How many times in my life have I been wrong about a first impression? Too many times to count. First impressions are often visual. I might see something or someone and immediately form an opinion. But who am I to judge anyone or anything?

Now I am amused when I discover that my first impression was wrong. This has been a slow lesson learned over time as the wisdom of age sets in. I now laugh at myself and wonder how I could have been so wrong. Experiencing this total reversal of my own opinions has become a source of delight.

I am a person with strong beliefs. I have been described by others as stubborn and unbending in my opinions. But I like to believe that this part of my personality has changed over the years, even if only a little. I have learned many lessons from my adult children who question me. I also learn from my grandchildren, when they innocently ask “why?” if I offer my opinion about something.

Recently I had a new “first” impression of a dear friend I have known for over 40 years. How is that possible? I hadn’t seen her in a few years because she doesn’t live in Maine, and she has been undergoing treatment for an inoperable brain tumor. My expectations were that she may not know me or would not be able to communicate very well. When my husband and I visited her, she looked different. Her long, beautiful hair is now cut short, and she can no longer walk. She sleeps a lot, but she also has moments of brilliance and clarity. During dinner together, she raised up both of her arms in a sweet, welcoming gesture, and said, “My friends.” I had a new first impression of her as I thought to myself, “There you are, my dear friend.”