The Problem with Mirrors

I can still hear the clack of my mother’s heels on the hardwood floor outside my room.  “Barclay, I need you to come to the bathroom mirror.”

She clacks back to her room. I trudge behind her, a mature adult reverted to age 12.  The bathroom lighting will be unforgiving and her mirror more so.  Soon we’re facing that mirror, my mother, all 5’ 11” of her, behind me, staring.   “Which side of the bed do you sleep on, dear?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer.

“It appears you sleep on your right side.  Do you see this wrinkle over here?   When we compare it to the left side, it’s more pronounced.”

She pauses to let this observation, apparently evident to all, sink in.

I cringe thinking about how I rest my face in one hand while sleeping, thereby scrunching this poor right side into its present state.

“You really should be sleeping on your back, as I do.  Have you tried that?”

How to respond?  She will proceed to my forehead if I don’t take the offensive.  It’s a forbidden topic, but under bathroom lights, all’s fair.

“I wish there was something I could do.”  Pause.  “Mom, did you ever have plastic surgery?”

At the time, my mother was a smooth faced octogenarian with model cheekbones, arched eyebrows, and a sculpted nose.  

“I once had a few spots removed …and while I was there, well, they may have done some treatments.”

I had secured an admission. Victory?  Hardly.  Short of undergoing “treatments” of my own, this overly ambitious wrinkle would only deepen along with its forehead counterparts.

The really sad part is that upon returning home I did try sleeping on my back.  Unfortunately, this caused a nasal situation and a thunderous noise, jarring me awake at 2AM, certain an intruder was pounding at the door.

Of course I blamed Codie, our golden retriever, for this unladylike noise.   My husband only chuckled – a bit meanly I thought.

I hated my mother at that moment.


So I am not a fan of mirrors.  

Have you noticed they love surprising you with something NEW that you could swear wasn’t there the night before?   A line, a blotch, a vein.  (Let’s pause in  honor  of whoever invented concealer – which I will soon be applying with a putty knife.)

My advice is to avoid mirrors unless you just spread lipstick on your teeth. 

And beware of “treatments” that have the power to seduce your wallet and your retirement joy. 

Eventually my mother’s smile looked downright scary.


Today’s Takeaway –

  • There’s a saying, The gods we worship write their names on our faces.  Having a positive outlook, even smiling more, goes a long way in promoting attractiveness.
  • Find compassionate mirrors (it’s all about the lighting); but know that the state of your heart takes precedence.  Along with gobs of concealer!


P.S. I hate to admit it….but my mother was right.  Sleeping on your side DOES cause wrinkles.  And sleeping on your back IS better.  But there is hope for us snorers.  According to this 2012 article in the Huffington Post — we should purchase a “beauty sleep pillow” or a satin pillowcase.  Just be sure your dog is nearby to take the blame for any emissions during this side-to-back process!


Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy


What is an identity anyway? Who am I if I no longer have a job? The reminder comes when I (Joy) am  asked for my work phone number or business email address.  Well, I don’t have those anymore.  Does that mean I am unimportant because I just have my one cell phone, my one Gmail account?

If I am no longer referred to as Morgan or Dana’s mom, have I lost that identity too?

I was amused to be handed a business card, a calling card more aptly put, here in Mexico.  The community I live in during the winter months is comprised largely of expats who are retired.  The card I was handed said in big letters, “Retired” and the individual’s names as well as phone number and email.  They had given themselves a new identity! I smiled.  Some people embrace this state, others take a little longer to figure out who they now are or who they want to be.

The Oxford dictionary defines the word identity as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is, a close similarity or affinity, a transformation that leaves an object unchanged.”

I am beginning to realize that we have many identities in life and that they change over time.  In the same way as your relationship with your children changes and your husband, your friends.  Relationships can grow, become deeper, more meaningful, more spiritual.  So it seems to me that identities can too.  I can pick the one I want for the first time.  It will not be dictated to me by my role within a  corporate environment, a neighborhood or community, a church or synagogue, a book club, a volunteer group, (you get the picture) I will be the me I didn’t have time for all those many years, the me who goes to yoga three times a week, who bakes just for the hell of it, the texter to friends I haven’t been in touch with.

Stay tuned to our escapades, of which there will be many. I am lucky to be making this trip in good company with friends who get me and are there to listen when I’m down.

Look out world, new identity in the making!

Today’s Takeaway…

.Its okay to recreate oneself and be someone you’ve never been before.  You are not beholden to anyone for approval, except you.

. The old you will always be there, that’s what memories are for.  Pack it away and take it out on special occasions, admire it, smile at it, and then understand it’s time has passed.  Like the wedding gown I put in plastic and sealed for all time, my old identity is sealed for a rainy day.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy