I Love My Wrinkles…
By: Greg Wasinski
There I was, at the gym, getting ready to do another set of exercises, when I noticed a glaring addition to my face. In that moment of rest, I sat on the edge of the bench, staring into the wall-sized mirror in front of me. I squinted and took deep breaths before continuing on, and noticed the multiple wrinkles which were very well defined in the corner of my eyes. At first I was horrified in the realization that I’m not eighteen any more. Then, for no immediate known reason, a giant smile came across my face. I laughed, whispering the words to myself, “I love my wrinkles.”
“Why would anyone in the world love their wrinkles?”, you might ask. It’s because they hold so many things within them that are part of our journey. As I stared into the well defined crevices offsetting the blue in my eyes, my mind immediately wondered how many laughs I must have shared with friends to give my eyes that kind of workout. I began to chuckle even harder as I thought about a few, which came rushing back in that instant. I then thought about the tears of joy I have experienced during these forty years, from my wedding day, the birth of my children and even now when I see God’s hand in the blessings of day to day living. Then, the inevitable happened. My mind reminded me of moments of sadness, too, which were the culprit of many, many tears which have been wiped away throughout my existence. Nonetheless, I continued to smile watching my eyes well up with tears thinking about what I have learned from business failures, relationship heartache, hurt I have perpetuated and times of devastation when there was loss of loved ones. Looking at those wrinkles reminded me of how much I have lived, how much I have experienced in good times and in bad. I love my wrinkles because there is a story in them and a sign I have been willing to share emotions, which made has me vulnerable enough to love.
For you, your wrinkles might be around your eyes, and you can relate to the same type of accounts I mention, or you have other ones to add. Very well, they could be in the skin of your hands, that as you look down you can recount all the times they held the hand of another who made you feel safe and secure. Possibly your mind fills your heart with joy as you think back to the moments which made time stand still, and how those same hands have lead a child to new activities, maybe you handed them an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or used them to simply wipe tears from their eyes when they were sad. Possibly, the laugh lines which extend from the corners of your mouth are there for all the times you smiled at a stranger to deliver a gesture of humanity and compassion. Just like mine, your wrinkles aren’t there to remind you gravity exists, they are outward signs of what you have experienced along the way.
There will always be things about our bodies we cannot change as we grow older, which we can easily criticize. Whether it is the mom who is trying to lose baby weight still or the man who’s knees won’t allow him to get up and down on the basketball court anymore. However, in these specific examples, we can sit back and see the amazing gift of life the mother brought into this world, in which she needed that extra weight to do so healthily. We see a man who worked helping to build homes which took a toll on his lower body, but gave new homeowners a place to build dreams and raise a family. We are defined by the battle scars we have picked up along the way, but they do not simply exist to remind us of our age; those imperfections can make us stop to think about the beauty of the journey we are on.
Look deep at all the things you see about yourself and find a positive, wonderful memory which exists inside you because of the work you put in to make it so. Wrinkles will catch up to us with time, no matter what means we use to battle them. The question will be at the end of the day, “Do they exist because you let joy be part of the journey, or are they a simple bi-product of allowing the grind to persuade you to feel nothing more than negativity and beaten down?” We are who we are because of what life has given us to experience. Let’s not merely see a sign of aging, but rather a road map to living a life which has been filled with so much to cherish.