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  • Heather Mistretta

A Wrinkle in Time…and a Smile

Updated: May 31, 2023

“People are more than just the way they look.”― Madeleine L'Engle

Disclaimer: No, that's not me in the photo.

I made the decision recently that I need to practice what I preach, most of the time. As a lifelong writer, I love telling and sharing stories of others—stories of success, heartache, overcoming obstacles, discovering a new passion, etc. I like to think that I’m a pretty good interviewer. Been told that I’m able to get people to share things they haven’t shared before. Perhaps it’s the lasting impact from my days as a journalist at Reuters in New York City.

But what about my own story?

Well, here I am. Don’t get too excited though. This isn’t a foray into a tell-all about my life, no sexy characters, famous people or daring feats. I’ve started that story many times but failed miserably. I am a pro at setting up roadblocks…and maybe one day I’ll move aside those roadblocks.

But for today, this story involves wrinkles, yes wrinkles.

Lately I’ve been getting down on myself. I have been lamenting about the wrinkles that seem to be creeping up over my face. I know I’m 53, but for some reason they have been bothering me. As a result, I avoid the camera, take only glances in the mirror, sunglasses are my friends.


Then I realized…yes, you might call this an epiphany of sorts...when I looked in the mirror, I noticed that my wrinkles were as a result of smiling and maybe even laughing—nearly 54 years-worth. What if I didn’t have these wrinkles, I thought. Maybe that would have meant that I didn’t smile or laugh very much. What a loss.

I also noticed that other wrinkles were on my furrowed brow, an indication of my determination and courage to overcome challenges, or maybe indications that I question things that don’t make sense or may be harming others.

Sigh…(something that doesn’t cause wrinkles).

I suddenly felt better about the crevices on my face, the sallow tone that some days replaces that rosy tone of yesteryear.

This may seem like a mundane observation, one that doesn’t really matter a whole lot. But I think it does.

We’re telling our young women and men that they are not good enough, that they can look better, that they can be smarter, more successful, have less wrinkles! That their mothers can look like their daughters (crazy, in my book)!

How about we shift the messaging to say, you are good enough just the way you are right now? You don’t need to buy one of the gazillion creams out there that tout they will make you look better (and believe me, I’m not innocent--I’ve fallen for that trap but fortunately at the time I was that single mom strapped for money and couldn’t afford the indulgence).

I’m not trying to make people who buy these creams feel badly. Who knows, maybe I will too when these wrinkles get deeper and start spreading even more. That’s not my point.

My point is why not embrace who you are right now. Be proud of those smile lines and those lasting effects of a furrowed brow. Then get out there and create more reasons in your life for more wrinkles and relish them.

I’ve shared this quote several times, but that’s only because I love it, and in this case, it fits:

“Everything you desire, crave, need and want is within us. You are your own soulmate and the time you spend in your own solitude, the beauty you find in your laugh lines, the time you take to not smooth those curves, but to love them, is maybe not what you were looking for but something you are blessed to have found.” —Seema Kapoor

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