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Mirror, mirror on the wall

Some days ago I was standing in front of my mirror fixing my hair when I noticed my biceps seemed to be hanging upside down. Some further checks made me conclude that the so called biceps had transformed into a rather unattractive fold of fat. (Well, not all of it: there’s quite enough biceps left to throw a murderous punch or two.) When did this happen? I cast my mind back over the recent weeks, months, and throughout most of the summer I’ve lived with the impression that I had a toned, tanned biceps. Self delusion? Extremely fast degradation? Neither of the alternatives sound all that appealing.

The timing of this discovery was anything but auspicious, seeing as I’m only days away from one of “those” birthdays. Not that I’m all that frazzled about this upcoming event (umm… sounds good, doesn’t it?) but I didn’t need such a tangible reminder of the effects Earth’s gravitational forces are having on my body. It sure didn’t help when someone I know (and love) suggested I might need to upgrade my underwear somewhat to the type that lifts and shapes …

Okay, so things are no longer as tight and toned as they used to be, the scale indicates there might be an excess of mass (in Sweden we call this “restaurant muscles” – nice, no?) and in the unforgiving light of a July sun one can make out the odd extra line on my face. None of this bothers me – truly! I’m more concerned with the sheer functionality of things which is why I will now increase my daily walks – longer, faster – and continue not to wear glasses except when I’m driving. (Eye exercise; supposed to be good for the lens, however much wrinkles the squinting this causes might bring with it …). And then, of course, I worry about TIME.

It sort of struck me like a bolt out of the blue that time is finite (at least in this form). Maybe that’s just me, maybe the rest of the world have always kept track of the fact that time is always running out, never running in. (I sincerely hope that isn’t the case, because to live your life in constant consciousness of how short it ultimately is must be very depressing.) And no, despite the lyrics in my favourite Meatloaf song (“For Crying out loud”) there ISN’T a “tankful of time” waiting further down the line. This insight can be handled in two ways: Either by doing an ostrich and ignoring it, or by taking a break and thinking about what is truly important in your life.  Well, I’m not the ostrich type (my legs are too short), so that one is out, which leaves this reflecting business.

Reflecting is nerve wracking. I try to prioritise, to write a list of Most Important Things I Want To Do Before I Die, but boy is that list long, and as anyone who has ever been at a strategic workshop knows, if the list is too long nothing will get done. So I rewrite. And rewrite. I take a break from all this reflecting and make myself a cup of tea. I rewrite again. I have a major sugar craving upon reaching item 9 on the list (stop dieting) and spend ten unproductive minutes trying to find a piece of chocolate. I write. I think. I say ” Ah WTF …” and crumple the paper into a ball. At this point in time my husband comes home, and I’m so glad to be interrupted I spend the rest of the evening watching episodes of The Newsroom with him. Much better than agonising over what I am to do with the rest of my life!

If I’m going to be brutally honest with myself, writing lists won’t make me change my life. I’m not even sure I WANT to change it – well, apart from the fact that I’d love to swallow a purple pill or two one evening and wake up fifteen kilos lighter next morning. (Oh, and I’d love to have really long and thick hair , you know, the kind that if you pull out the pins it sort of tumbles like a waterfall of curls to well below your shoulder blades.)

Yes, I have dreams – many dreams – and some I will fulfill, some will remain dreams forever. (This is probably a VERY good thing. Some of my dreams are best confined to the darker side of my brain). But mostly I have a life; I have family I love, friends I cherish, colleagues I enjoy working with – heck, I even have a dog. And there are tons of things left to discover out there, and being of a curious disposition I will continue to collect facts and trivial knowledge.

Back to the mirror. If I tense my arm, the biceps slides back up where it should be – most of it at least. If I tilt my head to the right, my chin reverts to its original somewhat pointed shape. And when I suck in my belly and curve my back … well, I still like what I see – but that may be because I’m not wearing my glasses 🙂

3 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror on the wall”

  1. Oh – I want that ‘tumbling’ hair too, Anna!

    I think we all worry about ‘time’ at some stages of our lives. Time for me goes slower as I get older (I was thinking about writing a post about this, but worried people would think I was nuts!) When I was in my mid-twenties I lost two friends to breast cancer. This had a profound effect on my life. Both women had young children and both wished they could live to see their children grow up and they also wished for the opportunity to ‘grow old’. The effect this had on me was a profound wish to grow old. I look so forward to birthdays that I’m like the kid waiting for Christmas – each takes an age to come around. I guess this is all relative (as Einstein would say) but I find my years are so full that each year I live seems like ten! Sounds weird I know! But it works for me 🙂

    As for the wrinkles – I have very few but every time I see one it makes me happy because I know I’m still here and have been given that ‘time’ others don’t have 🙂

    1. Good for you for having learnt from that hash lesson back in your twenties, thereby embracing each year as a gift. Not all of us do. And you’re so right: the alternative to ageing is much more unpalatable. Besides, as one grows older peer pressure decreases and personal freedom increases.

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