She wiped the dust off a vintage mirror she desperately needed from a flea market three years ago, an object that blended into her daily life shortly after she acquired it. How ironic, she thought. Why does everything lose its glow? Through the sheen of dusty residue, she held her own gaze for the first time in weeks.

Or maybe years. She barely recognized herself. A few more wrinkles, a few more freckles, a few more shades of darkness under her eyes. Life seems to leave traces of experience on your face. The good, the bad, and the ugly can be read like a tattooed book if someone looks close enough. Aside from the new character features on her profile, she just looked tired. She tried to smile and out came a crooked grin that looked more like a grimace.

She needed a vacation. She’d been meaning to ask her boss for a few days off, but the weeks keep getting away from her. Cassie’s wedding is next Saturday and before she knows it, it’ll be the holidays. Where does the time go?

Joanne really needed her in the office anyway. Sarah was still considered an entry level employee, even after a few years of working there, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t work to be done. I guess that’s what she gets for taking a corporate job. Small fish drowning in a big pond.

She felt deadlines were always chasing her. She was in a constant sprint, not taking the time to plan ahead because she could barely keep up with the current assignments creeping up behind her. She just needed to power through. This is what it takes to be a young professional. Grit, tenacity, gusto. Embrace it!

The positive mindset gave her a split second of motivation and instantly faded when she caught another glimpse of herself in the mirror. God, why did she look so tired? She got a full eight hours last night. The January edition of SELF magazine said that she didn’t even need eight hours a night at her age. I guess SELF was written for some other self she was less in touch with. SELF magazine also told her a glass of red wine at night is good for her, too. She smiled at the thought and liked how that relaxed smile looked in the mirror.

She headed to the kitchen light heartedly and opened a bottle of Malbec. She poured a good 12-ounces into a large stemless wineglass that Beth got her for her birthday last year.

“Treat yoself,” Beth had said.

One sip and she flopped onto the couch and mindlessly turned on Friends like she did every night before bed. Production until exhaustion. Rinse and repeat.

It’s not that she didn’t like her life. She was just a little too productive lately. She feared she was starting to resemble a robot. Hell, the other day Tom walked into the office and didn’t even see her standing there. Maybe she just wasn’t showing up the way she should be: too busy, too tired, no time.

Those excuses have taken up too much of her life. As she dozed off, she dreamt of big possibilities, new hope, and freedom in her mind. Tomorrow will be different.

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