I look at my face and see that gravity has already wrought change upon me. My smile, my cheeks, my eyes—they’re not what they were ten years ago. I am still young, but I can feel and see the inevitable fading of my youth.
I pull back that looser skin on my face and think about operations and injections that would give me more time; save me from this all-too-rapid descent into age. When I pull back that skin I see how I looked five years ago. My lips fuller, eyes more open. I am terrified of losing what I have left. And yet…there’s this rebellious part of me that feels strangely excited by this change.
Why must it be rebellious? This excitement I cannot help but want to push away; my pride for seeing my face mature before my very eyes. Proof that I am wisening, improving, growing; proof that I have gained these extra lines and loosened flesh because I have laughed and lived. Why should I be afraid of living more?
I think of those who have died young; those who never saw these changes etch upon their face.
If they could see me pulling back my skin to look as though I’ve never aged—what would they say?
They’d probably say that I am missing out on a great opportunity, the opportunity to grow old. And they’d be right. I should take joy in every slight change, and remind myself it is not a declination, but a ripening. An adventure. I should count each splotch and line like stars in the sky, bewildered at the vastness of my existence, and my tenacity to have lived all the days I have, and feel excitement for the collection of marks to come.
And so from this day on, this is what I say to growing older:
(and you should, too)