When I was a little girl, I was always attracted to older people with laugh lines. Those were the strangers that would smile at you, those were the people who would know how to cheer you up, those were the people quick to laugh and hug, and those were the people whose lifetime of laughter and fun were etched upon their faces. I loved following the deeply etched laugh lines of a face with my eyes and wondering what stories made them.
Then the inevitable growing up began, and when I was barely out of puberty I was told to start right now to avoid getting those nasty wrinkles when I was older. Even now, I am constantly bombarded by anti-wrinkle creams and friends lamenting the start of their dreaded crow’s feet. And that little girl inside me is looking at the corner of their eyes with her own eyes filled with tears, her lower lip trembling because to her those crow’s feet are just baby laugh lines and she still thinks they’re the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.
My favourite people still have the deepest, strongest laugh lines creasing through their face like rays of sunshine when they laugh. Sorry, folks, I want those. I want my middle-aged and older face to tell the story of a million peals of easy laughter and good times and joy, not a lifetime of worrying about wrinkles. I see those crow’s feet in the mirror and wonder to myself, am I laughing enough to earn those future badges of honour?
Am I laughing enough?
Am I laughing enough in this lifetime to become the sort of person little girls will recognize as a happy, joyful person? Or am I falling for the vanity I feel is imposed upon myself to become something that I’m not, something that is unhappy and unnatural, something that my childhood self would have pitied?
Nah. I’m having too much fun for that.