Wanna see yourself as others see you?

O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us (Burns, a while ago)

No really, I know how. What you do is this.

You look into a mirror – any mirror – and then you look away, after not more than one second. What you have just seen is YOU. Any longer, and your mind starts to transform the You that’s in the mirror to the You that you’d like to see in the mirror, or that you’re worried you might see in the mirror, or that your mother said SHE saw in the mirror, when you were a kid.  So no more than one second, alright?


This rule kinda applies to life. For instance, how often have you heard someone say ‘oh well, I guess I’ll make the best of it then!’. Meaning, this thing looks like shit, but after some mental work, I’m sure it’ll start to look like it’s at least put some foundation on.’  I was watching a TV show the other day in which someone interviewed a severely disabled person and asked them if they would’ve avoided their disability, if they could. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘because my disability has made my life so much richer!’. You gotta love people, for being able to so resolutely turn any sow’s ear into a pearl necklace.

Or take ageing. Who really wants to be old? Experienced, yes. Wise, sure. But old..?  Think arthritis, incontinence, wrinkles.  And yet, those of us who don’t live in LA or watch the shopping channel manage to (mostly successfully) convince ourselves that there’s something good about it, something necessary. That’s because there IS something necessary – you actually can’t avoid growing old. Yet. All you can do is pretend you like it.


Or take ‘suffering’. When we suffer we often comfort ourselves by saying ‘well, it had meaning. It taught me something.’ Which it did. You can’t live without learning, and the harder life is, the more you learn.  But if you could have avoided it, of course you would have. Who wouldn’t choose a life with all the yucky bits picked out and put on the side of the plate?  Meaning, schmeening!

That’s the thing about people. If you follow the one second rule, and look at life for what it is, first thing in the morning, you’ll see a gorgeous, pointless, mess.  Gaze any longer and what you’re seeing isn’t life, it’s art.

Whaddya reckon.  What’s your technique for making life look presentable?  Does the one second rule work for you?


  1. Rose, I’m a realist…. I don’t like my body getting older; it doesn’t work as well. I can’t run anymore (not a jog and not for long; it’s more like a fast walk and a hobble). I don’t bounce anymore when I do a ‘samba’; I look at my face (even for a long time) and the wrinkles don’t disappear; my girth gets bigger each year; my teeth more yellow (geeezzz). In general Rose; I’m aging. What do I think about this? It stinks! It stinks and I can’t do any damn thing about it; except accept it, which I do, though not graciously…. Gawd, it’s awful Rose.
    Yes, I’m wiser. Yes, I’m more tolerant, allowing, accepting, patient; on and on with that stuff. But, I’m older Rose…. Nothin’ I can do about that; and it’s gonna continue… unless I die; until I die. Geez…..!

    1. What you’ve gotta do, is meditate. That is, think nice thoughts about it all until you see that yellow teeth are really no more to be feared than lawn daisies! I know, it is awful, isn’t it! I can’t think of a single thing I like about it (other than the wisdom – but couldn’t we have got that without the post-menopausal spread?).


  2. My tecnique is this: I take the hand I’ve been dealt and I run with it. If I can’t make it into something beautiful then I can at leas make it into something useful and informative for others.

  3. I love the word denial. I was thinking about what your lovely young reader Carrie said about not “thinking about [age]”.

    Oh, God, it’s unavoidable when you GET old. Your body grows stuff, and i don’t mean unwanted hair in “new” places, but cancerous stuff (usually benign) praying 😉 … arthritis, tendentious, broken bones … stuff just wears out, and you can’t do the same stuff. I don’t like that.

    I stay in shape, eat right, exercise, and stuff is still falling apart (down) … wrinkles … AND folks, your loved ones start dropping dead. Not to be crass, but Harper died (it will be one year ago last November 23) … a day before Thanksgiving. Me ma died on March 13, her brother died (my uncle) 2 months later, and my first love died from a nasty, nasty cancer on Oct. 30 at the age of 51!

    I MIND!

    So what do i do … go on! I don’t know what else to do!

    I’m smarter (always been smart) … probably more accepting (have to be … i’m an old hound now … no one likes, or wants to be a monster at 52).

    I think i’m done with menopause. I must have gone through it for 20 years. Well, how would i have noticed while i was knee deep in vomit (Rose you know that story).

    So, all i know is: Here I am, I’m actually better off than i’ve been for hundreds of years … so i’m leaning on people i love and who love me to help me DENY all this shit.


    1. Yes, denial seems like a pretty good idea. I’ve always thought so. My ex wrote a piece some months ago in which every second sentence, referring to me, was ‘she said dreamily’ or dozily, or whatever – he’d definitely agree that denial’s my strong point. Hey, it’s served us well this far! I guess there’s looking at life square on, and recognising things, and then there’s looking away, afterwards, and dressing it all up a little so you can stand it better?


  4. I try to be grateful for what I do have, easier said than done, but I do. I have worked hard to get into decent shape and I am proud of that. So when I am feeling down about the age thing I try to think about the things I can and still do. That being said I do fight the good fight, I can’t slather another thing on in the morning or I am going to have to start getting up earlier.

  5. Getting older isn’t easy, it’s inevitable. I’ve been fighting turning 50 since I was 45. I’m 52 in a couple of months and still not comfortable with this whole idea of aging. I’m not keen on it at all. For one, I look forward to being post menopausal with or without the spread. I’ve been peri-menopausal for 12 years and can’t wait for the day someone asks me the date of my last period and I won’t remember.

    1. I like being post-menopausal. Having no periods is great. On the other hand, having to fight the gut and the facial hair is not so good. If I could zoom back (in looks) to when I was 30, that’d be fine with me. Stuff the ‘wrinkles just show you’ve lived’ thing.


  6. I really liked your post. The look in the mirror for just a second is a good idea. Since I just turned 44 last week, this hit home with me. I breezed through the big 4-0 with an I don’t care attitude, but for some reason turning 44 scared and depressed me. I think because I kept staring in the mirror and seeing the things I didn’t like and I’m ususally not that type of a critical person. I honestly hope just to “feel” young and stay young at heart if I can!

    1. I remember 44…I was young and beautiful then! I think one goes through phases of not liking what one sees – and then you get used to it. And then..you change again, and have to adjust again, and so on. I don’t think my mum ever liked her ‘old’ face very much.


  7. I think you know my technique, Rose… http://www.VodkaWasMyMuse etc… !

    That lady in the bath is not UNattractive, you know. It’s a good photo. Just see the wrinkles at her neckline, you sense she is still her young self, just her body is sagging – it’s just the body….

    But I’ve seen old ladies bent over, men who take 10 minutes to walk a step, etc, and I wonder what will happen with me. I’ve seen a grey hair. It’s happening slowly, will it be gracefully? It’s just unavoidable. It’s just surface, but… yeah. I don’t know. No, I don’t appreciate it. But here it comes.

    1. No no, not at all. Quite attractive. But ageing, I guess. You’re right, it’s the painful/inconvenient aspects, rather than just the wrinkling, that are the real bother about gettin’ old. Well pointed out!


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