One day you will look in the mirror and your eyes will look different. Not better not worse. Just different.
You will be around 29. Maybe more or less. But somewhere close to that.
“My eyes look different”, you will say to yourself. “I should probably be getting more sleep. Tonight I’ ll sleep earlier.”
The next day you wake up and your eyes are pretty. Fresh and healthy as though your body is happy. You gave it the beauty sleep it needed.
A few hours later, you will look in the mirror, just as you have done every single day for the last 20 years. But the same feeling will hinder your thoughts. “My eyes still look different. Maybe they still haven’t had enough sleep. This week I’m resting at all price. My laptop will remain shut down, I will sleep early, and not have one drink”.
The days pass by, and it seems as though your eyes are greedy. You have given them all you can, but something just doesn’t seem to want to change.
On a sunny afternoon a few weeks later, you are sipping coffee with your sister on the sidewalk of a café in your 20s favorite city, Paris. Your sister doesn’t live in Paris, she is visiting, and you’re helping her shop for her wedding. Of course, where else would a girl want to be for such an occasion if not in Paris. Rays of sunshine found their way to your table, through spaces in the branches of trees that filled the street, and sprinkled your faces with every color of a rainbow spectrum; a summery breeze caressed your hair. The insinuating coffee smell invaded your senses. It is now in every pore of your skin.
And there she is, your sister, as wise as she has ever been.
“Malda, my dear, oh wow, look at me here. You seem to have grown some wrinkles. Apparently we have seriously grown apart”.
“Wrinkles? Me? Where?”
You smile as if you had something more serious to deal with. You’re booking tonight’s dinner or chatting with some friends. As long as you are looking down at your phone and not in your sister’s face that just threw a fireball at you.
A few minutes later, you sneak inside hoping the bathroom of your favorite city’s random café has a mirror. And there you are, facing that moment, as unattainable as it had seemed. A moment you have heard about in movies, in TV commercials when they addressed the woman in the ageing market sector, a woman who somehow needed help to rejuvenate her skin and self confidence, a woman whom you thought of back then as old. A Woman who would now be, you.
And you realize that you have just written your life chapter of *how you grew old*.
Ever since, looking in the mirror stopped being the same. “I can lift my eyebrows. See? it works, they’re gone. No more wrinkles”. You will try to use your eyebrow muscles one time to lift the wrinkles up. Another time you will use your finger to lift the skin.
The months will pass trying to figure out the best anti ageing cream alive. You scour the internet for the best tips on how to fight wrinkles in your early 30s, and you then start adopting a healthier lifestyle. You quit smoking. You cut back on alcohol, you reduce long hours of late night work, you wash your face regularly before sleeping, and you apply all The creams you purchased to fight a penultimate reality. The reality that we are all ageing since the first day we were born.
But the few wrinkles you saw in the mirror were not your fear. It will take you sometime, but you will eventually realize that your fear is not about stopping to look pretty.
The looks are just the tip of the iceberg of the terror of ageing.
“Looks are concealable, correctable, and manageable”. You come to say to yourself. “My fear is deeper. My fear is something I can’t take control of. My fear is time.”
Suddenly, time seemed to matter. It has become quantifiable. You are now in a declared race with it. With every new wrinkle you see, you know a chunk of your time is being taken away.
Plans now started to look essential. As much as creams can help you stay young, so will life plans you will now start to choose wisely. Plans that will keep your spirit young, because it is doing what matters to her.
You are now putting your passion to work, growing happily every day, and allowing yourself to burn away as you light up the place.
You have now defined a road map and put it to work.
The holidays started coming and with every wrinkle you have added an hour to spend with your family; you have ditched everyone to welcome a new year with them, and as much as it used to be appealing to toss drinks with your friends you are sitting home and finishing the work you have always aspired to do.
You now look in the mirror as often as possible, not to be terrified from time, but to be reminded of its passing. And that you need to go back to finish what you started.
You now count on wrinkles to tell you about your progress. They became your best friends. And as you understood the game of life, wrinkles don’t scare you anymore.