Thirty. Not super old. Not super young. Somewhere between having to L’oreal touch-up my gray roots every other week and trying to hide the facial blemishes with clay-like makeup. Old enough that my 8th grade students were born the year I graduated high school and referring to a walkman in class gets me total blank stares. But still young enough that I know what it means to “Netflix and Chill,” and can “Whip” and “Nae Nae” with the best of them.
This whole aging thing is for the birds.
As I get ready for work each morning, I find myself scrutinizing the age spots, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks and gray hairs that seem to have suddenly been amplified times a million on my face and body. When I scroll through Instagram, I squint to see if other people my age have seen the same side effects of time….or at least to see what kind of filter they are using to hide them on social media. I have started saving every Groupon deal for facial peels and botox that come through my inbox….just in case. Dramatic, right? This whole phenomenon got me thinking about an old Diamond Rio song that I used to absolutely love. Wrinkles. The chorus gets me every time.
“Those wrinkles ain’t nothin’ to be scared of
They’re just a product of time and true love
Some are gonna come and go
Some are gonna come and stay
I still feel young, I’m gonna be OK”
The words totally resonate with this not-yet-mid-life crisis I am currently going through. The wrinkles, the scars, the age spots – they are like the scrapbook of life. They are mementos that represent living. They give us character. The long scar on the bottom of my chin, that’s from a second grade pool mishap. I was trying to be a big shot and touch the bottom of the deep end, but ended up in the ER with stitches. I learned to be tough that night. And the long one that runs down my left cheek? That was a scratch from my puppy who passed away at 17 weeks. That was a time my husband and I learned to lean on each other and grieve as a team, and not to take for granted one minute on this earth. The crow’s feet? I am sure the 7 years of life-guarding without sunscreen and sunglasses so I could get the best tan possible have something to do with those. But I learned great work ethic and that I should probably listen to my mom more – because she warned me I would regret those invincible teenage decisions one day, and she knew what she was talking about. Then we have the gray hairs. If it’s true that stress has something to do with those, I am sure working at an inner-city school, divorce, infertility, finances, loss – they probably have something to do with those. That and genetics of course.
So by no means am I saying that I am anti-botox or that I wouldn’t be totally okay looking like a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, but I am going to try and embrace this whole aging thing. Because just like the song says – we can’t be scared of the process, the blemishes are a product of living. They tell our story. They are our scrapbook.