Mirror mirror…

Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in aging | 7 comments


[Girl before a mirror. Pablo Picasso. Boisgeloup, March 1932]

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Or perhaps a better question is ‘who?’

I have noticed something odd, something that is sending me into a bit of a tizzy.

I feel older. And the reflection I see in the mirror is not something that I like very much.

It’s a bit of a shock, as I’ve always managed to keep the aging bug at bay. I’ve spent years exercising daily, eating right and engaging in strategies that are supposed to boost physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

Yet, something is missing.  A piece of me.

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about aging and the importance of seeing yourself from the inside out. I’ve discussed what it is like to become invisible in the workplace, how our bodies are redefining themselves, often without our help or intervention, and how old habits are starting to die hard, really hard. I’ve tried to empower you to take charge and accept, but not without going down with a fight against the more negative aspects of the aging process. I wonder where I’ve lost myself within this equation.

Anais Nin is quoted as writing that we don’t see things are they are, we see things are we are. But what happens when what we are, what we’ve become, is skewed by our changing vision? How do we navigate that path without the self-criticism and negative self talk, you know, that voices that we use to tell ourselves that we look old, that our face is sagging and the lines are growing deeper, that the cellulite is more defined, that our midsection appears to have added a bit of extra cushion? When is the appropriate time to rewind and erase the tape and create a new voice?

That time, at least for me, is now.

I apologize for the personal nature of this post, the rambling self indulgence; it’s likely that you are wondering what the heck I am talking about and why, after all, this blog is about evidence and information and data. But I realized this past weekend that the me in ‘menopause’ has somehow gotten lost in the Flashfree shuffle. And that when I actually take stock, I feel a bit long in the tooth.

I’d like to hear from you, dear sisters, about your favourite strategies for overcoming self doubt, for changing the mirror image, for turning off the voices and for freeing your body, mind and soul from the aging bug.

This week, I am turning myself over to you. And I want to hear from you.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror?






  1. 4-15-2013

    I see an older, more tired version of me in the mirror, I admit. I don’t love it. But when I see photos of me in action, with friends and family, laughing and living, I’m less critical and appreciate that my life is deeper and better than ever before.

  2. 4-15-2013

    Ok, I have thought about this all day. First, everyone has a crisis of confidence on occasion. EVERYONE. Aging is a privilege, anyone who has lost someone young in their life will attest to that every single day. But we, women especially, fall off the wagon of perspective that we live by most days. We start to long for the youth that is jammed down our throats. And it starts early. At 30 we wish to be 20. At 40… 30. At 50… silly cycle. You, my friend, are magnificent. And no, this is not the answer you were fishing for. But you are. Line up 50 women at 50 and take a look at how fit you are physically and savvy you are professionally. Do I not have the same thoughts?… sure I do. Hell, my profile pic is from my kid’s bar mitzvah and he is turning 21 ; ) No, I can never find one that I like. If not age, then it’s weight, if not that then it is hair or whatever the security du jour might be. Bottom line… 
    What Wendy said! 
    Now cut the crap and go be the confident, amazing, world by the balls Liz we all know and love. (oh and get a mani, pedi and a massage… it’ll make you feel better)

    • 4-15-2013

      I agree Amy, aging is a privilege. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be so painful at times. Appreciate the compliment but truly was not fishing. Just trying to find the reality in the reality. Hugz.

