Looking in a Mirror: A Reflection on Palindromes

February 7, 2020

Last Sunday was what has become one of the great American pastimes: The Super Bowl. In addition it was that one time each year when Punxsutawney Phil either sees or does not witness his shadow. It was also a day of rare occurrence: a palindrome, a numeric date when the month, day, and year align in an identical sequence forwards and backwards. Our last such similar day was more than 18 years ago on 10/02/2001 and before that way back around the time of the Peasant’s Revolt on 08/31/1380.

02/02/2020. Not only was it a palindrome day, but a full palindrome day, appearing in partial format (mm/dd/yy) as 02/02/20, as well as in military configuration (dd/mm/yy). The last time of a “trifecta” was 11/11/1111. The next full palindrome day will be after most of us have departed from this earth during Christmas time on 12/12/2121.

Palindromes are ever present. Maybe you have a friend named Bob, Anna, or Eve. If you followed Major League Baseball in the 70’s and 80’s you might recall Toby Harrah. How often do you “refer” to someone or something? Are they on the “level?” Many go to NASCAR events to watch “racecar” competition. We are reminded of palindromes in full sentences such as “Step on no pets.” Doors front man Jim Morrison even took a stab by alluding to “Mr. Mojo Risin” in the song “LA Woman,” but that’s an anagram and like Mr. Morrison, an entirely different story.

Palindrome. The same coming and going. Balance. A mirror image. Reflection. Self examination.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? In our youth, maybe another blemish. As a younger person perhaps a random touch of gray or that first wrinkle, signaling a transition to another phase of progression? Later in life a new sag or brown spot?

Upon closer inspection is the view less visual and more conditional? A couple with a newborn, ragged after a seemingly endless run of sleep deprived nights. The desperation of someone who has just learned of their job being eliminated. Helplessness upon receiving an unfavorable health report.

More importantly what does our image convey to others? Is it positive, upbeat, humble? Or more negative, downcast, and vain? Are you “attractive” to others, not so much from a perspective of appearance, but rather from the standpoint of having the magnetism whereby people are “attracted” to you?

I was doing some virtual Career Coaching with a client a few months back. Although he found himself at somewhat of a stalled period in his career at the time and considering other opportunities, he still projected an enthusiasm and confidence that was contagious, permeating readiness for the next assignment. He stepped up to the challenge in what he needed to do to identify a different occupational path by applying the best use of the talents, skills, and abilities he had to offer. To his credit this self-starter developed a networking strategy of who he might contact to talk about opportunities and then executed his plan to near perfection. The end result was that through this determined process he discerned his strongest gifts and passions and decided to launch his own support enterprise as a dedicated contractor to a large organization.

As a Life and Career Coach there are few encounters more rewarding than witnessing transformative power coursing through the expressions of a client. It was a thrill to be a part of his energetic journey.

Self-examination, looking at things from inside and out, backwards and forwards, is a healthy exercise. Like a palindrome, our goal should be that our inner self is a positively accurate expression of what we convey to others externally. How do you project? Polarizing or inviting? Off putting or magnetic? Cold or warm? Consider the services of a coach to help you get to where you want to be.

Now, if only my parents would have had the wherewithal to have bought an extra vowel for that birth certificate way back when. Kirik, anyone?

The Seed Sower