When did it happen? What was the exact date? That moment the transformation took place. There was no warning. No sign. One day, my reflection was familiar to me. The next day, I stared into the eyes of a stranger.
The process was gradual. The changes subtle, seemingly imperceptible.
Where once flowed lustrous hair sun-lightened and shimmering in waves, there now grew hair that curled against my will in shades of silvers, grays and blahs. Where once supple skin, flawless and tanned wrapped itself around strong and well defined muscles, there now hung overstretched layers marked with road maps of well worn journeys, given to bouts of creasing and sagging. Where once there were bright aqua yellow blue green eyes that sparkled like some precious jewels framed by long and plentiful lashes that played coyly, now there are green eyes that sometimes speak with yellow accents and peer more warily, if not wearily, through scanty but hopeful lashes. Where once there were lips that were pure and full of desire upturned in joy and innocence, there now was a mouth that spoke in sober tones of truth with passion and wisdom, turning its corners upward less often. Where once beat a heart with a cadence of hope and steadfastness, there now lays a heart that often feels beaten. Where once there were bones that were sturdy, strong and reliable, there is now a skeleton that creaks and cracks while its tenant groans and moans. Where once there were polished toes on feet that ran with grace, skipped unflinchingly, walked in unforgiving stilettos, skated, skied, climbed, paddled and wriggled, there now are tired feet that ache and yearn, that succumb to pampering and practical footwear.
And, as I take inventory of my ever-evolving visage, I find hope. For when I peer into the eyes of that stranger before me in the mirror, I still see my dreams. They are the dreams that started taking shape in my youth. My dreams have been nurtured and encouraged. They have not withered or faded. In fact, they are stronger, more determined. They are graced with the wisdom of age. They speak of hope and passion and love. My dreams have become less cluttered, less complicated. They speak of simplicity and peace. They reassure me that the stranger in my mirror is still a reflection of who I was. Of who I have become.
Of who I am.