I wake up in the morning and groggily talk myself into escaping from the warmth of the covers. It takes me walking a full step or two before the kink loosens from my lower back and even a few more steps before the arthritis that’s settling in my hip gives way. I walk into the bathroom, turn on the light, and look directly into the effects from the previous night. My face indicates the signs of a deep and restful sleep. I look down at my arms and notice that they’re clearly marked with sheet-imprints, and my hair is tousled and unmanageable, to say the least. I rub my eyes in circles with my fists; a last-ditch effort to fully awake to the day ahead. I glance ever so slightly back at the mirror and catch my true reflection, which is precisely when they stop me in my tracks.
I stagger forward toward the mirror for closer examination and I’m astounded at how thin the skin around my eyes has become. Was it always this way, I think? The lines of age are profound and while I can do my best to mask them with a day’s worth of makeup, I can’t forget they’re there. When did I grow old, I wonder?
I’m afraid that as the years continue to pass, my reflection will only mirror deeper lines and thinner skin right back at me. Yet just as the wrinkles I have now do, each future line will tell a story. And, when it comes down to it, isn't that the best part?
My life has been full and interesting and grace-filled, in every imaginable way. My wrinkles are from those endless amount of days when I cried myself to sleep – for my own heartache and for the heartache of others. And they’re also from those moments of being doubled over in a complete fit of laughter. From the smiles given to family and friends and then extended to complete strangers.
There are days when I want nothing more than to turn the odometer back, to reverse time and be as vibrant as those little kids who run and chase each other. But with each year and with each additional wrinkle, it's important to remember how we are growing to become more and more authentic.
And that, my friends, regardless of age, is the purest form of beauty.