Reflections on reflections: What we see in the mirror

A friend sent me a link to the photographic work of Tom Hussey. Among his series is one entitled Reflections(Please take a moment to look at the work. I respect (a) copyright, and (b) his professionalism too much to copy the pictures. Here is the link:  )

Each photograph features an older person looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of the person as they see themselves: a young efficient nurse, a physically fit firefighter, a university graduate, a stunning young artist. The photographs give us a voyeuristic view of both sides.

When my mother-in-law lived in her long-term care facility, we put pictures of her as a young, fit woman in her room. The pictures weren’t there just for her; they were there for her care staff. We wanted everyone who walked into her room to see more than a wheelchair-bound old woman, no longer able to speak. The woman in that room once played in the Canadian Open tennis championships. (Early rounds, but still.) At the age of 80, the woman in that room could outpace me on cross-country skis. When the woman in that room looked in the mirror, she saw this:


Now that I’m, ahem, getting on years, I relate to this far more than I would like. I look in a mirror and wonder, “When did those wrinkles get there?” I think, “I’m too young for such a thing to be happening to me.”

Alas, time is changing my outer self, but rest assured, when I look in a mirror, I see this . . .

Arlene editing

Editing at Maclean Hunter Cable TV – 1990

or this . . .

Dance like nobody is watching.

Dancing like nobody is watching.

or even this . . .

Conducting an early business meeting

Conducting an early business meeting

If the rest of you see a middle-aged woman, sorry about that.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on January 17, 2014, in Art, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest, Nostalgia and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. As so often happens, your subject matter intrigues me and reminds me why I chose to follow your blog in the first place. Today, right after I post this, in fact… I will find a framed, smiling photo of myself and put it next to my mirror, to remind me of not only the woman I once was, but the woman I am now… A slightly older but much more complete version.

  2. Honestly, you don’t look much different. Unlike the rest of us 😉

  3. A couple of months ago I was with a friend who is in her late 50s. The light caught her face in such a way as to highlight the laugh lines around her eyes. It also caught the pucker lines on her upper lip and the deep lines on either side of her mouth. I almost gasped. I thought I had never seen her look so beautiful.


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