  3. 4-16-2013

    I hear that many of you are having difficulty with the comment section on this blog. While I work to get it fixed, I wanted to share some thoughts from my friend mamie , who wrote me this morning:
    This issue of Getting Old is rather suddenly a daily conversation for me, too. The invisibility of being a gray-haired lady, the aches and pains, the ever-so-slight start of jowls. It’s made harder by the fact that my sister is both wealthy and deeply committed to her own beauty, and so has the means and motivation to keep getting “a little work done”. By really good surgeons. And, annoyingly, she looks great. Her pores are small, her wrinkles gone; she has the lithe waist of a 20-year-old. Of the 20-year-old I used to be and am so not. So I am living the Dorian Gray life as I gray, only I am the portrait and she Dorian. While Sue fights aging like it’s an invader, using her body as an experiment in etermal youth, I am running the control. It’s hard. It’s hard to stand next to her and look no longer 3 years older (which I am) but 10.  Still, in 20 years–a friend pointed out recently–‘ll look back on my pictures from today and think, “But you looked so YOUNG! What was wrong with THAT?”.  The looks issue is of course on top of other physical indignities–of having to buy Depends to get through the flu, because every cough (of the hundreds) squeezes a little pee out of me. Of back twinges and achey joints and gaining weight by looking at food–when in my youth I couldn’t gain weight on a dare–or a diet of straight cashews and cream.  Still. As I settle into this new phase, I do find comforts. After a lifetime of avoiding eye contact with men–it was just too dangerous when I was young and beautiful–I can now look them square in the eye, smile big, and have a conversation where there is no subtext, no drumbeat of how-can-I-get-you-in-my-bed. And, as the hormones burn off, so does most of the stupid drama of my life. The moods swing, but not like a four-story pendulum. I am more aware of the fragility of others–of all humans–and feel less absorbed by my own “needs” (usually, more accurately, known as “wants”), which allows for more richness of relationships. I make friends all the time, everywhere; it’s easy and fun. This was not always the case. I do what I can for my body. After years of throwing myself into training and judging myself harshly if I weren’t rigorous enough–and getting hurt, having to stop and heal, berating myself, blah blah blah–I’ve started with a 10-minute-a-day training series that is just right. I get a workout, I am seeing results, but I’m not in pain and not exhausted. And when I say “results”–some of the softness is gone, some of the weight has taken a vacation, I am sleeping well, and when I walk I move lightly, swinging painlessly from the hip. These things were not true a year ago. I brush. I floss. I get nice haircuts.  I also got shots in my back last week, because there are arthritic changes and the pain was making me really creaky and sad. And I’m grateful to modern medicine for the miraculous difference, though I also know that the cortisone is at one level toxic, and that there are always consequences. Like so much else in life, it’s a question of acceptance. The more I accept age, embrace it’s unique gifts, and simply address the issues that arise–like pain–the better I do with it. The more I fight, and wish things were otherwise, the more it hurts.  And, once in a while, life throws you a bone. I went dancing with a girlfriend last week and got totally hit on by the cutest gent in the joint. Who is 10 years younger. And I am thoroughly enjoying that too, while I can. Thanks for asking, Liz.

  4. 4-17-2013

    I think that the better a woman’s self confidence is and the less it’s tied to her looks early in life, the easier it is to weather getting older and seeing herself change in the mirror. I know for me, my self esteem was crappy early in life (and still isn’t so great) and was very closely tied to my looks, and I’ve fought hard to fix both of those, knowing that it will only become more difficult the older I get. I think that there’s no escaping looking in the mirror and, as time goes by, mourning what’s gone and what we can never get back. Yes, aging is a privilege and there’s much, much more to life than looks, but I think that any woman or person who says they can look in the mirror with each passing decade and not wish she or he could freeze time and prevent any more changes either has flawless self esteem or is lying. Who do I see when I look in the mirror? Someone who has learned that she’s more than just about what she sees in the mirror….but who definitely still puts too much stock into that image, even as it does change over time.

  5. 4-20-2013

    Someone very wise when I was in my 30’s (I am now 49) told me that menopause was a time to finish what was started.  Now that I am aging quite visibly and having moved through life; bearing children; being married (brink of divorce sometimes); change of careers and paths several times; seeing my body and face age; becoming wiser all the while – I quite agree with her now.  It is a kind of metamorphis in its own right…much like going through puberty; adolescence; falling in love; learning independence; learning the marriage rythym; becoming a mother; becoming a career minded person – growing old as a woman holds many opportunities for us to grow once more and be new again.   I feel it now more than ever – although the change is never comfortable – it is clear to me the older I become that “being comfortable” is not why we were put on this earth (whether you believe in God or not).  The chances of us being here – firstly – are nothing short of amazing.  I’ve had to say to myself more than once during my married years, “the reasons I was given a chance to be on this earth during this time IS NOT to make my marriage work.”  My marriage has worked so far – but probably because I’ve had the wherewithall to speak up and speak my truth in moments of feeling out of my skin.  I’m just saying – life is more than settling in and being comfortable – we must step out; take risks; keep believing in who we are – and risk feeling a bit uncomfortable to feel more like ourselves and know ourselves and what we are capable of – in this life….

    • 4-20-2013

      @dctownsley Love this….we must step out, take risks, keep believing in who we are and risk feeling a bit uncomfortable to feel more like ourselves. Amen!

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