Getting ready for work one morning in my late twenties, I noticed my first wrinkle. There it was right between my eyebrows, just a faint vertical line looking back at me from the mirror.
With my New Jersey Shore upbringing, I expected wrinkles, lots of them. I grew up when SPF wasn’t seen anywhere on a tanning lotion bottle. In fact, that’s what it was called — tanning lotion. Who ever heard of sunscreen in the 1960’s? Not me. In high school my friends and I made a concoction of baby oil and iodine to slather on our bodies as we soaked up hours and hours of ultraviolet rays in our quest for the deepest tan. Now it was payback time.
I rubbed the wrinkle between my brows with foundation. It didn’t go away. I was aging. Ugh!
As part of the generation who embraced Jack Weinberg’s saying, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”, my thirtieth birthday passed without even a footnote. It was my 35th that arrived with the mournful recognition I was definitely aging. By then I had encountered my first grey hair. Despite receiving advice in the form of an old wives’ tail not to pluck it lest I get twenty more, I plucked it. And, I did get twenty more, but I suspect that would have happened anyway. I was aging.
Today I have lots of wrinkles, though not as many as expected. When I found that first wrinkle between my brows, I knew a woman about twenty years older than me with a face that reminded me of an old baseball glove. Chasing the sun has been much kinder to me, most probably because I stopped chasing it. Living life is another matter. My hair is nearly all grey with some hints of white where most of hairs have lost their original dark brown color. Yes, I have aged. I have also lived.
No longer concerned with the wrinkles or grey hair, I accepted that fact a long, long time ago. Living life results in wrinkles and grey hair. My fortieth birthday, with someone giving me dead flowers and an ‘over the hill’ black balloon, didn’t phase me. That’s when I knew we all age from the time we are born. Change in our bodies is inevitable just like change in our lives.
Despite the increased aches and pains and the decreased stamina, overall I don’t feel any different, than I did on those days when I lolled around the sand covered in my baby oil concoction. My mind is still sharp and curious. I still look to the horizon with anticipation of what may materialize in my life. I do not mourn my looks or what might have been.
There is a story about actress Anna Magnani telling her makeup man, who was diligently trying to conceal her wrinkles, “Don’t take a single one. I paid for them.” That about sums it up for me. Each line on my face tells a story. The ones around my mouth mean I smiled a lot. The furrows between my brows mean I frowned a lot, too. The ones across my forehead are undoubtedly from a severe sunburn as well as heredity.
They are my wrinkles and my life and there is no amount of night cream to make them disappear nor do I want them to.
Good post! I’m just amazed at how fast life goes by!
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Aging …a state of mind? If so, you have the right idea. Adelante!
I so agree with the sentiment of this blog. I wouldn’t want my wrinkles to be erased – they are the roadmap of my life, especially the laugh lines around my eyes and mouth. The white hair at an early age is hereditary. There are parts of my body in a race to see which side can get south first (reference to Maya Angelou) and I wouldn’t trade any of it. Like you, I’m still engaged in life and will keep on keeping on.
Great post! (as usual!) I SO REMEMBER Coppertone and waiting until it was 68 degrees to start working on my tan! My girls put sunscreen all over their babies just to go on a walk. Ha.
I love your attitude! I am going to try to accept again as well as you do! I love your writing style. Keep these blog posts coming. There are lots of us out here trying to accept the passage of time and you help us to do it well. Thank you!
Thank you Nancy! I find that staying mindful and in the moment helps me accept the passage of time. All we have is the here and now. K
I love Anna Magnani’s quote. Perfect. One way or another we pay for them or earn them, it’s a matter of perspective I guess.
Yes, I’ve heard the quote both ways, paid and earned. Only Anna and her makeup artist know what she really said. I just love the sentiment either way. K