I don’t do this often—but one night last week, after brushing my teeth, I stopped and stared in disbelief at the image in the mirror of the medicine cabinet over my bathroom sink.

It was hard to believe that there were so many tiny lines around my eyes now—wrinkles in time, I guess you could call them. And there was a woman there whose hair was turning gray—nearly all over—and I just couldn’t figure out how that could be me.

I stopped and stared in disbelief at the image in the mirrorWhen I got into bed, I was still ruminating about it, and then suddenly it occurred to me that there was a very good reason to feel disconnected from my aging image. And this reason doesn’t have to do with vanity—really.

It’s actually a wonderfully liberating reason. Since so far it seemed to resonate with one coworker with whom I shared it, here goes: Why is there an astounding sense of disconnection when looking in the mirror? Although our bodies are showing more and more signs of age, our souls are not. They are as vibrant as they were on the day we were born, because they are ageless.

This means that it’s perfectly natural for us to feel disconnected from our aging images. What makes us truly who we are, our essence, doesn’t get old—ever. Our bodies decline with time, but our souls don’t decline in any way. They are the part of us that is a part of G‑d—so no waning there.

Fact is, our bodies’ typical slow decline actually seems beautifully designed to let it gradually become clearer and clearer to us who we intrinsically are—souls, not the bodies in which our souls are clothed.

The day after I had this revelation, on account of feeling much, much younger than the image I saw in the mirror the night before, it must have been still roaming around in the back of my mind when Karen, a coworker friend around my age, stopped by my office in the late afternoon to say goodbye for the day. She poked her head in to say that she was looking forward to getting outside to enjoy the spring weather, when it somehow reminded me of this idea about our bodies aging, but not our souls.

It hit such a chord within Karen that even though she was anxious to get outside and soak in some new warmth—and even though she had already punched out on her timecard—she had to stick around to share with me a whole bunch of examples of how this made sense to her too. Karen said that as we age, we get just as much joy from giving to others as we did when we were younger—or maybe even more.

Our souls—and what makes them sparkle with eternal energy—seem made to become more and more apparent as time goes byShe continued excitedly to say that as we get older, we get as much pleasure from songs, scents and wondrous sights that enter our souls and enliven our spirits as we always did, or perhaps more. And as our bodies very slowly—dare we say—deteriorate, our passion for the warmth of meaningful love, and for the warmth of sunshine, doesn’t seem to wane at all; it seems to even increase.

Our souls—and what makes them sparkle with eternal energy—seem made to become more and more apparent as time goes by.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
What do you have to tell us all?
We’re souls—but lest we forget,
The signs of age help us reflect.