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 Looking old is outdated, especially now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
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
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.