I love wrinkles

In March, while I was on a book tour, I was also on a blog tour.  Random House set it up with the lovely Dorothy, who had me contributing guest essays at blogs around the web.  

But it all went too fast.  I was racing from town to town, blog to blog.  And I promised myself I’d do a best-of later, when I could savor it more.

So here is a favorite post from the tour.  It originally appeared at In Bed With Books.

My friend Nicole's restaurant, Adrift.

My friend Nicole's restaurant, Adrift.

March 11, 2009

The Lives We Hoped For


I just had my birthday.  I turned 37, and now I am old.  Boom.  Just like that. 

I knew it was coming: 37.  Though I wasn’t thinking about it too much—or even seeing it as a Big Birthday, the way 40 will be.  It was just another birthday, and, like with many things in life—a due date, say, or a book coming out—it snuck up on me.

I’ve always been struck at how not-at-all different you are when your birthday finally arrives after all that buildup.  It’s almost a letdown.  You wake up, and you’re still just you.  Same old, same old.

But this year, washing my face just before I woke my kids for school, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw wrinkles.  Deep, significant, there-to-stay wrinkles.  And I swear they weren’t there the night before.

And so it was really lucky for me that I happen to be a big fan of wrinkles.  I’ve even joined the Bring Back Wrinkles group on Facebook.

I guess the downside of wrinkles is that they remind you you’re not young anymore.  But guess what?  I already knew that. 

And I’m not even sure that I would want to be young again, frankly.  As fun as it was. 

I’m on a book tour this week, and one of my stops has taken me to a little town north of Seattle where one of my best friends from college lives.  Last time I saw her was at my wedding.  Nine years ago. 

She’s hanging out with me right now at a hotel room, working on her computer just like I am working on mine.  We both have a lot going on, and it’s pretty quiet in here, except for the typing.  But every few minutes, one of us will pipe up and say, “Remember when we got obsessed with dominos and couldn’t stop playing?” Or, “Remember when we found that train-car diner in Maine?”  Or “Remember that time we played that drinking game watching When Harry Met Sally?”

A lot has changed since then: I’ve had two children and written two books.  She’s opened the restaurant she always dreamed of.  We are, in fact, living exactly the lives we hoped for.

And so I’m not going to complain about the wrinkles.  Or that I’m not twenty-two anymore.  Or that life carries you away from people and places you loved.  Or that the joys of living have to be spaced out over time.  You can’t have everything all at once.  That’s what memories are for.   And also, gratitude:  You loved them once.  You really did love them.  And that just has to be enough.


Filed under blogs, events, news!, prose, random

13 responses to “I love wrinkles

  1. Deb

    What a great blog article!! So beautiful because we need to have it pointed out to us that if we didn’t get older we wouldn’t have all those wonderful memories or we’d be dead which isn’t such a great alternative!
    I am much older than you, 55 and I feel the same way. That’s another thing I realize as I get older. I feel I have MORE in common with all women rather than less. Young women don’t feel this way about older women of course!
    An aging issue I have that has given me much anxiety is my hair is thinning on top!! Male patterned baldness but in a woman!!
    I am trying to be above it all, not be obsessed with looks, it’s whats inside that is important etc.
    But I am like Jo in Little Women, “my hair is my one true beauty!” I am having to constantly wrangle with this issue and then let it go.
    Reading this article helps. Thanks!!!
    (I have both your books! Wonderful!)

  2. Oh, so know I am SO Kirtsy-ing this. I love it!

  3. Oh sweet lady, I so love this.

    And I love how serendipitous the web is. I noticed Laurie’s RT of your tweet and came and read this. Right after, like an HOUR ago, I looked down at my hands and thought, “Holy hell, my skin looks like SHIT. Oh well. Much better than being in high school again.”

    I turned 39 on Monday.

  4. Awww…a Kirtsy we will go, a Kirtsy we will go! Katherine, thank you so much for plugging us…you were fantastic to work with and I hope we helped you pump up your book!

    Dorothy Thompson

  5. Wow. I really needed to read this today. I just turned 37 on April 1st and have had some trouble coming to terms with it. “You can’t have everything all at once.” I think that is going to be my new mantra. Thank you!

  6. detes

    I love my wrinkles. Glad you have figured that out and said it better than I could. Now I’ll have someone to quote.

  7. Nicole

    Oh Katherine. Reading this makes me nostalgic for our nostalgia. And, it eases my heartache for all my friends who I don’t see as much as I want to because of time and space challenges. You are so right, it is enough to have loved someone that much, and to be able to savor that emotion, no matter how far apart you might be. But I still want you to bring your family up here for summer vacation!

  8. Gina Angulo

    Katherine- Just another mini masterpiece, no problem. You are amazing!!!

  9. Katherine,
    Your ease and ability to jot down such perfect words to capture the simple truths of not just life, but living life is inspiring. Thanks for sharing this article – I certainly hope there are more ‘best-ofs’ to be published.

  10. Lucy Chambers

    Katherine, your wrinkles reflect your inner wisdom: hard-won and beautiful. Congratulations! and happy belated birthday!

  11. Katherine-

    I love this blog! I am in the final year of my 30’s; and I believe that the smile wrinkles around my eyes and mouth are constant reminders that I have been blessed to have had so much to be happy about over the years.

    Happy 37th! Keep on making us all smile!

  12. Pingback: the lives we hoped for « katherine center

  13. Katherine-
    I just finished reading The Birght Side and noticed your entry over at Andrea’s, that brought me to your blog and I was so surprized to see the pic of Adrift from my little town of Anacortes! Totally random but makes the world seem like a much smaller place in a good way. Just picked up Everyone Is Beautiful from the library, a brand new copy that I requested, totally luving it!

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