Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to be as old as you really are?
I’m shocked sometimes to realize that I’m not just playing house. That they’ve allowed me to have a husband and children and a mortgage, even though surely I’m not old or mature enough to do any of those things.
Except that I totally am. I’m in my thirties, y’all. I’ve been out of school for nearly eleven years. I’m not young anymore, and that’s weird to think about but it’s really okay.
I’m rather in favor of growing old–especially since the alternative is dying young and I have no intention of doing that–and I’m trying to age gracefully. But sometimes I look in the mirror and feel a little disappointed. I see the beginnings of sun spots on my cheekbones. Lots of lines around my eyes.Wonky wiry white hairs that stick straight out of my bangs.
I can see the appeal of botox and chemical peels and frequent salon visits and all those cosmetic things we do to cover up and maybe even reverse some of those less desirable signs of aging. (Which, if I’m honest, is all of them. Our society doesn’t care much for old.)
And yet. I look at all the fine lines around my mouth and wonder how many times I must have laughed in the last thirty-some years to leave such a strong impression. The pouches under my eyes speak of sleepless nights with babies, and of the genes passed to me by my great-grandmother, who had a chiming clock and cookies ready for each grandkid. I see freckles and spots as evidence of long days playing at the beach with cousins and working at the pool as a lifeguard. My hands now look the way I remember my mother’s hands did when I was a child. The more people I love and worry about, the more grey hairs I have. True story.
I may not always be happy with the lumps and wrinkles and scars and changes my body is going through as I get older, but I’m happy with the story they tell. I’m living a good life. Not always an easy one (stretch marks from crazy growth spurts and growing a ten pound baby are good reminders of how painful things can be sometimes) but a good one.
And why would I want to erase the evidence of a life well lived?
My friend Chrissy is a photographer, and–as I’m sure many photographers do–she sometimes has to deal with clients who are less than happy with the way she edits photos. They want to look perfect. But in real life, they don’t. Who does? They want her to smooth away the wrinkles and delete stray hairs. She refuses. Because she believes as I do: that life is beautiful in its messiness and people are beautiful in their imperfections.
Chrissy shared her Photoshop philosophy on Facebook a while back and I loved it. A couple days and a few dozen doodles later, I sent her this.
|free printable: click to download and print|
I want you to have it too. You can click here to download and print a copy for yourself. I hope it helps you remember that you have earned every one of those wrinkles. Remember that the perfection you see in the media isn’t real and that you are beautiful just the way you are. Remember that you are loved, not in spite of your perceived physical flaws but because of them.
God gave you wrinkles. Leave them there.