As someone who works covering beauty, it's a rarity to open my email inbox and *not* see something on anti-aging this or skin-firming that. But as I slowly creep closer and closer to my thirties, I've noticed more and more of my friends and colleagues and fellow writers worrying—nay, agonizing—over the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We write about wrinkles (and you read it—because you care, too!), we wonder what causes us to get wrinkles, we create studies to figure out how to avoid wrinkles, and we develop products to stop wrinkles from forming. We talk about wrinkles, lines, crow's feet, creases—whatever—as casual conversation. We wonder if we're being crazy by thinking about them all the time. We look at ourselves in mirrors to see if we've gotten one, or two, or five. We look into cures, like Botox, so that any wrinkles which we have are melted away. We share horror stories about wrinkles, and tips on how to avoid them, and comment on stories that tell us the magic formula to staying wrinkle-free.
And I get it. As we get older, our skin changes. It's scary—and sometimes downright depressing. But sometimes, I wish that we'd just take a moment and stop worrying about those lines and folds. To appreciate the fact that wrinkles generally mean you're gaining years and experience and wisdom. That wrinkles mean you're alive and you're here and you're human. God forbid you have evidence that you're living.
I'm not the only one who thinks embracing wrinkles is important. Many celebrities have come out to say 1) they want to age without, um, help (i.e. plastic surgery) and 2) that they've come to realize there are more important things to worry about.
"I know it's a cliché, but I really do subscribe to the 'age gracefully' thing," Gwyneth Paltrow told Stylist magazine. "You can fight it to a degree, but I accept the beauty of being a grown woman and the wisdom that comes with it. I'd rather die than be studying my face."
Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone, and Jane Seymour have also all spoke candidly about their desire to keep their *own* face—and to have it naturally age. Wrinkles and all. Helen Mirren—also a real-life aging (yes, even with wrinkles) advocate might have said it best: "I don't often wish that I'm younger because I think that it's pretty cool to be older. What I love the most about being older is that lovely I don't give a f*ckness kind of thing. All you young things don't be afraid of getting older because it's f*cking great."
I'm not going to go on and on about how wrinkles can be beautiful. This isn't a Chicken Soup for the Soul book and I'm not a motivational speaker. And honestly, I hope you're taking good care of your skin and staying out of the sun. Because those are important things. But I will say this: When I think about wrinkles, I often think back to my Mamaw's hands when I was smaller—when I would hold them up to my face or squeeze them to show I was listening. When I would trace the grooves up to her wedding band and back down. I think about my mom's eyes when she laughs. I think about how, as she gets older, she looks more and more like her mother. How I hope that one day, my grandkids will think that I look like them, too.
But the one thing I don't think about? Beauty. Because it's all still there—wrinkles or not.
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