“When I look in the mirror, I . . .”
. . . can’t believe the woman I’ve become. Where have the years gone? When did those little crow’s feet form in the corners of my eyes? When did I become so shapeless? Who am I now?
When you’re young older people tell you to enjoy life, to live every moment, that if you blink you might miss it. Of course when you’re young time stretches out before you. Friendships and relationships come and go in a matter of weeks and months, not years and decades.
Sometimes I feel like I blinked and missed it. Sometimes I feel like I’ve forgotten most of what happened. I wish now that I could remember every day, all of the hours, each of the minutes. Instead I’m left with a bunch of highs and lows …
- the day the boy I liked in grade one noticed me and told me he thought I looked nice
- the time my class volunteered me up to the teacher as the Fat Lady in our sixth grade circus
- the day my grandfather dropped off my first puppy, Muffin
- the day I watched Muffin suffer in pain in the middle of the road after being struck by a car
- when the grade 11 class voted me in as yearbook editor for my graduation year
- when my first serious boyfriend broke up with me while his new girlfriend waited in his car in my driveway
- the day I got accepted into Ryerson
- the day I was asked to leave Ryerson for poor academic standing
- the day I got re-admitted to Ryerson
- the day I left Toronto for good
- births, baptisms, weddings, funerals, birthdays, jobs, events …
I’m left with a series of memories that I can relive in my mind … decades of living … reduced to hours of highs and lows and forgotten mediocrity.
Sometimes I feel like I didn’t do enough. I should have, could have done more, behaved differently, achieved more as a younger person. I was never concerned about the future, about having a home to call my own, about building my own family, about ensuring my security as I grew older. I just lived. If the opportunity came my way I went with it, no matter if I was scared, no matter where it took me, I just went and lived it …
And you know, I don’t really have any regrets about doing that because I like the way I’ve learned and grown from those experiences, I like the person I’ve become, and if I didn’t do it the way I did it I might not be the person I am today, so I can’t regret. But I can wonder. There were other paths, other roads not taken … who would I be now if I had ever veered off and took one of those other ways?
Would I have more financial security? Would I have a house? Children? A husband? A slew of ex-husbands? Would I live in the same province? City? Country? Would I drive a car? Would I drive at all? Would I be skinnier? Healthier? Would my hair be less grey? Would I still have the crow’s feet?
Or would I be dead already? Killed decades ago?
These are things I can wonder about but I can never know. Time passes. Slowly when we’re young, speeding up faster and faster the older we become. And I guess that’s the only thing I know for sure when I look at myself in the mirror.