The Cost by Lois Hewitt

What does it cost to say a kind word or to refrain from saying an unkind one?

What does it cost to allow another person their opinion?

What does it cost to hold the door, put your grocery cart away, or to do any number of small things done in civilized society?

What does it cost to offer a prayer for someone in need?

What does it cost to fully listen to someone without thinking about what you will say next?

What does it cost to say an encouraging word or show support to a fellow human being?

What does it cost to be kind? The cost of empathy? The cost of understanding?

Nothing. Most kindnesses do not cost anything. Yet they can bring about positive change.

Kindness does cost time. Some say time is money. In my opinion, if you are looking for a huge return on your investment of time, being kind is the best investment you can make. Dividends are not guaranteed nor are they immediately seen, but a life lived with kindness is a joy.

I have written a lot about simple acts of kindness. The further away we get from that in our society, the more self-centered we become, the more we need to step back and reevaluate ourselves.

Believe me, I know how easy it is to wall yourself up and cast all others away. I am an introverted introvert at best. Other people scare me and make me want to ignore them. I have to force myself to be kind and when I am my heart soars.

So worth it is to help someone else. The gesture need not be large or costly, it just needs to be genuine. My sense of self-preservation makes being kind something I have to think about. It is in my nature but I have suppressed it in lieu of fear long enough.

I’m broke but I can still be kind. I’m afraid but I can still be kind. I’m in a hurry but I can still be kind. I want to be the person who cheerleads for someone else. Who say congratulations. Who says thank you! Who says I’ll pray for you!

Kindness is the great equalizer. It crosses all boundaries and it costs nothing. But it can change lifes.

Safety Net by Lois Hewitt

The last couple of weeks have been truly eye opening for me. Before I start I want to reiterate that my blessings overflow. From where I came from, the bad decisions I made now to know I know I am blessed. My eyes have seen life without a safety net. It has been concerning.

I have been ill for a few weeks now. Doing much better though. But I put off a trip to Urgent Care because the car payment was due. I tried over the counter things but to no avail. I ended up getting checked out but should have done it sooner.

Not having health insurance for the last eight years or so weighs heavy on every decision that comes to health. Asking around I found that this situation is much more prevalent then I knew. Going to the doctor with a prescription or two can cost a couple of hundred dollars.

How many people have an emergency fund for such things and how many people are one car breakdown or appliance failure away from disaster? My savings has a long time balance of $5.00. I want and plan to save more but find it much more difficult than I imagined.

Please know I am not complaining. Having lost everything a few years ago has made me appreciate all that I have. But the reality is a truth. Many of us live without any sort of safety net. Being sick facilitated a few extra bills and a loss of a weeks paycheck…which can be recovered from. What if I had to go to the hospital. What if I had missed weeks from work. What then.

Now I absolutely do not expect the government or employer to take this to task. No handouts wanted. Most of the people I know in a similar position agree. The reality is harsh at best. I tend to think about all the possibilities when things are going smoothly. I have been around long enough to know those times don’t last.

You may think this is absolutely insane but I do think this way. If I had said safety net…how would I act differently? I would then rely on myself and my resources to take care of my needs. I may even take the simple things for granted because I have it covered.

With no safety net, I generally take nothing for granted. I’m thankful every week that I can buy healthy food. I’m thankful for my very small but efficient wardrobe. I’m thankful for a roof over my head and heat in the winter and comfy blankets and warm socks and hot cocoa (you can tell it’s winter) and all the things I have. I thank God every day for providing these things. He also gives me a place to put my fear and anxiety.

I would be lying if in the dark of night I didn’t pray for a little lottery winning or some sort of windfall. Those are few and far between. I do then pray for those of our society who struggle more than me. I am one of the lucky ones. Then I pray that I can get by. I have learned to not need much or even want much.

The hidden blessing for me is my gratitude levels have skyrocketed. I’m grateful for every paycheck. I’m grateful that there is a place that I can go when I’m sick and they care for me. I’m thankful for my landlords who care for me too. The list could go on for days.

