birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Laugh Lines

When I was in my twenties, flush with a dewy complexion that would illicit compliments from strangers, I would see commercials and magazine ads for face lifts and all manner of products to stave off the “ravages” of getting older. And I would scoff. I am not a scoffer by nature, but absent any context, I would judgmentally proclaim with false empathy, “I will never get a face lift or plastic surgery. Women should embrace getting older, accept their lines and winkles as evidence of a life filled with laughter and living.” Oy!

Now, I am in my fifties, and I have lots of context. And more often then I care to admit, I found myself looking in the mirror, tugging at my skin and wondering what a little ‘work’ could do. And when faced with TV commercials with a beautiful woman touting the latest anti-aging cream, I often find myself saying out loud with great indignation, “You’re twelve! You don’t use that product!”

The irony is I do love my laugh lines. I love that my nose crinkles in exactly that same way as my grandmother’s. I am comfortable with the smile lines at the outside of my eyes; less so with the furrow between my brows or the rings around my neck. I am wrestling with what it means to grow old gracefully.

I often have lunch with my ex mother-in-law; she is 95 and lives in a senior care community. She always has lunch with the same group of ladies at what I call the Queen’s table; the youngest member is 83. I love to listen to them gossip and plot and giggle. And lately I have found myself thinking how every resident in that dining room has already been every age I have been. I search their faces trying to see a younger version; I wonder if they do the same.

Cool Stuff, Forgotten

Mother Daughter Eyes