A wrinkle in time is a wrinkle that’s fine

Christine Colleran

A few mornings ago I woke up with a wrinkle in my forehead. A real-live wrinkle. I stared into the mirror and pictured what I would look like at age 90, haggard and lined – possibly toothless (the mental image terrified me as well). I stretched and pleaded with my face but, alas, there the crevice remained for a good half an hour. While the wrinkle was temporary (probably the result of a disturbing dream in which someone ate all of my moose tracks ice cream), it threw me for a bit of a loop. Surely I wasn’t old yet?

I carried my wrinkly worries with me for the next few days, and took some time out of my weekly Meijer trip to peruse the anti-aging lotions and cremes. It couldn’t hurt to be preventative, to start fighting the aging process now. I mean, look at Hollywood (because that’s what we usually do, right?). It’s like an entire population has evaded Father Time, taken a quick dip in the fountain of youth, and stays up every night sanding off wrinkles with hundred dollar bills.

It’s really no wonder that society (myself included) has its knickers in a twist over the aging thing; we are comparing ourselves to the modern day Stepford wives (and husbands). I mean the people are literally plastic. New noses, a somewhat subtle breast lift, not-so-subtle implants, fake teeth so white and large that horses get jealous, hair plugs, extensions that put Herbal Essence commercials to shame…we can not compete. So we have to stop trying.

We have to remember that the anti-aging industry is first and foremost a business. They need us to feel old and ugly so that we buy their products. If we don’t feel badly about ourselves- the entire industry is out of a job. Doesn’t sound too pure at heart, does it? And while we could hardly be condemned for purchasing wrinkle cream here or there, we simply should not buy into the idea that we need the stuff to be beautiful.

Some of you may wonder why a twenty-one year old would write about wrinkles. Some of you may not have even experienced your first morning wrinkle yet (just wait for that one). Well, in a much more genuine way than the anti-aging industry, I am interested in prevention. We have to realize that our ideals and standards for beauty are mostly constructed by society, by the plastic Hollywood Stepford folk. It is important to realize this before we start wrinkling so that we don’t fall head first into the anti-aging industry when it does happen.

I asked the six year old I baby-sit what the word “old” meant. She replied, “Old is a grandma or grandpa. They are really, really, REALLY smart.” This is from a mind mostly untouched by society’s ideals and values. It’s a wonderful thing, the fact that she can still see the beauty in something that our culture has decided to hate: aging. All that a six year old sees in an older person is the love of a grandparent and wisdom. I don’t think that is something to run from.

[email protected]