I went from having a house and stuff and never being satisfied to losing said house and stuff and starting over from scratch in my 50s and being totally grateful. I say this only for myself, happy without is so much better than unhappy with.

I’m still going to try to save a little bit more but for now I’m doing my best. I can’t do more than that. Be grateful today…it changes your perspective. I pray for all of us living on the edge without a safety net. My you all have comfort today.

Giving by Lois Hewitt

My goal with this blog is to be as honest and forthcoming as possible. In life I have found those struggles I have had were not just mine. I would have loved to read about someone who struggled with OCD (and still does) or who lived with the consequences of poor decision making. I always thought it was just me. My hope is to make just one person feel they are not alone. Plus being open about those struggles is healing.

With that being said, I am going to be very honest. I want to be more of a caring person but I have built such a high wall around myself I can’t seem to break free. I want to be more open but, honestly, I’m unsure of most people in general. I hate to admit this but it is part of my struggle.

Lockdown was too easy for me. In fact I thrived not being able to go anywhere. I gained a new appreciation for Amazon. Mike and Amazon were my lifeline to the outside world. I was happy and content.

That didn’t last and that is a good thing. But I am having real trouble assimilating back into the land of other people. In that short period of time, I began to not trust anymore. I began to feel different than everyone else. I leave the apartment counting the hours until I’m back. I make no eye contact. I drifted out to an isolated island and I’m still there but with more people around.

I have always been a loner. Much of my youth was spent alone. I learned to love it. It’s easier being alone. No small talk. No chance to get hurt. I’m not lonely just alone. I have books and Prime for outside influences. Again to be painfully honest, people scare me.

I have always dealt with the fact that if I never left home I would probably be ok. But that’s not normal and I know it. I am not sure I know how to change it. I can for periods of time assimilate but it is exhausting. From what I have been reading that is normal for introverts.

I do want to change a little. I believe we are all lights onto the world. We are placed here to light up our little corners of the world. How can I do that when my battery is always dead and when the wall is too high to climb over?

Another very strong personal belief I have is that things done for others are meant to be done in silence. Doing good for the attention of it is not doing good. Those things done when no one is watching are the game changers. Just my opinion and only for myself.

With that being said, yesterday I was doing my weekly grocery shopping when I saw a man in a motorized cart. He seemed to be struggling with items on high shelves. I said a prayer for him and kept doing. I ran into him again and without thinking and without fear I asked if he needed help. He did and I helped him. Then continued shopping. In the last isle, I saw him again and asked if he needed anything before I left. He said he was good. And I checked out.

Later that night I was thinking about this less than a minute experience. It reminded me of what it means to be human. It’s not the big things, I leave those things to better people than I. It is about the small human kindnesses that seem like distant memories from a different time.

I used to be that person a lot. But then something made me afraid. Oh how I hate being afraid. But I am. Fear has released some of my humanity. Fear has made me less generous and much more jaded. My life is colored not with rose colored glasses but tainted with colors of hatred and discourse. I hate to admit that I am afraid. That fear makes me angry. That anger makes me afraid. And so the cycle is uninterrupted.

I’m not trying to be a downer but this is my current struggle. I would love to change the world with my written words but the probability of that is slim. I have to learn to live with others again. I’m not sure how that will happen. But helping that gentleman in the grocery store seemed to start a smoldering inside of me.

My hope for this blog is to show that a very flawed person can make the necessary changes in life to become that light unto the world that we are all called to be. I’m not there yet. I’m almost 60 and you would think by now I would have gotten it. But it’s still in progress.

To you reading this..congraulations on getting this far as I’m sure it wasn’t easy. But thank you. If that one person is out there and doesnt feel completely alone now I thank you. We really are all in this together and no one gets out alive. We might as well stick together and make it better where we can. That’s what I’m going to try.

Love Letter to a Train by Lois Hewitt

I still can’t believe that I used to work on a train. I was not an engineer or conductor, but a server for guests. It has been a few years since I have done that, but I already look back on the time with nostalgia in my heart.

