I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror today, and I was struck by how much I liked what I saw.

Recently, I went back to wearing my hair short.  The new style is not exactly a bob, but my hair falls to about my jawline.  It’s layered all the way around in a way that works well with my hair’s natural wave.  The lower layers in the back give it a stacked look.

I also recently returned to the gym.  My determination to conquer the push up before it conquers me is starting to pay off.  My collarbone doesn’t stand out, but it isn’t hiding underneath a pillow anymore either.  My shoulders are visible, and they look leaner.  My underarm fat is a little more on the “lite” side of things.

Between my sporty, casually ruffled waves and the new way I’m carrying my upper body, I look balanced.  More importantly to me, I look stronger.

All of the things I have been working on over the past two years – inner strength, physical strength, self-control, simplicity, projecting my best self – are looking back at me from within my mirror.

It is surprising to me that I like the way I look.  That does not often occur.  I think that I am more aware of myself now; I am slowly carving goals and priorities out of the unexamined life I led before I hit the wall.  “Unexamined” may be too strong a word.  I frequently thought about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, but the thoughts themselves distracted me from the answers.  Over the last two years I have waited for the answers, and I have asked the same questions so many times that I have begun to learn the answers through sheer repetition.

I have realized that strength and self-sufficiency mean the world to me.  I have learned that I want to actively be happy, which is different from assuming happiness will find me.  No matter how I feel about my job, my career defines my place in the world as much as I define my career – I want a career that reflects my priorities, so when my job does not do that I question my priorities.  Maybe it’s circular, but it’s the way that I feel.  And after years of accumulating hobbies and belongings to enable my very many interests, I can see that I am not that complicated and the days do not have that many hours.  By failing to commit to anything I am accumulating to no end.  It is time to simplify.  I may explore everything, but I cannot do it all today.

What I can do today is delve into a couple of those interests.  I will finish some projects and learn enough to sate my curiosity.  And then I will pick a few more interests to enjoy.  If I should discover that, upon closer examination, a topic-person-place-task is not so interesting, I will stop, clear away the remnants, and start fresh.  I will not burden myself with the acquisition of things not worth reprimanding myself over.  I will simplify so that I can enjoy.

I look again at the simple haircut that makes me so happy and wonder why I didn’t get it sooner.  It’s just so ME. But I immediately realize that, until now, I would not have recognized myself.