A Smile Never Gets Old

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Over the summer my sister was gearing up to go to the wedding of a friend’s son. I asked her what she was going to wear. She proceeded to tell me her attire and jewelry options, and asked for my input. As per usual for our conversations, I cut to the chase.

“Don’t worry about it. You are just the friend of the mother of the groom. That is so low on the totem pole of attention. As long as you’re not naked, no one will notice you,” I advised her.

She wholeheartedly agreed. Frankly, it’s a bit of a relief to not have to try so hard. You can put on a dress, slap on some lipstick, run a brush through your hair and just blend into the background of anonymity. Unless you look especially awful or amazingly awesome, it doesn’t really matter. No one is looking at you that closely.

For me, the goal is to be reasonably hip and fashionably relevant without trying too hard, while dressing “my age.” Basically, if I don’t hate my reflection in the mirror, my husband finds me attractive, and my girlfriends think I look nice, I’m in business. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

Of course it’s disconcerting to catch a glimpse of “who is that old woman she looks so familiar oh my gosh it’s me” as you pass a mirror and notice your face slowly melting from the burden of prolonged gravitational pull. It’s no picnic to see pictures over the years which document your ascent to the prime of your life and your slow meander down the other side.

They say growing old’s not for sissies and I believe that to be true. But I think of so many people I know who didn’t have the opportunity to grow old. I remember them and try to navigate my own aging with grace. I hold up my wrinkly face, puff out my saggy chest, stand as tall as my shrinking skeleton will allow and walk proudly through life, seizing each day.

At least the smile on my face is the same. As I tell my kids, that’s what people notice more than anything else.