I always said it was the hardest job I ever loved. If you have ever been a server just imagine doing it on a constantly moving train. Once you got used to it, it really wasn’t that difficult.

History never really interested me until I started working on a train. Some of the passenger cars dated back to the 1920s. The engines were from WWII. I used to imagine train travel back in the day. Slow and romantic.

Since I worked on a scenic railroad, our speed did not top 19 miles an hour. On one particularly difficult bend we would slow to a crawl as to not derail. Imagine going 15 miles an hour in today’s world! It took guests a while to acclimate to the idea of slowing down. Many learned to enjoy the pace.

The idea of slowly moving through the scenery, crossing tressel bridges, following rivers, and stepping back in time were the gifts the train gave to her guests. As I learned more and more about trains, she became a living thing to me and the others I worked with.

Imagine building these gigantic mechanical beings by hand with materials made by hand. The depth and scope I cannot imagine. Every detail celebrated by workers who took pride in providing a new, at the time, means of moving people and products from place to place.

The train saved entire communities by bringing much need supplies during times of distress. It also allowed people to move whether searching for opportunities or enjoying a pleasure trip, the train was the mode of desired transportation.

Close your eyes for a moment and feel the gentle rocking of the train car. Perpetual motion. Listen to the melody of the wheels running along the track, metal on metal yet somehow soothing. Windows down, the smell of smoke from the steam engine, the smell of trees as you slowly move past them fill your lungs and your imagination. It was glorious!

There were several cars and we would be assigned different cars each time we worked. As I worked there longer, I got to know the personality of each car. It didn’t seem possible that could be, but it was. Each car had a distinct character, set of likes and dislikes and set a tone for the days travel.

This was hard work and could be pretty dirty at times. But the people who worked with me loved the train as much if not more than I did. The experience of being in the company of this group of people has forever touched my soul.

My time was too short riding the rails. My age ended up getting the better of me. I do not think a day passes when, even for one moment, I don’t think about my step back in time on the train.

A cargo train runs regularly near where I live and work today. When I hear the distant sound of a whistle blow… I stop for a moment. My heart beats a little faster. I start to feel the ground as it shakes from the raw power of the diesel engine. The sounds get louder and for that brief second as the train passes I am transported back. Oh how I miss you Girl!

I love the train itself, the people who also love the train and I love the idea of it. What this crazy world needs is to slow the pace in which we all live. We need to relearn how to drink in the surroundings and enjoy the beauty that is missed in our daily lives. We need to open our imaginations to a different time.

I know the history of the train system isn’t pretty. Dirty deeds were done and people used to forward the progress. That is a sad fact. But the train also saved people. Saved them from poverty and famine. It allowed people to fulfill their wanderlust and create new lives in new places. The train, literally, changed the world as it was known then.

She forever changed me as a person. Her imprint is a permanent mark on my soul. I will never forget those heady days, those tiring days and those days filled with adventure. Oh how I miss that Girl!

To Be Happy by Lois Hewitt

I want to be happy. But how? These are a few of the things that work for me.

Love…makes people happy! A good partner is one of the truest of blessings. A good friend is a way to love. A pet is a true and faithful love. Loving yourself is a great start to a life of love.

Gratitude..being thankful for what you have not all things you don’t. I used to think if I just had one more trinket I would be happy. I missed all that was in front of me.

Health…without it, life can be unbearable. A life full of vibrancy and energy is a blessed life.

Purpose…too many years were spent just trying to stay above water. Too many years of just getting by (and not very well at that). A deeper meaning to life gives it the color and texture needed to create profound happiness…the kind that lives deep in your soul.

Believing…being able to hold your personal beliefs strong through the storms in life, not wavering when the road gets rocky and staying the course of doing the right thing invoke happiness.

Creativity…being able to create something is core to being happy. I used to think only masters of a subject found their happiness in creativity. But it is the cake baked, a scarf knitted (even if it was meant to be a sweater), a chord played, a drawing, a completed puzzle, anything that adds beauty to life brings with it happiness.

