My parents moved into their current home in 1980. As the oldest I was given first choice to select my bedroom, and I picked the biggest, a sunny 17’ x 17’ room with three windows. But the real bonus was the two enormous walk-in closets. Who knew that decision would eventually shape my career.
Inside those closets I honed my organizing skills. Hours were spent removing the contents and putting them back, searching for the perfect configuration. Do sweaters take up less room if they’re rolled up like gym towels? Should jeans be folded in half or in threes? I even built my own shoe cubby from scrap wood in the garage. I’m not sure I ever achieved perfection, yet I don’t think it was perfection I was seeking. I just enjoyed the challenge. I still do.
Nevertheless, with all the changes the closet’s contents have seen over the decades: from tomboy to preppy to girlie to woman, there has remained one constant, one item I still use even today when I walk inside.
There’s nothing special about this mirror. It’s a run of the mill mirror that’s not even attached to the wall, but just leans against it. However it has shown me who I was at every stage of my life. Beginning as a lithe 10 year old who only wore alligator shirts and Levis cords, through awkward adolescence, puberty, the Freshman Fifteen, adulthood and, even today (gulp!) middle age.
But it is not just the physical stages this mirror has seen. It helped prepare me for many a first day of school. It has seen sunburns and chicken pox. It was there when I headed off to college, and it knows my darkest secrets, like where the goods are stored. It helped me get ready for weddings, bar mitzvahs and proms, and watched me perfect my breakdancing moves. The mirror even comforted me the time I sat huddled inside, door closed, soothing a broken heart. It’s been my biggest alley as well as foe, when things fit or were too tight.
Over the years, the reflection has changed immensely, yet I still see that 10-year-old girl, looking back, eyes full of wonder, excited about her future.