping, but voices in a jet way are quite clear. The comment that stopped me? “Yeah, he’s 35 you know, and that’s like, you know, old.”
I’m almost two decades past the age of 35, and I obviously have a different outlook on life than those two young women. Or do I?
I’m not normally the type that looks at myself in a mirror. But this comment, along with much more positive comments from my colleagues related to a change in hairstyle, made me look in the mirror in the hotel that night. Just who was that looking back at me?
The face I saw was that of my father. Instinctively, I know this was triggered by recent changes in his health. At 83, issues are beginning to arise. Emails indicated a gradual change in demeanor and lifestyle. Unexpected phone calls late at night recount hospital visits that begin bringing a new image to mind.
This morning, I looked long in the mirror and the vision I saw was that of my father, coming into focus like a picture being developed right in front of my eyes.
Thought of another way, however, that familiar face embedded in my mind morphed into my son’s and then into his son’s - my grandson. Like a modern day mashup, those collections of lives lived, and yet to live, offer a considerable span of history. A life in waning years, a life at halftime, a life in early adulthood, and a life just beginning – that’s quite a few faces in the mirror.
It doesn’t take a magic mirror to see the past in your own face, or wonder about the future in the face of your children and grandchildren.
Who knows when you will glance into a mirror and meet a past you hadn’t expected and weren’t ready for, or a future that is yet to come.
Look in the mirror – what do you see?