As an avid Facebook fan, I am always reading catchy phrases that appear on my Facebook page. Some are senseless, many are funny, a few are offensive, and every now and then a real gem pops up that I can’t ignore.
Here is one that is in the last category: “Inside every older lady is a younger lady wondering what the hell happened.” This quote was attributed to Cora Harvey Armstrong. Never having heard of her, I did a quick Google search to discover that she is a gospel singer, and a pretty-well known one, at that – in Virginia. I listened online to a few of her songs, and was mightily impressed. Not only does she have a powerful voice, but I felt that this was one more of the several signs I’ve received lately that I need to look a little more closely at the state where I spent 14 years of my life, as I consider my future and where I want to land when I retire.
Getting back to the quote, I could have said the same thing as Cora. But she beat me to it! As I think back over my life, especially at times when I take the time to gaze at my image in the mirror, I could shout out these same words to the woman staring back at me. Inside I feel very young, but when I examine my snow-white hair, bemoan the puffiness under my eyes, trace the smile lines and tear tracks now adorning my face, I, too, wonder, what the hell happened! Seeing my image in the mirror – and lord knows, I don’t ever want to have a full-length mirror in my home ever again – causes me to reflect, both literally and figuratively, on where I’ve been and the roads I’ve traveled these 66 years of my life.
Life has truly been a roller coaster ride for me, with its ups and downs, complete with painfully slow ascents, and heart-stopping steep and frightening plunges. Thankfully, there have also been relatively serene times of travel along level tracks allowing me to catch my breath, enjoy the view, and prepare for the next big adventure. Roller coasters are no doubt fun, but they do cause one to think, once again, “what the hell just happened?”
I am not complaining. My life, as crazy as it seems to me, is probably a very ordinary one compared to many others’ lives. But this is the one that I have been given, and the one I must navigate. I hope that I will always feel like a young person inside, no matter what the mirror tells me.
I also hope I will always be amazed when I look at myself in the mirror, watching my image as I grow older and older. And I want that young woman to always shout back at me, “what the hell happened?”
It’s a good question.