Fifty Diddly [Who`s That In The Mirror] – Alex Mitchell

Fifty Diddly [Who`s That In The Mirror] – Alex Mitchell

Fifty Diddly




Alex Mitchell – Who`s That In The Mirror



I thought a thought. But the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought.

It’s the story of my life.

I just turned fifty. Didn’t see that coming. Fifty. Wow. I must admit that I’m not where I thought I would be. And I’m not sure I know how that happened. I used to have such clear ambitions. Then Life got in the way. Over the years, I feel I’ve gone from having crispy clear goals for my future, to just having a vague sense of direction.

And although I’m taking a moment to think this through, the way any responsible adult might tackle how to feel about getting old and having nothing to show for it, I gotta say that I do like being me. Most of the time. I just don’t think I’d be any good at trying to be someone else at this point. I mean, I barely pass at being me.

The way I see it, every one of us has an inkling, a glimmer, of who we really are deep down inside. It’s usually the way you feel about yourself when you’re doing something that feels so right that you know you were born to be here, doing that thing right now, just the way you are.

That glimmer of purpose, you’d think we’d hold on to it for dear life. But no. It’s so surprisingly easy to forget. Which is insane. The one thing that makes us wanna open ourselves up and live out loud, well, it’s the very same thing that we forget lickety-split in the day-to-day survival of our ordinary lives. And when you forget, that’s when you’re barely passing at being the real you. You’re just going through the moves. Your mind full of pressing matters that in the big picture barely matter. Our day-to-day survival consumes us. And Life keeps on keeping on with or without us. And then one day you’re fifty. Just like that.

When I was in my twenties and thirties, if people asked me what I was working on, I’d talk their ears off. Literally. Some people would run straight for the door as soon as they saw me. I was always hyper-excited about my art. I was hungry for validation. And I felt I needed to justify myself. All the time.

I’m not like that anymore. And it’s not because I am any smarter about what I’m doing. I feel as clueless about why I’m doing what I’m doing as I did then. The only thing that’s changed, is that I trust in that feeling that tells me what I’m doing is the right thing for me to do. In other words, I still don’t know why. I just know it’s what I am meant to do. And I don’t need to justify anything. That glimmer of purpose is everything.


I asked her

what she planned to do with her life

and she said

she was way beyond that point already.

I’m just happy I remember

to be there when it happens, she said.

(Andreas, Brian. “Life Plan.” Trusting Soul, Story People, 2000.)


I spend a great deal of my time trying to pay attention to what’s right in front of me. Which is a monumental task in and of itself for someone who’s very comfortable living in her head. Yep, that would be me. And the funny thing is that the more I learn to be in the moment, the more ludicrous it seems to make any future plans at all.

Maybe what happens is that as we get older, we get more comfortable with the truth that we don’t know diddly-squat about where we’re going, no matter how hard we try to plan and navigate our way through Life. We’ve learned that everything always ends up changing. And that it’s okay anyway. Plans are only guideposts, reminders, flags, markers. They just keep us moving in the right direction. After a while you won’t need them anymore. You’ll know which way to go intuitively.

That vague sense of direction, well, turns out I’ve earned it. I guess I do have something to show for turning fifty after all. I’m still here, on my way wherever.


Someday, the light will shine

like a sun through my skin

and they will say,

What have have you done with your life?

And though there are many moments

I think I will remember,

in the end, I will be proud to say,

I was one of us.

(Andreas, Brian. “One Of Us.” Trusting Soul, Story People, 2000.)



Alex Mitchell


©Alex Mitchell, WHO’S THAT IN THE MIRROR, Watercolor Illustration