|Norman Catwell - Lucia Heffernan|
How old are you until you look in the mirror?
The general consensus - we all feel a lot younger than we appear. There was no bitterness; just a realization that how we feel isn't the person others see. Upon reflection (pun intended), we all agreed that when one looks in a mirror we are more critical about our appearance than we should be.
Like my feline friend above right, my self-image is a bit more complex than most. These days, compared with a lifetime of hating my reflection (or at least avoiding looking too hard at it), the way I feel brings a lot more pleasure than it used to.
Interestingly, the other women mostly chose the young lady they were at about seventeen as their internal image. Try as I might, there is no seventeen-year-old version of me that satisfies my feminine ideal. As fit as I was (and old photos confirm my body might have produced a lovely young woman), the image of that confused and frustrated young adult is not one I want to carry about with me. The very best I can manage is a thirty-something lady whose self-portrait was captured as a pencil sketch.
While looking at that sketch, however, I notice a restlessness of spirit that has been somewhat quenched by recent life experience. She also has a very fit body that I cannot recall ever having. It seems the downside of my current contentment is a less-than-ideal body (unless you have something that Rubens might have painted in mind, that is) shape.
One interesting debate going on in my mind is whether at my age it is important to 'regain' that ideal body that I never actually had, to go with my so-much-better attitude toward life in all other ways.
Another woman might say that she has accepted herself after a lifetime because she won't ever be that ideal woman in her memory. On the other hand, I am a woman who definitely did not accept herself as she was. These past few years have been seen momentous change. The question might be when to declare that process complete.
My restlessness of spirit might have been somewhat quenched, but life is an adventure. I will not rule out serendipity.