Aging

I had one of those fun moments the other day, when I was completely out of sync with the world around me. An innocent conversation among friends took the dreaded turn to topics I am either completely unprepared for or blissfully uninterested in delving in to. This time it led to wrinkles. And try as I may to simple smile and nod while others contributed, inevitably one caring friend sought to include me by turning and asking, “What do you use on your face?” 

Now, there are times I’m anxious to step up as the odd man out, and then there are other times I wish to simply blend in to the crowd. I blame that instinct on moving often and adapting to new cultures. Blending in leads to people feeling like you belong. Well, with this one simple question I was trapped. No matter how talented I am at avoiding these inquiries, smiling, nodding, and muttering “yeah” wasn’t going to pass as an answer. So after one big sigh for extra courage, it was time to face the music.

“Well, sometimes I wash my face with baking soda, and I’ll do a rinse with apple cider vinegar every once in a while if I think of it.” In some crowds this wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. But not with this Southern California group. Staying young is an art form in this region. And to be honest, I’m often very impressed by how people take care of themselves here. But right away I recognized that face. It’s the face with a delicate mix of confusion, amusement, suspicion and pity. I’ve seen it often. 

“Oh. Well, what does your family use?” I’m not fully sure how this is the follow up question, but perhaps it’s their way of figuring out if I’m a weird offshoot branch or if I come from an odd tree. Well, the answer is pretty simple: we’re all a bit different, and that’s what I love about us. My mom has used a bar of soap for 30+ years and has never regretted it. Granted, she was blessed with good skin. My dad, not so much. Guess which one I take after. Yeah… dad won out. 

But to be honest, I don’t come from a family who fears aging. I never saw either of my parents worry about new signs showing their increasing years of experience. If anything, dad would jokingly brag about the new grey hairs he earned. I blame my siblings for those. The only talk of wrinkles that I remember centered around the importance of living a life that left you with laugh lines. I often heard my mom proclaim that she had earned every wrinkle she ever developed. 

Now, I love the way I was raised, and wouldn’t change it, no matter how long it kept me tapped in to the fountain of youth. But I am anxious to understand the other side of this issue. Remember this is a no judgement zone here, and there are many, many ways to be human and we all have the chance to learn from each other. So I’d love to hear your feedback. What do you find most valuable about fighting off the wrinkles and covering up the grey hairs? Is it a way to reflect your inner vibrancy on the outside? Does it help build confidence with those around you? Do you find it fun to keep people guessing about your age? I’d love to learn from you about your reasons to fight back against the aging process! So share in the comments below.

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