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Upon Reflection

“Long had he believed that a gentleman should turn to a mirror with a sense of distrust. For rather than being tools for self-discovery, mirrors tended to be tools of self-deceit. How many times had he watched as a young beauty turned thirty degrees before her mirror to ensure that she saw herself to the best advantage? … When the celestial chime sounds, perhaps a mirror will suddenly serve its truer purpose—not revealing to a man who he imagines himself to be, but who he has become.” — Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

I was looking for a quote online, recalling a bit of it but not enough to find it easily. In my search I stumbled on a few sites lingering near the very top of Google’s results with titles along the lines of “inspirational quote for your Instagram post” or some such nonsense. And I thought about how fragile the collective ego of this online world really is.

Want to improve your reflection? Put yourself out in the world more. Read more. Join the conversation. Stumble a bit more. Write badly and steadily find your voice. Live a bigger life. But do it on your terms or you’ll never be satisfied with yourself.

Life is about becoming the person we want to be, and learning to live with our shortcomings. Whether your reality check is a mirror or a bank account, number of followers or the stamps in your passport, we all have our reckoning with self-deceit. If we’re honest with ourselves that reckoning might just lead to self-discovery and a new path on our journey. Venture out to meet your future self one step at a time. We never quite reach that perfect image of ourselves, but we reach a point where we’re satisfied with the person looking back at us.

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