Around the time when I was 20 and thought I was pretty hot sh*t, I was fixing my hair in front of a mirror at a nightclub and received the meanest look of my life.
Standing next to me was a beautiful yet slightly wrinkled woman. She appeared to be in her 40s. She sized me up and scowled for what I believed to be sheer jealousy of my perfectly taut 20-year-old everything. I ate it up.
“I have my youth,” I pompously thought to myself—as if my perfect skin and youthful radiance would last an eternity.
10 years later, I stand in front of the bathroom mirror and face the fact that no, youth is not forever. My head is full of grays. My skin is not quite as lustrous as it used to be, and fine lines have appeared. Crows feet have made their stamp around my eyes. Sure, I’m only 30, but the natural and inevitable phenomenon of aging has begun.
I’ve yet to fully embrace this physical process; I dye my hair and use eye cream nightly. And my mom warns me that it will be hard to age gracefully once wrinkles are really in full effect. Nonetheless, I do absolutely love getting older. Each year I reach a new level of confidence, a new level of self-assuredness and a deeper understanding of my purpose. I’d never want to be any younger than I am, even if it meant I could revert to my youthful looks.
I’d rather have wrinkles.
I’ve started noticing that I’m not the only one of my friends who’s susceptible to the ravages of time. Those youthful faces I’ve known for 15 years are starting to show that they too have a few decades behind them. The men in my life are looking a little worn, no longer the baby-faced boys that I used to wish would hurry up and grow up.
Have they themselves noticed these changes? Probably. Does it bother them? Given our society’s fear of aging, I imagine it might. But I want you to know, dear girlfriends, guyfriends, lovers, peers and elders, that I think your crow’s feet are sexy.
When you smile and your eyes crinkle, I don’t see unattractive aging, but acquired wisdom. I see the years behind you, the growing up you’ve done. I see your life stories, your heartaches, your hard-earned triumphs. I see the mature shifts in your mentality and the expansion of your awareness. I see something incredibly sexy that I know has been a lifetime in the making.
I hope you see the same thing in yourself. And I hope that you see the same in me, too.
Aging is inevitable and we all succumb to it at one point or another. It’s a blessing, really; it brings on the opportunity for personal evolution.
My naive 20-year-old self has been through that process of evolution, upgraded for someone much wiser and self-assured (with much work yet to be done). Now when I look at myself in the mirror, I think with pride: “I have my age.”
Wisdom is sexy, even if it comes with crow’s feet.
Author: Julie Bernier
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Mike Kline/Flickr