Not long ago I was in my car at a stoplight, and my eyes began to focus on the steering wheel. I then took notice of my hands. How did they get so old? Over my 73 years, arthritis has left one finger crooked; there are too many wrinkles to count; my nails are short and stubby (they have always been brittle); and my hands are so small compared to the rest of me. I thought about my friend who has pretty hands and always makes time for manicures; it seems I never have time for that.

I'm always too busy doing other things.

I thought about those "other" things that prevent me from taking time to get a manicure, and I found they were generally doing good deeds and taking care of things that in my world are important. I thought about that, too, and how I set my priorities along with some of the tasks these hands have performed that have brought a bit of joy to the world and to me as well. How many times have these hands held another’s? How many meals have these hands prepared? How many tears have these hands wiped away? How many times have these hands reached out to provide comfort?

I realized that these old hands have served me and others well; they have done good things and have certainly contributed to making a difference in my life as well as that of others. And then a miracle of sorts happened. Just like that, right before my eyes I saw my hands were beautiful, and I was proud and thankful to have them — wrinkles, crooked finger, stubby nails and all.

Since then, I have tried to remember to see things in a more positive light, with a completely different point of view. When I choose to see the good things about me that affirm my value and the love and admiration I hold dearly for who I am, life is joyful. When I focus on who or what I’m not — or what I want and don’t have — I find myself on a slippery slope with feelings of not-good-enough, and my worth takes a nose-dive.

That day in the car left me wondering why I tend to see things the way I do — at times overvaluing impermanent and irrelevant characteristics and undervaluing my virtues.

A quote by Marcel Proust came to mind: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Could I really have new eyes? Another thought came to mind: If I could have new eyes, perhaps I could have blue eyes! As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted blue eyes instead of my boring, old, brown eyes.

Wait! Did I really just say that? Did I already forget what’s truly important and to find an appreciation for that?

It would appear that I still have a ways to go to fully appreciate the true blessings and everlasting gifts, some yet to be discovered, along my path.

Now, if I can just remember to open my big, warm, beautiful, loving, brown eyes with infinite gratitude, those new eyes will surely guide me to the wisdom this journey has in store for me.

There. That’s better!

Laura Proppe,

North Massapequa

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