It was summer–sunny and warm and heavenly. I must’ve been five years old, sitting with my grandma on her back deck. She lived in a beautiful cabin overlooking one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York.
“Grandma, you’ve got a lot of wrinkles,” I giggled.
She smiled, “and I’m proud of every single one of them.”
proud of every single one
Centuries of evolution have shaped humans to be finely tuned to each other’s facial expressions. We like emotive faces because they show us what the other person is feeling. That’s why when someone smiles at us, it’s such a high, and when they frown, a small panic sets in.
For years, vanity kept me from smiling with my eyes, squinting when I couldn’t see, or frowning in concentration. I was terrified of getting wrinkles.
Then I met more people, people who had wrinkles. I realized their wrinkles don’t detract, and they certainly don’t make them ugly. If anything, they give people depth, and I don’t love them any less. So I smile with my eyes now. I frown when I’m confused, and I squint in the sun.
And if that means I get crows feet, I’ll learn to be proud of every single one.