I truly used to think that if I could just get one more book, one more set of dishware, a better car, one more purse…the list goes on…then I would be happy. The reality was that I was so unhappy and ungrateful. Happiness had no place to roost inside me. All the toxicness I held to close did not allow for it

As I look at my life now. I live with a lot less. Owning things can be a burden without the proper context. I used to be surrounded by things that had no meaning…they were just things. Today the things I have, a letter from a friend, a gift given for no reason, kind and sweet memories are the things that create in me joy and happiness.

Maybe if we could all slow down a bit and quit listening to what others think will bring us happiness, then we can find it too. I don’t say losing everything like we did is the answer. Although it was the swift kick I needed. But taking some time to visit with God, play a record, read a book, make a curry whatever it is that nourishes the soul will be a huge step in the progression. We must take time for that endeavour.

My old view of happiness was wrong. I thought I would just stumble on it and be happy all the rest of my days. It may seem fleeting but the sincerest of happiness never fully disappears. It may lay dormant for a time but it will resurface.

Today I’m am grateful and focused. I’m working on my happiness separate from that of advertisers. The little things that I love now have the meaning I need to flourish. Happiness is obtainable, even for someone like me. I still get depressed and anxious but I do now have a store of happiness inside of me that fuels me.

Today I hope and pray that your journey to happiness becomes more true to you and the path more clear. It is obtainable as well as sustainable. Good luck and don’t grow weary for the reward is worth every ounce of effort.

Oops by Lois Hewitt

I added the ingredients just like the recipe said. I stirred with the utmost care. I patted out the cookie dough to the right size. Placed them in the oven and walked away for just a moment. I came back to the smell of burning cookies.

I have probably made many thousands of cookies in my life, some have failed and others were great. This was a major fail. The cookie dough over ran the banks of the cookie sheet onto the floor of the Breville.

The day was going good. I was ahead on my cleaning schedule for the day. A big pot of veg soup was simmering on the stove. Then the idea hit me to make a new cookie recipe. Then it started to crumble. As the cookie dough acted and felt like molten lava (yes, I burned my hand in the rush),it went everywhere, I was amazed. Usually a situation like this one would have had me throwing something, cursing like crazy and giving up.

None of that happened. I ran my hand under cold water. I scooped the dough into the sink and sat down and had a cup of tea. Very civilized, I was.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you are aware of my many many failures. I fail a lot! But it used to always make me mad as heck. Then getting mad made me even madder.

Have I finally learned to accept those bumps in the road? Am I finally willing to embrace the fact that I am fallible? Maybe…and it’s about time.

Failures aren’t great things, but they are those learning moments that can change life’s path. I have learned so much from my failures, after the embarrassment fades of course.

I have learned in my life that if I never try something I will never fail. But I like to try things. I want to learn things. I am, honestly, not very good at most things I try but I try.

Life would be easier for me if I could just accept the fact that failure will happen. Maybe it has finally sunk in my thick head.

I will unwrap my burned finger and try my second batch of cookies. I hope they turn out. But if they dont, at least I tried.

Plans by Lois Hewitt

I’m going to write a book.

Going to teach myself guitar.

I am going to learn to knit.

I want to learn calligraphy….

Scrapbooking, painting, soap making, desktop publishing, rug making, piano, playwriting…to name a few.

I have always wanted to learn things. I usually have a long list of things to learn “when I have more time.” Books and supplies have been bought in preparation for such a time. Journals lay empty waiting for a pen to scratch that first word of my book. A guitar and amp collect dust as the time to learn has not yet arrived. Many knitting needles lay in wait.

There is so much I want to learn but yet I do not. As a younger person, I was busy trying to be a responsible adult. Constantly running from place to place dreaming of a time when I could finally do what I wanted. Filling days with music, reading and artistic endeavors of all kinds.

Here I am at the brink of 60 and still waiting for that day. Those brief times between things are now filled up with other things with the intent of doing my learning the next time I have down time. As each day comes and goes, I feel like I’ve lost an opportunity to learn something. I am tired now after a full week of work. Weekends are for cooking and catching up on cleaning. When will the days come when I can live in the pleasure of my artistic wishes?

