I have been blessed with great ‘youthful’ genes. I have always been told I look at least 10 years younger than my age, and as my children were growing up I was often mistaken for my daughter’s sister! Only recently have people started believing that I actually am a Grandmother of 3 and that my children are in their 30’s.
I have loved this. It has appealed to my vanity.
Now in my mid 50’s however, the challenge is on. I stood looking in the mirror today and noticed wrinkles, lines, and grey hairs that I haven’t seen before. (Maybe because I had my glasses on.)
I suddenly felt challenged. Very challenged. I have to live up to all my sprouting about growing older gracefully. About it not mattering what’s on the outside, but what our heart gives that’s important. By in all honesty, there is a part of me that mourns my youth.
But I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, an opportunity to grow. So as I stood there, I started to look more intently at each individual wrinkle and crease on my face and I asked - what does this mean for me right here, right now?
There is one on my cheek that has ‘suddenly appeared’. Why is that there? I realised it is the wrinkle for my dimple. I have always loved my dimple, which only shows up when I smile – but now, I have a permanent crease that remains even when I’m not smiling – a hint of the joy that’s been expressed on my face.
I looked at the lines around my mouth – the ones needed to create room for my lips when they are upturned.
I studied the ‘crow’s feet’ around my eyes – barely visible when I’m holding my face straight, just shallow lines – but as my cheeks rise to support my mouth upturning, my skin needs to be folded to fit.
I’ve been noticing the lines on my forehead deepening over the past ten or so years. Despite all the moisturiser I lavish on each night, they are still growing deeper. I contemplate cutting my hair to a fringe to cover them up. Then as I stand there I start to feel fortunate because they allow my face to show surprise – something which I constantly experience – life is so full of wonderful surprises if we are open to receiving them.
There’s a line where my nose crinkles when I laugh. There’s a small frown line in between my eyebrows for the days when things don’t go as well as we hope, or when I’m worried about the kids, or for humanity.
Just before I reach for the moisturising mask, I think about the people around me whose beautiful lined faces give me joy, and courage, who make me feel loved and who draw me in to share the wisdom of their years.
I look at my beautiful husband who vowed to grow old with me and I see the wrinkles and creases in his face too and I remember how much the sharing of his life has meant to me – the witnessing of those wrinkles forming and I know some of them have been just for me.
I stand in front of the mirror…
Finally I arrive at the ‘wonderful’ moment when I realise that all the years of smiling has sculptured my face into what it is today – a face that many know. All the years of loving and being loved show right there, in my eyes. The wonder of the world that I seek to experience every minute of every day shows there on my forehead, and the realisation is that I’ve made it to 54 – and I’m happy.
Surely that is worth the wrinkles!
I hope I get the chance to stand in front of the mirror in another 54 years (and all the years in between), examine the history on my face and know that I have lived well.
Merelyn’s writing is supported in part by the sale of her books. Autobiography - ‘The Deepest Part of Me’. ‘Inspire’ – inspirational reflections for your life’s journey. ‘Stories behind the Songs’ and her first children’s picture book ‘To The Moon and Back - Grandma’s Rocket Ship Adventure’. To find out more about her work and to support her through the purchase of her writings and music, please go to www.carterandcarter.com.au