Ronit Sherwin: Rearview mirror


Moving forward is often difficult. It requires a sense of direction, risk and a belief in one’s confidence to adventure and journey a new road. It is easy to continue on a familiar path, even a path that is no longer serving one well. While we may bemoan our familiar neighborhood, we know its alleys and its bumps in the road. A new road is just that: new. We have no idea what lies ahead.

That is why I like the rearview mirror. I have spent a lot of time in my car of recent, travelling to and around my new home in Delaware, and I find myself looking in the rearview mirror frequently. It is not that I am nostalgic and want to turn back. It is simply that I want to know what is behind me. I find comfort in knowing from where I came, and I feel more cognizant of the road ahead when I understand what surrounds me fully. I also have two very important little people in my back seat that depend on me completely and upon whom I rely on to inform my priorities and decisions. When I see my children’s faces in the rearview mirror, I am reminded of the decisions I have made and the ones I will need to make.


I can also see myself in the rearview mirror, and I am always looking at my most present self. Sometimes I see blemishes and scars that I wonder if others can see. Other times, I glance at the mirror to boost myself, to notice what a great hair day I am having. At times I see tears so raw that only surface once in the privacy of my four doors. There are times I look in the rearview mirror and I hear my innermost thoughts, be they the cheerleaders or the critiques.

The rearview mirror serves to balance the great, open space of the windshield, the lens to what lies ahead. I only recently understood that phrase that appears on many rearview mirrors: Objects are closer than they appear. As cliché as it sounds, your past is never far behind. I have found myself not easily relinquishing the past, as I imagined the excitement of the new adventure would diminish its resonance. But I am also constantly adjusting my rearview mirror and observing my past from different perspectives, so that I can better focus on the road ahead. And I have found myself to be a better driver with each passing day.