Looking in the Funhouse Mirror

Mommy and me, mid-80s

Have you ever noticed how gym mirrors tend to distort, like funhouse mirrors? If you are short and solidly built like me, you don’t find much fun in that kind of mirrors – for some reason they never make you look taller and slimmer than you really are.

My personal solution to those mirrors has been to avoid looking in them whenever possible. Since many of the exercises I do require concentration, I just close my eyes and focus on what I’m doing. But occasionally, a mirror will catch me by surprise.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’ve just come out of a month of holidays, so the gym mirrors are even unkinder to me than usual. I’ve really been trying to avoid them, but the other day I just happened to look up, and I saw my mother in the mirror.

My mother has been gone for almost fifteen years now – she passed away at the age of 69, of the complications of diabetes. My children were very young, my eldest barely remembers her but the other two really draw a blank where she is concerned. Such a tragedy in my eyes, and one that I very much want to avoid for myself. I will probably be quite old by the time I become a grandparent, and I am determined to be as youthful and healthy as I possibly can be when that blessed time arrives.

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult onset diabetes – now too many children are being diagnosed with it as well. While genetics do play a part, healthy nutrition and maintaining a reasonable body weight seem to be major factors in avoiding it, even when it runs in your family, as it obviously does in mine.

My mother was a typical woman of her generation – taking care of everyone except herself. By the time she did start paying attention, her body had already betrayed her, and in the end, she lost the time with those of us who loved her, and with the little ones who never got to know her.

Maybe instead of avoiding those mirrors, I need to take them as a warning and a guide – as a reminder of the preventable illness that took my mother, and that will take me if I don’t stop it in its tracks.

When I find myself tempted into unhealthy behaviours, the mirror is there to remind me. Not because of fear, but because of all the wonderful things I want to live to experience.

What warnings do you need to heed in your life?

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