Yesterday, I was sitting on my office floor reading Furiously Happy (which you should absolutely read, unless you’re repulsed by the f-bomb and really random stories about everything from surprise funerals to taxidermied racoons) and blow-drying my hair when I caught my reflection in my little round mirror.
Except it didn’t look like my reflection at all; it looked like one of those old lady dolls people used to make out of pantyhose. Please tell me you know what I’m talking about. (I googled “pantyhose dolls” to be sure they’re actually a thing, and they are. Or were, anyway. Oh, and if you choose to google “pantyhose dolls” be prepared to erase your browsing history, because, well, ew. You’ll see what I mean if you google it. But don’t.) (Side note: Pantyhose is right up there with moist in terms of worst words ever.)
ANYWAY. Up until about three years ago, people were all, “No way! You can’t have high-school-age kids!” And I was all, “Yes way! And thank you!” and that is no longer happening because my face is like a relief map of the Grand Canyon. No, I am not exaggerating. My reflection was startling. I mean, I knew I was more lined-up than several of my high school classmates (who apparently don’t age at all and I’m looking at you Lori), but until that moment—with all that natural light coming in through my 10 giant office windows—I didn’t realize that I have more wrinkles than my 69-year-old mother.
I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so here’s a photo.
Go ahead: Click on it to enlarge it, and start counting. I told you!
I sat there and stared at that mirror for several, long moments. I let my face muscles totally relax. I recounted countless sunburns and sleepless nights. I got pissed off because I know life-long smokers with better skin than I have. I thought about all the gazillion-dollar “solutions” on the market—creams and serums and potions designed to take years off my face.
And then I said, out loud, “Oh, who the hell cares?” and went back to reading my book and drying my hair.
I’ve earned my wrinkles. They have stories. (Well, except for the one under my nose. I have no idea what causes a wrinkle to appear there, and if it’s some strange facial expression I make, I’d rather not know.) My forehead lines, for example, started forming 125 years ago in middle school, which is when I discovered that raising my eyebrows made my eyes look bigger (and, according to Teen magazine, better), so I walked around looking perpetually surprised. For all I know, I’m still doing it.
That “Oh, who the hell cares?” moment was so freeing that I’m looking for other things to which I can apply it. My gray hair. The extra 10 pounds I’m carrying around. The fact that the stones in my engagement and wedding rings aren’t real diamonds. (Intentionally. I can’t be trusted with nice things.) The lack of seasonal soaps in my bathrooms. The windowsills I haven’t cleaned in a decade. (Go ahead and say, “Gross!” but here’s the thing: I never look at them. No one ever looks at them. When we’re ready to sell this house and move into our tiny home, I’ll clean them as a courtesy to the next owners, but for now? Who the hell cares?)
This is freeing, you guys. It’s like I’m flipping the bird at Cosmo, HGTV, The Shane Company, and Bath and Body Works AT THE SAME TIME.
All that crap consumes so much time, energy, and resources. If I say, “Who the hell cares?” to the right things, I’ll have more to offer the actual right things—which, by the way, aren’t things at all. They’re people.
So there you have it: The wrinkles are staying. They remind me of who I should be.