I wait for the perfect time. That’s my thing…i have always done it. Certainly the perfect time will present itself. A time when I’m actually not tired, the apartment needs no attention, dinner is cooked, clothes are clean, garbage is out, bills are paid….Wait! That time will never come! There are ALWAYS responsibilities waiting to be done.

As every day passes, I am happy for checking off the items from my to do list. Thankful at the end of the day for all I was able to accomplish but also a little sad that I missed yet another opportunity to feel guitar strings beneath my fingers. Another day my many journals remain void of words. Opportunities lost.

When you are 20, time seems to be a non-issue because there is still so much of it. At 60, however, time is more finite.

I mourn the fact of all the money I wasted in my life, all the debt I created. I think of how badly I managed such things and I grieve. But as I get older I am starting to think of all the time I misused. Like finances, once time is wasted it is gone. New time, if you are lucky, will appear but the time gone is forever gone.

I have always had a strong need to learn new things. Yet also have a strong fear of failure. In the darkest part of my brain I often hear the words…why bother, you won’t be any good at (fill in the blank). I guess that’s why that perfect time will never appear, because I just don’t trust myself to utilize the time properly and feel my talents are fairly non-existent.

That is also why my wish lists of things to learn has always been so long. If I keep myself overwhelmed, I have an excuse for not trying. Now, I hear my inner voice admit total defeat because I’m just to darn old now.

I think maybe a should start with baby steps. Carve out some time for me to learn something new. I always forget the journey is supposed to be the fun part not the conclusion. I have made myself into a to do list person and I have forgotten about those crazy things that never make it to the list.

So what if I’m terrible at playing the guitar but I enjoy the process. What if my knitted scarf looks nothing like any kind of fashion accessory. So what! Who cares! The journey is where the precious moments live. I’ve been too afraid to go there.

I’m going to tone my list down a bit and start making time for enriching my soul. Whether I’m good or horrible, I will not care. Will my best guitar work land me a record deal? Not in this lifetime. But I can still enjoy the feel of creating something, of learning something and allowing myself to fly no matter how low.

Especially in these trying times, we need to look after our souls. Replenish strength when possible and find the joy which may be found in a chord, a word well written, a meal or whatever. It’s time, the almost perfect time, to start looking at the journey in a new way. I need this today and everyday. I hope you find your joy today!

Sound by Lois Hewitt

One of my most enduring memories is of my mom, my sister and myself dancing and singing to a Stevie Wonder song. It was the early 70s. My parents had not divorced yet. I probably wasn’t even in school at this point. Life, at this time, was still joyful and loving.

My mother had a console record player that was the focal point of the living room. She loved music and it was a love she handed down to us. My sister had CP and was confined to a wheelchair but music let her escape those restraints and allowed her to be free.

I remember vividly dancing around the room on the gold wool carpeting that covered the floor. As the music filled the room so did laughter and joy. For the all too brief moment in time, life was absolutely perfect.

Fast forward to years full of teenage angst and isolation. My truest friend was music. In the desperate times, music was my comfort. It could bring me to my knees in floods of tears. It could also fill my body with hope and resolve pushing me to be better. Music has been and still is as important to me as food and air.

There is one constant indicator in my life that let’s me know the darkness of depression is descending on me…when I stop listening to music. When the veil lifts, I run straight back to my music.

I grew up listening to rock and roll. I hated sappy songs, I loved hard driving drum beats and sludgy guitar riffs. Picture AC/DC, Zep and the like.

Mom listened to all kinds of music; Sinatra, Ella, The Beatles, it mattered not. All music had value. I learned that lesson in my soul. As I got older I branched out musically also.

The phenomenon is amazing to me that a song or even a chord from a song can trigger a memory. At almost 60 years old, when I hear “Sultans of Swing” I am transported back to 1976 driving my first car with my best friend listening to AM radio. That song reminds me of a sunny day in the fall, windows down, and no particular place to go. For that moment in time, we were free with no cares. All the garbage life drops on you ceased to exist. That feeling still fills me today.

