Looking into the mirror of my life

Looking into the mirror of my life

(Originally published in Medium, Jan. 2020)

Looking into the mirror of my life

New Year, the time of the year when people make resolutions.

I didn’t. I won’t.

But I decide to take a deep look into a mirror and ask some questions. Even if I wouldn’t like the answers I thought it might be worth asking. Questions touching the core, the essence of our being. Questions of who I am. Or who do I think I am. Where do I want to go — or where am I to start with?

You know, the very simple ones, the ones we all should ask ourselves occasionally.

Such as: Am I a person you can trust? Or am I the opposite: I think “me” first before I think “the other(s)”? Does my behaviour reflect this in some way in my life, work, my relationships? Or still worse: am I even selfish — or self-centred?

Is empathy present in my words and actions ? In which way do my actions show that I take other people into consideration?

Do I strive to be honest? Not just defining honesty as “not lying” but as someone termed it “not being economic with the truth” — i.e. misleading people?

I keep looking at the mirror.

A very simple question I also ask myself is this one: are my words and actions stable and consistent? Am I committed to be and to become what I promised to be? To myself and others. Do I behave, say and do this week as I did or promised to do the week before? Thinking of what Gandhi said of happiness, I pose the question to myself: are my thoughts, words and actions aligned – are they in harmony?

I also try to see myself in the eyes of others. What is their perception? Yes, I am way too old to be thinking “how do I look” or “what do others think of me” ‑type of questions. And that is not very interesting — at least I don’t think so — and that is not what I mean. But I ask instead:

Am I nice person to be with? To share a life with?

And how do I show my own appreciation and respect to others? To the people I work with, to the ones I Iove. Do I look them in the eye? Am I supportive, do I listen enough? When I ask how someone is doing, do I listen to the answer? How do I commu­nicate my truth? Or do I?

How does my desire to be the best version of myself manifest itself in my daily actions? Or does it?

I try to see life from the outside — as a mirror enables us to do –and a camera even more— and perceive honestly and openly how others relate to me.

Am I being respected, appreciated, loved —you know, in a healthy way, as a person — or taken for granted, used, treated like a commodity among others? A checkbox which has to be ticked occasio­nally, to be kept at bay.

The questions continue their steady flow.

Am I making my own decisions, using my own best, honest judgement, or am I just going thru the motions, living like everyone else is doing, doing things the way you are “supposed to do”?

Am I creating my own version of a life I consider worth living or am I following the blueprint the society laid out for me–the same one it did for everyone else? Am I living my own life or filling the dream of others — am I creating my own path, leaving my own traces?

I’ve made a living for thirty years looking at things and life thru a lens, so I’d like to think I can analyze what I see. The fact that I was trained in psychology doesn’t hurt either.

I keep looking into that mirror.

I am well aware that I have taken the road less travelled. But as Robert Frost said himself: it has made all the difference.

And I think of another writer I used to like in my more vulne­rable years —Richard Bach, the writer of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Freely quoting him:

I spent my whole life to become the person I am today. Was it worth it?”

I keep looking. And more thoughts just keep coming and coming. The AA serenity prayer among them:

Give me strength to change the things I can change and humility to understand and accept the things I cannot change. And grant me the wisdom to see the diffe­rence between these two.”

I am still looking at that mirror.

More writers start entering the stage of my mind. Yes, I do like reading and I do it a lot. Rudyard Kipling left his mark a long time ago:

If you can meet both with triumph and disaster
and treat those two impostors just the same…”

I am still in front of that mirror.
And I think how healthy it is to do this, to take this look occasionally.
Some other day the answers might be different.
And sometimes in the past they have definitely been different.

The questions remain.
The answers might change over time.

For the better, I hope.

But 2020 I can live with the image I have seen.
But I will strive to make it better.

(Origi­nally published in Medium — lots of my writing lately has been elsewhere; Medium is place where I try more artistic/personal approaches, fiction, even poetry. 

Just thought the readers of this blog (both of them…) might find this interesting as well). 

2 Replies to “Looking into the mirror of my life”

  1. Buddy: Are you entering the “Half way Hotel”… For women, it means the Menopause, for most married couples generally a marriage chrisis or divorce. For men in career, when they realize young guys are beating them in games, and finally “normal men”, they realize that they are given “new cards to play the game” Just continue the game you had chosen.. It will be all right, in the end…

    1. Well, getting older… and wiser, all of us I guess. Menopause? Happens to all of us, regardless of our gender.
      Yes, definitely will continue the game I have chosen. Or the path I’d rather call it.
      Nice to see you are keeping an eye on my doings. Hope all is well.

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