Sep 282004
 
Authors: Kelly Hagenah

Thanks to the revelation of reality makeover television,

cosmetic surgery has gone from appalling to appealing. Facelifts

have become as common as facials, and it is no longer a surprise

when people stop aging. Looking old is outdated, especially now

that life’s most natural advancements can be easily avoided by new

artificial postponements.

When did wrinkles become a target to make people feel old and

ugly? Why does the notion of growing older make us shudder? When

are we going to learn to appreciate the art of aging?

Wrinkles are the result of a happy and memorable lifetime. They

are a gift of significant wisdom and empowerment that we are only

able to receive as we age throughout time. While wrinkles may be a

sign of growing old, I like to think of them as a symbol of a long

life, lived well.

I have always loved to people-watch, and some of my favorite

observations have been our elders. Their faces have such a depth

that I find myself wondering about the long life they have lived.

When they tell stories their eyes light up and their foreheads

crease with amusement. The sound of their laughter is made that

much more joyous as their smile grows toward each ear. While

wrinkles may encompass their faces, it isn’t old age that I notice,

but rather the stunning characteristics they bring out instead.

Now, I watch as my own parents grow weary of their wrinkles, and

as friends begin to wonder what they will look like down the road.

It breaks my heart to see such beautiful people look at themselves

with disappointment and worry. Especially when the cause of their

anxiety is only the result of what has brought and will bring so

much joy and so many memories to their life.

The wrinkles around your eyes aren’t from being tired, but

rather, living proof that you have seen things you will never

forget. Your eyes have squinted into the sun on a beautiful summer

day as you took comfort in the knowledge that you had nothing to

do. They have been opened as wide as possible as you stared at

something so incredible it was hard to believe. And they have

laughed. Your eyes have laughed along with you since your first

giggle as a newborn. You’ve laughed so hard that you had to squeeze

them shut because you had no control not to. These wrinkles come

not from being tired of life, but from loving every moment.

Then there are those wrinkles around your mouth. Maybe you think

they are from frowning or pulling at your face when stressed, but

no, they come from better, unforgettable times. These lines come

from food that tasted so incredible you couldn’t stop chewing. They

come from smiling. Smiling at the results of an accomplishment, or

from being surprised, happy, giddy, accomplished or in love. These

wrinkles come from the millions of conversations you’ve carried

with friends, family and strangers – the sad, funny, happy,

interesting, entertaining, shocking and easy conversations that

have shaped your life. These wrinkles can only come from living

your life.

As my parents venture into their senior citizen discounts, and

we begin to worry about preventing old age, I can only hope that

one day soon we will realize that wrinkles are simply just evidence

of a long and happy life. As we have all recently learned, there

are so many unfortunate incidents that stop a person from having

the opportunity to grow old.

Growing old is an art. Our life begins as a clean slate that has

not yet been touched by the magic of life. As we age, our

experiences create who we are, and it is the colors we paint our

lives with that turn into wrinkles. We need to appreciate them, and

keep them as a reminder of every moment, every memory and every

day, because not everyone is lucky enough to have wrinkles.

Kelly Hagenah is a senior technical journalism major. Her column

runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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