Friday night were difficult for me in high school. For most it was football games and bonfires. Having social anxiety did not allow me to enjoy such things. As I sat alone in my house my record player was my best friend. On Friday nights, Tom Petty and The Cars kept my company. I would sing a duet or two with Stevie Nicks. I would write strange stories to Dazed and Confused. My music kept me sane.

As I got older life took over as it does. I still relied on music but it took a back seat to paying bills and attempting to be an adult. My old friend was always with me. Music was the driving force behind my drastic move to leave everything behind, start over and reinvent myself. I could not have imagined a new life without the inspiration that music gave me. Life is a highway after all.

Now that life is a bit slower, music is back in full force in my life. I’m discovering music I missed and listening to some new things. I Love all kinds of music. Now I’m learning about the people who make it, their motivations and experiences. My obsession has taken on deeper contexts and is not as superficial as it used to be.

I cannot imagine a life without words and I know a life without music would be barely a life. Music has showed me the greatest of joys, filled my heart with sadness and lifted me from the deepest of valleys. There were times I did not want to go on. I prayed to not have to wake up in the morning. I hated myself and all that entailed, but music, like medicine, would open my eyes to entirely different possibilities in life.

I thank God, with all sincerity, for blessing us mortals with the gift of music. A gift that touches our souls and opens our minds to new levels of thinking. Music has been a parent, a friend, an inspiration and a pure and simple joy. What a lovely sound music is. I’m so very blessed to have had the ability at a young age to dance and sing (very badly I might add) around the living room. Music became part of my DNA that day. Thank you Mom!

By Another Name by Lois Hewitt

We have all experienced words spoken in hushed tones, as if not saying them too loud is somehow better…

She is such a slut.

So sad that’s he’s a junkie. Or she is such a lush.

She’s just a _______ (fill in the blank)..woman, secretary, mom, housewife…what could she know?

He’s a Christian, you know how they are.

She is such a bitch!

I hear he is gay!

She lives over there, she can’t be any good.

Some of these things have been said about me, some even worse. You have heard a few yourself, I am sure.

Labels. In this enlightened age, we still rely on putting labels on people.

I have done it many times myself. The older I get the more useless labels become. I could be wrong but I think labels make us feel better about ourselves. I may be this but, at least, I’m not THAT!

Self-worth, or lack of, is the keeper of labels. When you look in the mirror and hate what you see, you desperately try to find something to feel better about…usually by way of another person. It’s so easy to pass judgement and place a label on someone. You may feel better for a moment, but it doesn’t last. Then you need another fix. Soon it is hard not to talk about someone else.

Some labels are accurate and can be a good thing. They are brilliant, a great artist, an amazing chef and the like. But even those labels do not embody the entire person. Humans have the ability to have multiple layers and intricacies. Humans are seldom entirely the make up of one label.

When you look at a person and only see one label, you are missing the big picture. Our behaviors stem from our experiences. What happens to us or by our own hands, are the things that shape us.

I’m reading a lot about addiction. I used to think one way about it. I passed judgement about it, especially since I was hiding my own addictions. I saw just an addict and that is all I saw. Now I know that there is more to the story but also there is more to the person.

Sometimes in life things happen and they forever change your course. Your brain rewires itself to help you cope. Those experiences cast a hue over everything that comes after. Many times pain or loss are involved and feeling better is all you can think about. But that does not negate the other aspects of your life.

You may be hurting but you still help a homeless person or you paint a beautiful picture or write an inspirational song or take a dramatic photograph or any number of things. That’s why labels are so damaging. They usually focus on the bad with no regard to the good.

I do not allow myself to use labels anymore. I still do but I am fighting the urge. Seeing a person’s entirety is now more important to me than what someone else thinks of me. Once I stopped caring about what “they” think of me, the less important labels became. I used to label myself and quite honestly those were the worst labels I can think of. And I used labels on others to feel better. No more.

