Under the strong light of a morning mirror, I note the deepening lines at the top of my upper lip. Who is this person? I don’t remember growing older. My body might feel older. I struggle a little to climb out of a car. My bones and muscles often ache in ways both new and familiar. Where has time gone? What has it done to me?
The passage of time taunts me with a brash familiarity.
As much as I want to break free of its grip entirely, I know that is not possible. We are creatures of time. Time doesn’t capture us in amber, preserving us for all eternity. We are ashes and to ashes we shall return.
This thought is too heavy to hold while crunching a bowl of cereal. Forgetting the morning mirror, I sit down to write, to collect my thoughts, to find my center again in a world that seems to be moving too fast. Escape isn’t possible. The memory of the morning’s sighting of the deep lines around my mouth haunts me like a silly tune I can’t forget.
My mind shuffles through its list of music like an old jukebox perused by an impatient teen-age girl. She knows nothing of wrinkles and yet she picks “The Days of Wine and Roses” as the tune for the morning. I scoff at her selection. She can be cavalier about aging. I can not. Soon, I want to yell at this girl. How could she be so cruel? How could she pick a song that puts salt in my morning wound? And yet, the melody soothes as it teases me about my age.
Memories carry me away. The song pulls me in and I remember love. . . loves both lost and found. I remember the feeling of isolation and loneliness that haunted so many of my years. I remember the joy of new adventures and sharing of the good times. Some of the people from the past stand beside me now. Bittersweet feelings of gratitude and loss blend. This is the benefit of time, the knowing that “everything will pass,” knowing that you can feel many contradictory things at once and still survive, still maintain a center and a sense of self.
There are things worse than growing older. Not growing at all. Dying.
Wrinkles and the bittersweet passage of time are no longer just reasons to mourn losses. They are also reasons to celebrate. My spirit goes dancing. The “Days of Wine and Roses” plays in the background. All is right with the world, with time and with wrinkles. Things are as they should be.