The Privilege of Wrinkles

Photo by Edu Carvalho on
Photo by Edu Carvalho on

The deaths that touch me the most are ones where lives are robbed of aging and bereft of time. Lives where wrinkles weren’t plentiful, where hair wasn’t white as snow, or where decades of memories aren’t readily available for those left behind to draw from as they navigate the waters of loss.

Death and aging are a part of life. This is a biological fact that gets shoved to the outskirts of our minds as we purchase expensive wrinkle serums, dye our grey away, try trendy diets that promise us our 21 year old bodies back, and look for ways to revamp our wardrobes to look younger. I admit I fall prey to the tantalizing optics and ads.

When everyone in their 30’s looks like they’re in their 20’s, that means that actually looking 30 makes me look 40.

It’s as if there’s this weird age curve now where not only looking your age is frowned upon, it’s also socially unacceptable. And last week when my three year old proudly announced to an entire bus full of strangers that I’m 54 years old (I’m 33 but same difference in his mind evidently) I felt a twinge of embarrassment. But why?

I have friends who have lost parents too soon, I have friends who have lost children, and I’ve seen lives separated of joy by disease and disaster. I should be so lucky to be 54 because there are those among us who would give life and limb for one more year, one more month, one more day.

So let’s teach this to our children. Aging isn’t to be stunted or paused, it is to be embraced full on because it’s a damn privilege. It’s not a right. It’s an honor.

When our children jump up and down and yell “I’m going to be 4 years old!!!” with big goofy grins on their faces THAT is the truth in aging. So this year I’m jumping up and down yelling “WAHOOO! Watch out world Mama is 33 and I’m doing it all!” Because I may not get 54. I may not get to see my children grown old and have kids of their own. I may not get to wake up next to my husband for the next 50 years. But we have today. To squeeze our loved ones tighter, to wear our wrinkles with pride, to show off our scars as proof we survived, to let a grey hair peek through now and then, and my goodness to live. To full throttle, leave everything on the table, live.

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