I see it everyday in life now. People are so angry and upset. It becomes more difficult to care about others because your pain and fear are so great. As labels are placed on others so is does the fact that it is now easier to discount that person. They become a non-entity. Cast them aside. When we do, we lose a small bit of our humanity and pretty soon there is not much left.

The words and labels that are written behind the security of a computer screen are devastating. The things we say to each other, to people we have never met. It’s heartbreaking. As in an abuse situation, after a while you start to believe those words.

Labels are angry words said with the intent of causing harm. It’s easy to think they are harmless, especially the ones we speak in hushed tones. But those labels have the ability to manifest themselves into a horrible, never-ending scenarios. Telling someone that they are only one thing opens the door to making that a reality. Tell an alcoholic that’s all they will ever be and many times that is the reality that becomes truth.

I am, personally, going to try to give up placing labels on others as I heal myself from those placed on me. I, truthfully, have lost some of my humanity over the years. The words said to me hurt as did the ones I spoke. Words cannot be taken back that’s why we all need to talk less and listen more. That girl everyone calls loose has a story as does the man who who drinks everyday.

No more labels. No more judgements. No more harsh words said in anger. My self worth is no longer contingent on someone else. I do not know if this will make any impact at all in life as a whole but I’m going to try.

The Mirror by Lois Hewitt

I have started a new, actually good habit, of walking during my lunch break. I just circle the parking lot but at least it is a nice parking lot. Trees, a creek and railroad tracks with an occasional train surround the space. The sun peeks through the trees, the sound of the creek running and cute little woodland animals really make it pleasurable.

In my one ear I am listening to a specific playlist I developed just for my walks. Alice in Chains, AC/DC and the like help keep my energy up. I leave the other earbud out so I can hear the nature and cars that come up behind me.

Yesterday I was walking in the newly cool fall weather. A light rain falling on my face, which felt so good. The music pumping directly into my brain. Everything looked and felt like a Tarantino movie. You know the scenes with just the right music and life has a certain look. I even felt like time slowed and my pace looked like slow motion.

I was feeling pretty groovy and a bit hip. The breeze was blowing ever so lightly and I imagined my hair moving to the breeze. My step was brisk and well timed. It was glorious.

When my break was over I energetically walked up the stairs to my office and took a turn to the restroom to check the state of my rain touched hair. I was unprepared for the horror I saw there.

The automatic light turned on as I entered the room, a reflection appeared in the mirror. Gone was that groovy girl with the wind blowing in her hair. Replaced by an old woman with dark circles beneath tired, dull eyes. The dewy skin I envisioned was actually pale and dry and a little lifeless.

Who is that I thought? The person I was a few minutes ago seemed to have disappeared or, even worse, never existed. When I am away from the mirror for any amount of time, I seem to indulge in some fantasy and exclude reality. I think myself younger than I am. I forget my almost 60 years that are under my ever expanding belt.

I never minded growing older. I figured the older I got, the wiser I would become. That part is true. But life, no matter who you are, is difficult. Full of loss, pain, and difficulties as well as laughter and joy. All of which seem to have ended up on my face.

I love the wise aspect of aging but am not relishing the constant look of exhaustion. I don’t even mind the lines as they are proof I lived a life. But the hard reality of no longer being youthful looking hit me yesterday.

Never a beauty queen, I get that. But youth has a certain glow. Tired and youthful looks different than tired and old. Funny how our brains picture a false reality that does not match up with actual reality.

Oh that dammed mirror. Always reflecting all, even the things I do not want to see. To be fair, a mirror once saved my life. After living a reckless lifestyle for a time, I remember looking in a mirror to hollow and dead eyes. I remember thinking I can no longer look at myself. Things I was doing and the way I was living was not authentic to me. I realized in that moment I had to change. I had to get on the right path.

It took some time, a lot of regrets and some hard choices but I was finally able to look into those eyes once more. I knew then that I had changed for good. Today that is still my litmus test, will I be able to look myself in the eye?

So I guess that bathroom mirror isn’t such a bad thing. The reflection might not be exactly what I was hoping to see but at least the image is honest and authentic. No more could I ask for.