It was a snowy, grey January day in 2012. The bitter cold had chased me into a mall, where I wandered and tried on pieces that would never hang in my closet. I sauntered into the money pit known as Sephora and asked a friendly sales associate to help me find a REALLY moisturizing moisturizer. During the cold winter months while I try desperately to evacuate this state, my skin tries desperately to evacuate my face. The associate pointed me to a shelf of products and recommended one. But that wouldn’t be a very interesting story all by itself, would it? Somewhere in that dark abyss of a skull, she decided it would be a good idea to let me know that the $60 jar of lotion wouldn’t just help with the dry skin, it would also “help with those fine lines.”
Ahem. Uh. Excuse me? WHAT DID YOU SAY JUST THEN? FINE LINES? I’M NOT EXACTLY SURE WHO YOU ARE LOOKING AT, BUT IT IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT ME. PEOPLE AT THE GROCERY STORE MISTAKE ME FOR MY DAUGHTER’S NANNY. ONE TIME A GUY KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AND ASKED IF MY DAD WAS HOME BECAUSE I DON’T LOOK OLD ENOUGH TO OWN A HOUSE. FINE LINES?! I’LL SHOW YOU A GODDAMNED FINE LINE!
And my face looked something like this:
Then me and my fine lines got right the F out of that stupid store. I was in my mid-twenties and not prepared to start wrinkling up like a prune.
Age is an odd thing. We spend years desiring only to be older. We’ll have more money and freedom when we’re older, and we’ll get life all figured out. I watched A LOT of infomercials as a child (still don’t have the Ron Popiel Rotisserie Oven by the way. You just set it and forget it!) and I couldn’t wait to turn 18 so I could order all of the amazing crap I saw on TV.
When we start showing signs of aging we fight them like cancer. We take vitamins and change our diets and we rub on chemicals and shoot our faces with serums.
Just before Thanksgiving I got a phone call from my doctor’s office. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details because LADY PARTS! but I woke up to my phone buzzing away. I had a voicemail from the head nurse at my Doctor’s office letting me know that I needed to call her back right away. I had some abnormal cells, and she told me that they could just be pre-cancerous dysplasia. It wasn’t nothing. It was something I couldn’t ignore. It was at least pre-cancer. They needed me to come in for a biopsy within the next two weeks. I’m no good with news like this. I’m an assumer of the worst.
Suddenly everything was up in the air. Could I take care of Ellie if I had to go through a surgery or treatments? Would I be able to have more kids (I’m not even sure I want more, but I’d like the option at least)? Would I have to call my parents for help?
I kept thinking about how young I am. I haven’t traveled internationally. I haven’t saved enough for Ellie to go to college. I haven’t hosted a Christmas. I haven’t experienced a happy marriage. I don’t have enough wrinkles yet.
I’m grateful that I don’t need a procedure right now, and will just require tests in the future. As it turns out, that nurse is a bit of an alarmist and she shouldn’t be allowed to call patients with news.
My outlook on age changed that day. Instead of thinking, “Gah. I’m almost 30!” I started thinking “Shit. I’m not even 30 yet!” Our experiences turn to wrinkles, and I want more of them.