It’s Time to Let Those Wrinkles Take Their Places

Turning 50?
As I approach the completion of my first half a century of life on this earth, I start to wonder what happened to all that time that used to stretch out before me when I climbed trees and gazed at my hazy future.

I have reached the age where I prefer to climb mountains rather than trees (I can use my walking sticks for balance); where my students ask me if I remember what World War II was like and accuse me of being the same age as my mother.

I suppose the good news is, I probably won’t live to be 100, so I’ve already survived my mid-life crisis and the other side of the hill should be a breeze. My one regret so far in life remains in all the time I’ve wasted.

I’ve wasted time fretting because I didn’t have bell-bottom pants like all the other girls in fifth grade. I wasted time scheming and scrimping money so I could buy a pair of Candies high heel shoes (cheap, uncomfortable things) because everyone else had a pair in junior high. I let precious moments slip through my fingers because I wanted to leave the house with every hair in place and a flawless face—because that’s what girls in high school did. I worried about relationships (or lack thereof), and perused magazines that promised to teach me everything I needed to know to attract the opposite sex, have a meaningful relationship and get him to pop the question. I poured over books that purported to have the formula for raising perfect children, holding my dream job and becoming a millionaire by flipping real estate. Ha!

But the closer I come to God, the more I realize that time operates differently than we perceive it. I needed those ‘wasted’ times in order to grow. The waiting times and the wasted times have always produced growth and self-realization (unfortunately, some of those times—like the raccoon-like use of eye-liner—have been recorded for posterity on film).

Now that I rock on the crest of the downhill slide, I realize I’ve declared my independence from many of the things that made my uphill climb so difficult. I only eat what I like. I exercise because I love the way it makes me feel (ok, and I’m a little competitive). I quit wearing make up and dying my hair about eight years ago. I haven’t worn high heels in over ten years. I sing in class (my screechy voice keeps my students on the edge of their seats). I quit using a blow dryer, curling iron and curlers.

I finally realized that the important part of me is what I’ve spent developing on the inside. Click To Tweet

I finally realized that the important part of me is not what people see on the outside, but what I’ve spent developing on the inside. I don’t need to cover up my wrinkles, because wrinkles are time stamps of character. When I grow up, I want to be the old lady swinging from the grape vines and laughing with glee over a life well lived.

I don’t need to cover up my wrinkles, because wrinkles are time stamps of character. Click To Tweet

What about you? How does time feel for you?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Anita, I LOVED this post. I wore plaid boy/girl bell bottoms because we didn’t have the money to buy new girl-only pants. (I wore the same pair of pants to school as a boy did one day . . . plaid=disaster for the already-picked-on-girl). Candies? Oh yeah, I had a pair, because they were the cool shoes. Never mind that my feet killed me in them, and I’m pretty sure I tripped on more than one occasion. 🙂

    On the serious side, I’m closing in on 50 too. And it’s taken me until this current decade to realize who I am and be comfortable with who God made me to be. I loved what you said about how the wasted time always producing growth. I hadn’t thought about that before.

    Happy almost birthday. 🙂
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Time: Time Is a GiftMy Profile

    • I feel your pain, Jeanne! I sewed a lot of my own clothes and once purchased some cheap striped fabric that I really liked. I got hesitant compliments and smiles when I wore the dress I made from it, and it took me about two years to realize that I had purchased Wendy’s restaurant uniform fabric…did I mention that my hair was pretty red when I was younger, and that I had freckles? ;).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Meet the Ultimate Blood DonorMy Profile

  • Wrinkles. I don’t like them. But I like them more after reading your post, friend. You’re brilliant here with this word – time. You knocked it out of the ballpark. I love and appreciate your perspective, your heart, your zest for life! Happy (almost) Birthday! I’m celebrating you today!
    Julie Lefebure recently posted…Five Minute Friday – TimeMy Profile

  • Yes indeed…a life well lived. So much THIS: “I finally realized that the important part of me is not what people see on the outside, but what I’ve spent developing on the inside.” I’m over in the #11 spot tonight.
    Tara recently posted…It’s Clearly Time!My Profile

  • Don

    BWahaaa! Just wait until your hair starts falling out, too, it’s in your genes you know. Good thing you gave up curlers and hair dye. Perhaps when you get to be as old as your old man, you’ll have about as many “character stamps” as me, also.
    Love you baby, even as you age so gracefully.
    Poppy Don

  • Always liked the motto, live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.

    Looks like I get my wish.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 106 – Time To Worry {FMF}My Profile

  • Love this! Especially “When I grow up, I want to be the old lady swinging from the grape vines and laughing with glee over a life well lived.”
    Yeah! Me, too. And it’s about time for me to jump onto the grape vines!
    Sylvia R recently posted…It’s High Time…!My Profile

  • Me too, Anita, loved this! I’m ahead of you by 8 years- OH MY! I can’t even believe it and don’t care much to see it in print or the mirror some days. But the things we learn while wasting time can turn into polished gems. I want to be like you when I grow up, k? 😉
    Debby recently posted…Five-Minute Friday (time)My Profile

    • Don

      A mirror? Who uses one of those as they grow old? I don’t much care for that OLD person staring back at me when I get near one.

    • Haha! We can be crazy old ladies together ;).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Meet the Ultimate Blood DonorMy Profile

  • I really like this. Thats the beauty of time. Hopefully it sifts out the crap and synthetic things we have been holding tightest and boils us down to who we really are. And we are finally ok with it. Hopefully. Its always sad to see an older person very uncomfortable in their own skin.
    Somer recently posted…TimeMy Profile

    • Too true! We have to experience life and let time sort out the junk (and I think it happens faster when we have a God-directed screen for the shake-down).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…The Last Word on My Mental IllnessMy Profile

  • That’s it right here: “I needed those ‘wasted’ times in order to grow. The waiting times and the wasted times have always produced growth and self-realization”

    Time has a way of teaching us and as we grab onto the idea that this isn’t wasted but useful then we grow!

    Good stuff, Anita! Thanks for sharing with us!
    Happy Friday to you!
    Rachel recently posted…When we’re not happy with where we areMy Profile

  • Oh, what a wonderful post! I just passed my quarter life crisis and yet I wonder about time. I loved every word of your post, just being confident and satisfied with where you are now, even accepting the wasted times from the past. Here’s to the future!

  • Your words got me laughing 🙂 Thanks for sharing your take on time and how only the inside stuff matters.

  • I remember those Candies that I worked to buy – and then was silly enough to wear them to work! LOL I didn’t wear them long (plus I was already taller than everyone else without them). Happy Birthday! I believe in celebrating each year – and not moaning the fact the numbers are ticking up (I’m 53). There’s so much wisdom in your post – about aging with grace! Blessings to you in your new year!

  • yes..I’m way over the hill now..and still disturbed by the changing skin that droops and wrinkles more each year! But I think of all the women in the Bible..did they fret like we did about aging, or did they thank God for making them more wise, closer to Him? Wonderful post! Welcome to the 50s!! Saw your note on twitter to Holly Gerth about #coffeefortheheart posting..couldn’t find it, but glad I found your post!