Tag Archive: goals


I have a dysfunctional relationship with the news, I admit it. There have been times in my life when I have refrained  from watching, reading and even talking about breaking news stories. The 80s, for instance, especially when Ronald Reagan was president, was a rough time…I pretty much was newsless for that entire decade. Not that I was unaware of the world at large. It is kind of astonishing how much you pick up by  purely by osmosis. You know, people talking about the latest hot TV show, or going on about what’s happening on a reality series. Without seeing even one episode I knew all about American Idol, Jersey Shore, Survivor, etc. (In the interests of full disclosure, I did have one aberrant season of American Idol fever where I…sigh…yes I voted, repeatedly.)

Now I am torn between the complex (and twisted) story unfolding at Penn State, the GOP candidate follies, holding my breath to see whether the Phillies trade     away one of my long list of favorite players or bagging the whole thing and removing myself from the stress of keeping plugged in. Because for me at least it is a stress. I get riled up, frustrated with politics, especially politics. And to what end? Does it help me to stay this current when I end up getting royally pissed off at what is happening in government, or not happening as the case may be? It is a question I have tusseled with over the years. Especially when it seems that I am railing at thin air.

This brings me all back to what I can do to counteract the cumulative toxicity of 24 hour news cycles. The first thing that comes to mind is to start putting into practice anti-stress strategies. Just like New Year’s Resolutions (which I don’t actually subscribe to) I have cycled this path before…I don’t seem to be very good at continuing healthy practices beyond a year or so. Sometimes much, much less. Things I know are good for me seem to have some set expiration date once I make up my mind and commit to them. Yoga, TaiChi, meditation are all tremendously helpful in stopping the noxious rehashing of stress thoughts through my brain. I know this, I have felt their positive impact on my life. Yet what do I do? I start fading away, making excuses and drifting off course.

I hear about people who have made tremendous changes in their lives and have stayed committed to whatever that new regimen is. I am caught between envy and admiration. I know what it takes. A deep commitment to a goal. I wonder if my lack of self-worth plays a role in all this. I too have goals for where I would like to be, who I would like to be. But they seem removed, unattainable. Just over the next hill. On the other side of a thick glass wall.

How do I get from here to there?

I realized a while back just how drawn I am to reflections…how often I photograph images caught by some mirrored  surface and tossed back into the universe. Images that are transformed in some way, reversed, distorted, turned upside down. This past weekend I  was hanging over the side of a bridge taking the photo on the right, when a woman on her way to work at a nearby  museum stopped  to watch me. “What do you see that I don’t,” she asked. “I pass this way all the time.” I talked about the cool  reflections I was  seeing in the canal and trying to capture with my camera. She looked down into the water. What did she see there? Did she see anything like what had caught my attention?

Interesting how two people can look at the same object and see such different aspects. Is that difference linked to personal experiences and knowledge? Does what we carry in our memory banks serve as a filter, letting us see only what we want or expect to see? I remember years ago reading about a man who had a pioneering operation that gave him back the eyesight he had lost as a child. When he opened his eyes after the procedure all he could see was a vast canvas of colors. He was unable to make sense of what he was looking at because he lacked the context. It took a while for him to make the necessary mental adjustment.

When I look into a mirror I see the external facade of a 55-year-old woman, but at the same time I see the 16-year-old me, the 20-year-old, the 30-year-old… all the way up to current day. So many layers, flowing interchangeably from one moment to the next. Similar yet different. I recognize each one when it bumps and jostles its way to the front of the line in response to different situations.

In general I feel much like I did when I was in my late teens/early twenties. Chronological age is an abstraction to me. At the same time, I get startled when I think how much of  my life has flown by. There are things I can no longer do. My energy level dips around 11 each night and I find myself nodding off as I read. I can no longer count on that last-minute critical surge of energy to get me through. I need to plan my time more efficiently, taking advantage of the times I feel the ‘switch is on.’

I still have dreams, powerful ones that seem undiminished by time. In fact they seem more urgent now, when I feel time pressing in on me. I continue to be curious about pretty much everything under the sun. There is so much I don’t know. When I was younger I found that concept overwhelming. All the books I hadn’t read, the places I hadn’t been. Now I find it exciting that there is so much still to learn.

I look at my reflection and see what others must see. Sometimes their perceptions override my own. Through insecurity and  neediness I look to others at times for definition, validation. Yet I am the only one who knows my entire history, to see the full multifaceted person I am. The physical image before me pales to all that lies beneath the surface. The mirror shows just one small piece of the whole. I need to remember that.