I always planned to “grow old gracefully.” Let the gray hair and wrinkles come as they may – I’d take it all in stride with good humor, and embrace whatever face looked back at me in the mirror. Aging wouldn’t even be an issue.
Well, a few months ago I noticed the tiniest beginnings of lines around my mouth. That discovery immediately led to a more critical facial inspection, which revealed slight traces of lines around my eyes too. You have to understand, no one else would probably be able to detect even the smallest change - we’re talking miniscule lines here. But as I stood there looking in the mirror and puzzling over how this could have happened, I was suddenly hit with a stunning revelation:
“HOLY CRAP! I am going to get WRINKLES!!!!”Thoughts of growing old gracefully went out the window. I just wanted to go out and buy the best miracle cream I could find and take a bath in it. How could this be happening to me? I guess my philosophy was really more like, “If I grow old, I’ll do it gracefully.” I hadn’t accepted that the “if” was actually a “when.”
It didn’t take me long to calm down and return to rationality. But I was still a little bummed about the whole wrinkles thing, until this weekend.
I was watching a re-run of Extreme Makeover, where “ugly” people get major plastic surgery to correct what they consider to be their physical flaws. During her initial consultation, this woman told the plastic surgeon that she was looking forward to “never having wrinkles again.” However he was quick to correct her, explaining that wrinkles come from showing facial expression, and that they would eventually come back unless she never smiled or laughed again. That started me thinking.
My life has been filled with happiness. Yes, there have been plenty of sad and difficult times, but I have spent considerably more time laughing than crying. There’s not a day that goes by in which I don’t have multiple reasons to smile, and I am grateful for it. And if wrinkles are the price I pay, then so be it.
So I will go right on living, loving, laughing and smiling, allowing all the joys of life to be written across my face. And I hope that when I die, I’ll have too many wrinkles to count and will have earned every one of them.