I distinctly remember as a young child, looking in the mirror and wondering how my face would change as I aged. Each year of grade school would go by, and I would take my yearly picture to put in the school bus picture frame with each grade labeled underneath a small photo. It hung in the hallway of my parent’s house, and sometimes I used to just stand there and study myself. I thought how interesting it was to watch myself change and grow. Now, finally, I’m here, in the place I wondered about as a child, experiencing everything I had always questioned.
I’m twenty-four years old now, married and moved out, and these days I stand naked in front of the bathroom mirror and study myself. Not necessarily to size myself up, but as an observer of this vessel I inhabit. I am not my body, nor my brain, just simply, a consciousness existing in this beautiful, frightening reality. It scares me. The older I get, the more questions I have. Not only about aging, but about everything.
I visited my ninety-four-year-old great-grandmother earlier this year. I asked her if she had ever thought about how long she would live.
“I never really thought about it before,” she said with an innocent smile.
This irked me slightly. I had been expecting some kind of new spiritual awareness or answer to living. But no, she is just a sweet, very old lady enjoying her life like she has every day. I was almost envious of her answer, because my brain will not stop analyzing the aspect of being an old lady and dying. I didn’t ask her the real question, the one I had never asked any very old person.
“What is it like knowing that you could die at any time?”
This is the most terrifying question. The one I can’t say out loud. Many people tell me to find religion. Well, I believe in God and in an afterlife but the point is, no matter how many times you read the bible or go to church; the whole entire thing is still unknown to you. No one actually knows anything, because it is impossible to go to God or Heaven. People fake not being afraid of death, in my opinion anyway.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that life is a wild ride. You go from the innocent child, just wondering innocent things and looking forward to the future, to the adult you imagined in the future, only to find a plethora of more complex questions and wonders, and trying to figure out how to be satisfied with never actually knowing. I’m on a quest for answers about the world around me, and astonishingly enough, the more I find out, the more I can’t believe that I’m even here. And to think, it all started with my reflection.