The Right Kind of Wrinkles

The other day I was at a restaurant with my friends. I was making a comment about how I look angry when I relax my eyebrows completely, so I find myself in the habit of always having my eyebrows half-raised so that I look friendlier to everyone around me. My friend laughed and said, “You’d better watch out or you’ll get wrinkles!”

That is the warning from society today, “Watch out! You’ll get wrinkles!” When I searched ‘smile lines’ on Google, it came up with pages and pages of links to Botox surgery and anti-aging cream. Everything online was about getting rid of or avoiding smile lines and wrinkles. Never once did I see a post that said, “Embrace and enjoy them.” But something that I saw online once a while back has stuck out more in my mind than all of the ads for Botox and plastic surgery I’ve ever seen on Google. It was a Facebook post of a newly engaged couple’s picture. The girl was young and beautiful. You would’ve thought she was one of the Botox consumers by the look of her porcelain, flawless skin. But in the picture she was genuinely laughing with her fiancé, and slight lines formed at the corners of her mouth. You could tell it wasn’t the first time this guy had made her smile. The caption read, “I'm starting to get smile wrinkles. Worth it.” Isn’t it worth it? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives? Laughing, playing, and loving so hard that our joy is creased into our faces?

So what are people afraid of? What should people be avoiding? I would say you should be avoiding the wrinkles that come from furrowing your brow at a disobedient child, from frowning in anger at an imperfect spouse, or from stressing over your bills and the unimportant things in life; but don’t miss out on the joys of life to preserve your youthful look.

I’ll never forget a boy I met in junior high who had deep wrinkles at the corners of his eyes at only the age of 14 because he never stopped smiling at people in the hallways or laughing hard at good jokes. No one ridiculed his wrinkles, but rather found them charming. People looked forward to those wrinkles every day. Would you really give up laughing with your spouse, working outside with your children, or brightening someone’s day with a friendly eyebrow raise merely to preserve your tight skin? I can promise that people will notice a glowing smile over a small crease.

Forget the Botox and the anti-aging cream. I propose a new kind of beauty; a kind of beauty that doesn’t try to trap people in the past, but embraces the past, relishes the present, and looks toward the future. Don’t fear aging. People will forget your wrinkles, but they will always remember the moments that made them. I hope you grow into a withered, tanned, calloused, wrinkly old person. I hope you can wear your wrinkles like a memoir of your life’s journey and that for every wrinkle you flaunt, I hope you can say, “I earned that!”

(By: Liana Tan, BYUradio Segment Producer for "The Matt Townsend Show")