What do you think you look like? Do you see the same face in the mirror you see in photos of yourself? Do you see yourself as the age you are now or is there a much younger version of you forever locked inside your mind?
This past week, between publishing a web page, 3 blogs and talking to and about folks from high school,the subject of how we look as we get older came up more than once. I have a file on my computer appropriately called “Me” in which, you guessed it, there is nothing but photos of me. Some are old, some really old and some taken this past spring. Clearly I am no longer the thin version of myself I see from earlier days but inside I still feel like the thin me. I also don’t think of myself as being much over thirty until I lift something a bit heavy and my shoulder injury from 1999 reminds me I’m not as young as I think I am or my back goes out from trying to do more than I am able.
For the past few years a classmate has hosted an unofficial class party at his house, mostly for classmates that still live in our home town. I have never gone to one of these parties until two years ago. Bobby had helped me out with something during my move to my new house and I felt like I owed it to him to attend his party that year. I talked another classmate who lives here in town into making the evening long trip with me. There was a nice crowd of maybe 25-30 folks, all with name tags except me. I almost always refuse to wear one. Besides Bobby, I recognized a few others who looked just about the same as they did in high school only a bit more mature. But as I wandered from face to face, name tag to name tag, I only recognized about a quarter of the people there. Some were real shocker too. A couple of folks would have never known who they were in a million years if it weren’t for the name tags. So I took lots of pictures to post on Facebook the next day so a classmate out of state could see them. And as we drove back to Greensboro that night all I could say was “Who were those people?”
This week as I gazed at the photos of me, I was found myself wondering: “Is that me and do I really look like that?” Suddenly it occurred to me that the person I see in those photos looks only a little like what I think I look like. Then, this morning I woke up with this same question on my mind except I wanted to hear others answer it. My preconception of myself is clearly skewed. Now I am hearing all those voices that have tried to tell me this for years.
Now my question is: “Have I just stumbled on a mirror or a looking glass?” Excuse me while I go ponder this for a bit.