Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Google “fight the signs of aging.” Go ahead. I’ll wait. Okay, if you Googled it then you saw the 379,000 results that came up. Most of which are geared toward women. In other words, women, don’t grow old you won’t be attractive any longer.

I buy into this whole anti-aging game. I hate what’s happening to my skin. I hate the lines on my forehead. I’m paranoid my chin will drop. I spend lots of money on products that are supposed to reverse the sun damage I did as teen when the only thing between me and the UV rays was baby oil. My family has blocked all paths to Botox websites.

I want my twenty-five year old complexion back. I miss my natural hair color – black. I know I’m not supposed to care I’m getting older. We want the years to pile up because the alternative is far worse. With age comes experience and wisdom you can’t handle as a younger person. I get it. I really do. I just don’t want to look old. Old should be a four letter word.

Staying in shape is harder than it was even ten years ago. My body creaks and groans in sounds I’ve never heard before. And if listening to my mother’s generation is any indication, those sounds only get worse. I tell myself that won’t be me. My hamstrings tell me something else.

Am I victim of societal norms? Well, if the fact I remove all unwanted hair from my body says anything, then yes I am! Society tells me hairless and young is attractive. I don’t want to be excluded from the popular kids’ table. Unfortunately, old people sit by the bathrooms and there’s a space open at that table. Spaces are always open at the old people’s table.

I need to turn my head around on this one. I may have found the way. Someone said to me, “every wrinkle tells your story.” You know how I love a good story. That phrase resonated with me. Our wrinkles and gray hair are the stories of our lives.

How many times have you said, “my kids gave me gray hair?” Could you imagine your life without your children in it? Not me. If kids equal gray hair, then I guess the gray is okay. (I’m still going to cover mine up, but I’ll try not to get so freaked out about the amount of them.)

We can’t navigate through life without a road map. (Have you ever seen me when I get lost? Probably best you don’t.) Bummer the road map is on our faces, but isn’t the journey more important than the destination? All the roads I’ve traveled have led me here. Sometimes the road was bumpy, sometimes smooth.

The lines around our eyes are paths filled with laughter.  I’m glad I didn’t miss out on the times I bent over laughing so hard I cried. There are countless memories etched into those lines on my face. I’d take everyone of them all over again.

I also have frown lines. Bummer again, but with the good comes the not so good. I’ve worried over the health of a loved one. I worried about school, money, love. I worry about my children every day. Noodge 1 drives in less than two weeks. I’ll be worrying a lot more. But I would never change his growing up. That is the cycle of life.

I’m not ready to toss my anti-aging serums in the trash. Instead, I’ll look at my wrinkles with kindness and give them space to tell my story.

 

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7 thoughts on “Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

  1. The answer to why we have to look older actually came from your son. One time some years back,
    your son overheard me say I don’t mind getting old but why do you have to look it? He said, “Nana, if you didn’t age you wouldn’t be able to distinguishes between ages”. He was probably all of 12 at the time. Out of the mouths of babes. I had never thought of it that way before but he was right. If we didn’t show our age, a 20 year old could fall in love with an 80 year old and never know it.

    So, Mother Nature provided! We can fight the aging process all we want. We might be able to shed a few years but you can’t shed decades. My answer to aging is to stay away from mirrors!! In my head I feel like 18 and as long as I’m not seeing my reflection or photos of myself, I’m good!!

    1. As amazing as I think my son is, I have to disagree with him. Since I think the well-built male body is probably one of the most beautiful things on the planet I’d have no problem with eighty year-olds still looking twenty. Hence, I wouldn’t mind looking twenty at eighty. Of course, I won’t. But, I will refuse to wear polyester pants with elastic waists!!!!

  2. As someone who refuses himself to go quietly into middle-age, Stacey, I hear everything you’re saying. I certainly try to stay in shape — to fight off middle-age spread! — by going to the gym on a daily basis. And I use products — Rx and over-the-counter — that are in some ways designed to “preserve youth” (among other benefits). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily — with taking pride in one’s appearance.

    But part of aging is coming to accept that there are certain changes that will occur that no prescribed “countermeasure” can forestall. So, for me, aging gracefully means addressing the things I can through exercise and health-and-beauty aides, and respecting the unavoidable inevitabilities of growing older. In exchange for youth, we do get wisdom, and that’s saying something. I know I’m a wiser person — and consequently a better writer — than I was fifteen, ten, even five years ago, and I wouldn’t trade that for thicker hair or more flexible hamstrings!

  3. Agreed, I’m a wiser and better person than I was five, ten, or fifteen years ago. I certainly hope I’m better writer than I was when I started this journey thirteen years ago. I’d still like more flexible hamstrings. Wink.

    I also have to agree there is nothing wrong with taking pride in one’s appearance. I think the question becomes, to what degree? I want to stay youthful looking, but not at the expense of becoming a caricature.

    So, I will continue to slow the aging process down one serum bottle at a time!

    Thank you for the comment and your honesty, Sean!

  4. Awesome post, Stacey. I love the way you reframe the signs of age into a story of experience and wisdom. I gave up on trying to look young-ish when I became a grandmother. It was a huge identity shift, a big role change and second only to becoming a mom. I embraced my age – no more hair dye and face cream. (I found that drinking lots of water, exercising, and eating healthy works best anyway.)

    1. Thank you, Diana! I’m so not ready to be a grandmother, and since my kids are 17 and 15 they’d better not make me one too soon. 😉 I’ve already told them I refuse to be called any version of Grandma. They didn’t like my suggestion of Stacey. But maybe I’ll try and take your approach when that day dawns. Letting go of the responsibility to look younger might actually erase years off my face. Thanks for stopping by! I always appreciate when you visit the blog!!

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