Mirror doesn’t lie, eyes play tricks

Published 9:43 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

I am truly shocked when I run into an old acquaintance.

Almost without exception, they have aged, while I’m still the same young girl I have always been.

I’m aware my hair has turned a lovely shade of silver, but grey hair, some would say, is “en vogue” now. Even teens are clamoring for preparations that will purposely transform their fully-pigmented, youthful hair the same color as mine.

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No, I haven’t aged; I’m merely a trendsetter.

When I hear friends discussing maladies that wrack their bodies with pain, I pity them; for I don’t see the old lady that hobbles past my mirror in the morning with joints stiffened from while asleep.

Oh, sometimes I get a glimpse of that poor old soul, but I don’t recognize her because, you see, my rapidly-deteriorating body and my youthful mind don’t often communicate.

My mind is active. I am cognitive of the world around me, although my children and grandchildren would no doubt beg to differ. Misunderstand one slang term or misappropriate the lyrics to a new song, and they will laugh you right out of the room.

Oh yes, I’ve noticed the rolled eyes and I hear the snickering behind my back. I recall a time when I did the same thing to my parents and grandparents.

Unlike other cultures who revere their elders, Americans do not seek the wisdom of their aging parents and grandparents. The younger generation doesn’t realize we’ve seen and done it all and we might be able to impart knowledge honed from our experiences. We could often prevent them from making the same mistakes and suffering the same consequences, if only they would listen.

But they forge boldly ahead, hellbent on making their own mistakes. They chide us for our old-fashioned opinions.

The Baby Boomer generation, of which I am a confirmed member, is an outspoken lot. We were children of the 60s, a time when we felt we had to scream and protest to be heard.

We took Dylan Thomas’ warning to heart when he told us “Do not go gentle into that good night.” We will go into that good night kicking and screaming and begging for someone to listen.

Our mindset tells us we are still the barefoot rebels, forging new paths and imparting knowledge. We may not remember why we entered the room or where we mislaid the keys, but we still remember exactly where we were the moment President Kennedy was assassinated. We can tell you how much a loaf of bread or a gallon of gasoline cost in 1970, and the hourly wage we earned to purchase them.

We don’t recognize the old folks in the mirror with wrinkled faces and grey hair, so we just walk on by and deny, deny, deny.

Can you look beyond your reflection in the mirror and see the wisdom within?

Anne Carmichael is a lifestyle columnist who contributes often to The Jessamine Journal.