Objects may appear closer

by Lorin Michel Friday, July 19, 2013 12:28 AM

The rear view mirror may be one of the strongest metaphors for moving forward in life. This thought occurred to me today as I was sitting in traffic, a regular occurrence when one lives in Los Angeles and attempts to go anywhere. In between answering text messages (I know one shouldn’t text while one is driving, but I was merely sitting in the driver’s seat with the car running and in drive. The “ing” part was only happening sporadically) and being irritated I also became acutely aware of my rear and sideview mirrors.

I have always been someone who watches my mirrors almost obsessively. I’ve long thought it was so I could know what, or who, was coming. For instance, a car that is moving at ridiculously high rates of speed, cutting in and out of traffic, moving between lanes in a mostly dangerous fashion. I can see them coming so I know to just stay put. The worst thing you can do as a driver is to try to get out of the way of something coming from behind. Let them go around you. Also a bit of a metaphor for life, albeit a very passive one.

I also watch for police cars that may be hiding in plain sight atop an on ramp just waiting for someone to be driving too quickly, someone who doesn’t see them up there. I see them. It may be one of the reasons I’ve never received a speeding ticket because it certainly isn’t because I never drive fast.

These mirrors are fascinating in other ways. Mirrors reflect images that are backwards. It’s why Ambulance is spelled ecnalubmA on the front of the truck or van. It allows us to read the word normally but it’s a trick of the eyes and the mind. Again, metaphors. It’s as if we’re looking at life through a prism, in an almost alternate universe. It’s truth and reality and yet it’s distorted, reversed.

Behind me were only cars, of course, but in thinking about the metaphor, I couldn’t help but see that too often this is how we live our lives. I know I myself am guilty of it. Looking only behind instead of ahead. It’s easier somehow. Behind I know; ahead is everything I don’t.

Behind is everything I’ve done and everyone I’ve known. It is the mistakes I’ve made, the regrets I’ve had, the dreams I’ve cast aside. It is misplaced anger and fear. It is lost love and cast aside friendships, long ago jobs and bad hair.

But ahead is the rest. It is new dreams and new adventures, new opportunities and possibilities. New friends and good times with the people we spend time with. It is the future.

Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer but keep in mind that you're driving away, putting distance between you and whatever. Sometimes it's distance you want, other times it's distance you need. Sometimes we think we don't have the strength to create the distance but that's the amazing thing about life. It creates it for us. It's called time, and it is the ultimate mirror for each one of us.

Behind or ahead. It’s our choice. Today in the car, as much as I watched my mirrors, I watched through the windshield even more. After all, that was the direction I was going. And eventually, I got there. 


live out loud

Comments (2) -

7/19/2013 7:30:43 PM #

It is a life metaphor. I find that the older and wiser I get, the more I look ahead, but see behind. An appreciation for this only comes with the experiences we learn from and the mistakes we make. I am grateful for each and every one of them. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful this life journey is.  

Larissa United States

7/20/2013 1:35:19 AM #

I so appreciate you, Larissa. Thank you for reading and for commenting. And for living it out loud.

Lorin United States

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