May 9, 2011

my mind's eye mania

With humiliating realization, I've discovered who I am in my mind and who I am in the mirror are very different, but necessary people.

Chatting with a friend I met in my early 20s, I came to a startling revelation. We hadn't spoken in a while, and when I informed him I have a step son attending Columbia, he said "That's wild. Is there not a part of you that still thinks of 20 year olds as part of your peer group? I still do. I am not suggesting I try to keep up with them, but that their lives are not far removed from mine."

I chuckled and nearly snorted because I couldn't agree more with his pondering. However, their lives are significantly removed from mine. In my mind's eye though, I am 25, vibrant, hip, edgy - you can't put anything past me. But in reality, I'm a bit hazy, try to retain a smidge of hipness, a bit soft cornered and, well, you still can't get anything past me! My point here is this: my mind tells me one thing, but my reality is quite different. 

For example, in my mind, a favorite friend an I are strong, lean bad-asses while throwing uppercuts, side-kicks and cross hooks in a kick boxing class at the gym. 'Au contraire, mon frere!' said the reflections in the mirror. You know that mirror, right? The one that makes you look more middle aged than you really are, the one with the awful lighting that shines brightly on all your imperfections. The mirror that must be from a fun house because it's making you look uncoordinated and awkward.  Yep, that mirror reflects two girls whose tomato red flushed faces and flailing fisted arms are screaming 'get out of this class now!'. GAH! 

Oh, and how about the window at the grocery store? What a delightful looking glass that turned out to be Saturday morning. Mind's eye had me looking put together in my good to go jeans and new favorite spring jacket. Make up-check! Hair done-check! Mind's eye had me looking and feeling calm and cucumber cool. Reality window? Crazy mom walking chicken quick, eyes darting to and fro hoping to get a first communion card and a gallon of milk before the clock struck 12! What the heck is going on? And where did those lines around my eyes come from and why are they so obvious in the sunlight and can someone throw me a bottle of eye cream?????

How reliable is my mind's eye? Poor, tortured Hamlet saw his dead father with his mind's eye. Am I actually delusional? I started asking favorite friends and neighbors if I am alone in this Mind's eye Mania and thankfully found I am not. Everyone I spoke with said the same thing: They are all a younger age, coordinated, smart and savvy in their head. And isn't that what really matters? Maybe, when reality hits us with a mirror, we don't need to reconcile the inner 25 with the outer 40 something. Maybe that's what keeps us going, keeps us trying new things and forces us to challenge ourselves. I think my mind plays back the true me, the inner me and that allows me to feel my best even when mirror-me is taking a day off. 

On the other hand, maybe that's my mind's voice talking and feeding me heaping scoops of what I need to hear.....Regardless, I think I'll take it!