Wrinkles are inevitable.
I had the recent misfortune of reconfirming this fact when a passing glance in the bathroom mirror to check for lipstick on my teeth nearly turned into a memorial service for my youth. As my half-hearted smile faded, my newly discovered crow’s feet vanished.
I smiled again and they reappeared. I repeated this ridiculous sequence several times. Cheeks up, cheeks down. Wrinkles, no wrinkles. How hilariously sad?
For a few brief moments, I contemplated everything from Botox injections to adding a few more expensive jars of self-proclaimed miracle cream to my growing collection of beauty potions. At one point, I actually considered never smiling again.
And that’s when it hit me. The lines on my face aren’t signs of aging; they’re proof of living.
This may sound strange, but my way of thinking about the aging process changed after the discovery of a few new barely noticeable laugh lines around my eyes. Instead of cursing their existence, I have begun to embrace them.
Plastic surgeons, pharmaceutical companies and other entities in a position to profit from the promise of eradicating the years from our faces refer to them as dreadful, awful, unsightly wrinkles. And, for a while, I identified with the labels they assigned my face.
From now on, I’m choosing to think of them as well-placed evidence of a good life. Each tiny line is the direct result of an experience worthy of unapologetic joy and enthusiasm. I will accept and cherish them for what they actually are — an outwardly visible collection of beautiful moments.
As I enter my 40th year, I’m paying more attention to what truly matters and letting go of what doesn’t. If it brings me joy and peace, I’m keeping it. If it makes me sad or unhappy, it has to go. I absolutely cannot justify being electively miserable. Frown lines aren’t an option at this point in my life.
I may never truly love my laugh lines, but I do love what they represent.
Jennifer Walker owns Osmosis Marketing Solutions, a Gallia County business specializing in PR, marketing and social media management.