The True Mirror
I was listening to a Ted Talk the other day and the woman was describing what is known as a “real” mirror that someone in New York invented. “The “True Mirror” is a non-reversing mirror which uses two mirrors instead of just one. You can easily make your own non-reversing mirror if you were to place two mirrors at 90 degree angles from each other, but then you have an annoying line right down the middle. Within its cabinet resides two crystal-clear, “front surface” mirrors joined perfectly at 90 degrees using special materials and bonding techniques that eliminate that line optically. The image you see of yourself is both actual size and in focus. The seam is invisible in the center, so you can look eye-to-eye to yourself just as in “real life.”
She explained that when she looked in the true mirror she noticed one side of her mouth was higher than the other and a few other imperfections as well. We like to use the phrase “Take a good long look in the mirror” when we are talking about looking within ourselves and accepting who we are…but what if the mirror is lying? What if our eyes have chosen not to see some of the parts that aren’t so pretty?
Of course now I am talking metaphorically about how we view ourselves. I’d like to think that I know myself pretty well, strengths and weaknesses alike. But the Ted Talk made me wonder What parts of myself am I missing? What areas of my personality am I glancing over so I don’t have to see them? What areas am I strong in that maybe I don’t give myself enough credit for?
Continual improvement is something that I thrive on. When I feel I have been stagnant too long I get anxious, discontent and feel like I am wasting my life. How can I squeeze the most out of every minute of everyday? There are so many lessons, so much information, so many skills just waiting for you to take advantage of them and learn them! There is never an excuse to not be improving, there is simply too much time in the day for that and too many resources.
Just a few weeks ago I started following five different online podcasts about learning Spanish. Rather than listen to music the whole hour ride to practice I decided to listen to the podcasts. Why spend hours watching tv, movies, YouTube videos, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram when you can use those hours to improve yourself? I know, I know…easier said than done. It’s so much nicer to just turn our brain off and let other sources do the thinking for us.
“Most of us don’t take up nearly as much space as the universe intended for us.”
– Caroline McHugh
When I think about the future though it terrifies me to think that as an 80-year-old (when suddenly I am counting the years I have left) I will look back on all my previous years and mourn the time I lost to useless media. When I’m 80 I’m not going to thank myself for finishing the entire FRIENDS series five times or for wasting days of my life surfing Facebook. I will, however, thank myself for all those extra hours I spent studying Spanish, for reading all the books I hope to finish, for taking 30 minutes to call my mom rather than 30 minutes to edit and post a picture to Instagram.
I want my future self to be proud of my current self. When I’m getting to the end of my designated time on earth I want to be able to scan over the years and be at peace knowing that I gave my all and that I couldn’t have given more. I played the game of life with passion and intensity, with a fire to be the absolute best I could be. There’s no true retirement in my mind. I want to continue working, learning, improving myself and those around me until the day I die. And I know that all of you will help hold me to that…
For those interested, below is the video of the TedTalk!