“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain
Life is a mosaic of a million smaller moments. Every experience from our past critically fits to complete the overall picture of our lives; and the possibility our lives hold as we go forward.
Some moments are extraordinarily beneficial: like the first time you learned to tie your shoes. Other moments are packed with wonderful memories: like my family playing at the beach on vacation last week.
There are countless other moments that fill your mosaic; the ones in which you experienced challenge and adversity; that you’ve completely forgotten; and still those that changed the course of your life.
The sum of your moments is both the composite of the life you’ve lived and the foundation for the life you can imagine for tomorrow. Last week, I overheard commentary on the television about a celebrity that completely defied this truth.
“She looks great, so youthful! Sixty-years-old, look at those legs, and not a wrinkle on her face. I am jealous!”
I stood there, getting ready for work, wishing I could step into the television, join the conversation and say, “By 60, if you don’t have wrinkles on your face it’s not the sign of youthfulness; it is evidence of surgery.”
My friend, your wrinkles are reminders of your perfectly imperfect life and journey. They tell stories of difficult yesterdays you survived.
They remind you of challenges faced growing up, losing loved one, struggling through adversity, enduring pain and rising above it all. They remind you that life can be challenging, but remains an absolute gift.
Your wrinkles serve as a map of the numerous blessings enjoyed along the journey, too.
They were first born in those big smiles from your childhood birthday parties and class pictures. They grew during those cheeky, constant grins of adolescence. They made their first appearance during a graduation, party or romance during your early adult life.
Your wrinkles expanded during moments of inspiration: the first time you saw mountains, your amazement over the grandeur of the ocean, your awe observing a sunset. They broadened during pregnancy, holding that little baby and wondering when she grew up without you knowing it.
Each moment, experience, heartache and celebration etches itself into your soul and surfaces beautifully through the the wrinkles on your face. These wrinkles aren’t to be disdained but celebrated!
What if in seeing them in the mirror you remembered the moments of great joy when you thrived? What if they reminded you of moments of total bliss? What if they reminded you of intense pain and how you are still here, still standing, still fighting and wiser than ever?
Instead of hiding from your wrinkles: celebrate them.
Today, make sure you make a few new wrinkles. Let your smile lines give away the joy that is in your heart, in your past and in your future! People may not remark on your legs or wrinkle-free face, but be assured they will be ignited by your joy and inspired to discover it for themselves.
What is one moment you’ve had in which a wrinkle was born? Could be the last time you saw old friends and laughed for hours reminiscing or a recent medical diagnosis that made you dig deeper and work harder than ever before. Whatever wrinkle-starting moment it is: share it with us in the comments on my blog and with your friends and family. This is the moment to celebrate our lives and our wrinkles.
0 replies on “The Sign of a Life Well-Lived”
I agree…wrinkles are evidence of everything good and bad that we have lived through. My biggest wrinkle moment was losing my Mom to a massive heart attack at age 52. It devasted my family – it certainly gave us wrinkles. But, it also gave me strength and I’m a much stronger person because of it!
Thank you, Shelly, for sharing your wrinkles and your strength. Keep creating wrinkles and igniting life! J
I totally agree!! Like Linda, I am also a “survivor”. I was diagnosed the first time in 1996, the 2nd in 1998, and the 3rd in 2003. My husband was diagnosed in 2003 as well. According to statistics I am well past my expected life span! I LOVE to celebrate birthdays and I look forward to growing old. Whenever I hear someone complain about “getting older” I gently remind them that our life is a gift and I, for one, am THRILLED to have lots of birthdays!
Sweet Gina, congratulations you are a champion! Keep enjoying those birthdays and celebrating EACH day. Thank you for taking the time to share. J
I am an ovarian cancer survivor (20 years) who has witnessed many young people dying from various diseases, especially cancer. I am a youthful 56-year-old woman who does not possess a lot of wrinkles. I have endured many hardships in life, and I am proud of the wrinkles I do have, as they bear testimony to the fact that I am still here. There are many people who would have loved to trade places with me and say that they would like to have lived long enough to see lines appear upon their own faces. I am blessed and constantly reminded that each day is a precious, precious gift that should never be taken for granted, even when inevitable hardships present themselves. I am very grateful for the wrinkles I do have, as they serve to remind me everyday of God’s mercy in preserving my life.
Linda, what a beautiful testimony to the gift that life is to each of us. Thank you for sharing,for celebrating your wrinkles and for sharing your appreciation for life with those in your life. Keep igniting life. J
I agree 99% of the time surgery is the reason people don’t show their age. There is that 1% of people like my Grandmother who while she earned many wrinkles in her life died at the age of 87 without displaying one on her face.
When I think back to some of my amazing moments in life I think of her and wonder what she would say today. What would she think of my boys and my husband. She had lost four of her five children before leaving this world, her fifth child being my Mother. She lost her husband and her son all on the same day and both of a heartattack.
However, she showed such grace and beauty. She is and will always be my favorite person. She understood me so completely and I only hope I can be as great a Grandmother in my day as she was to me.
So while I do agree that wrinkles tell many a story of a person, sometimes it isn’t the whole story. Sometimes you’ll find a rare person that filtered her distress so that only she knew of the wrinkles underneath.
Debra, what beautiful words. How blessed you were to have such a loving grandma who understood you so deeply. We are blessed by our role models and it is so important to remember we too are role models for others! Keep holding onto her beautiful spirit and thank you for all that you do. J
I agree totally John. Wrinkles are the lines of wisdom and love. Just like a an old truck that is well used, you see the beauty of the imperfect body with dents, failing paint, torn upholstery, and bumpers if not missing one all together and can only wonder in amazement of where it has traveled and what it has carried.
I think I need to have my wife remove the fabric dryer sheets from the laundry to bring this point out in our clothes.
Have a blessed day, Steve
Thanks for sharing, Steven! You are right; the wrinkles are evidence of the beautiful journey we’ve traveled in life. Ha! Good luck with the dryer sheets. Have a great day! J