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  • Writer's pictureDr. Aparna Santhanam

Not in lines & wrinkles, but in smiles & tears



This morning I had an epiphany. 2020 has been a year that so far troubled us, filled us with stress and anxiety, brought untold miseries of death, illness, instability and crisis to almost every living soul under the planet. It is also the year I’ve had a landmark birthday, spent more time at home with family than I have in a very long time, read books that I have been meaning to for years, got back in touch with old friends, triggered some exciting partnerships that would have been unthought of hitherto and tried recipes that I would not even have glanced at once in my busy schedule. But, I am getting ahead of myself. My epiphany was not triggered by any of these reflective, tiny but important occurrences of my life.


Let’s count our age in our simple everyday moments of joy, in our smiles and tears, not from the lines and wrinkles on our face!

I got up this morning and bleary eyed, walked into the bathroom. I washed my face with a new face wash, a sample provided by a brand sometime ago, when I purchased some other item, purely for brand promotion. It smelt of rose, lavender and sandalwood and not just subtly pushed me to full wakefulness, but left me with the feeling of having stepped into a spa.


With a big smile on my face, I fixed my tea and decided to eat an apple. I bit into the apple to find my mouth filled with the crisp, fresh sweetness that only a great apple can deliver. Suddenly, with just these two simple events, my weekend looked a whole lot more promising with the prospect of many more tiny treats scattered along the way. I had a broad smile on my face, hair askew, in my old nightgown and my daughter walked in and exclaimed. “Mom, you are looking so nice!”


And that was my epiphany. Every day I read the news and bemoan the fate of the world, which indeed is going through a most challenging time and that makes me frown a whole lot more than I smile. In my line of work, I’m constantly helping people correct their perceived imperfections. The face has been broken into lines, wrinkles, sags, firmness and other elements, sometimes missing that point that the whole is often larger than just the sum of its parts.


Let’s all go ahead and do what makes us happy, whether it’s eating an apple or putting Botulinum toxin on our faces. No judgement!

I have often sat in airport lounges, mentally correcting the appearance of people’s faces, admiring a philtrum or cupid’s bow, thinking how the lines on the forehead can be easily erased etc. And once in a while, the person I’m staring at has caught my eye and smiled at me and then I see nothing but how the smile lights up the face, making it instantly beautiful. Indeed, the so called imperfections cannot be seen at all.


So, this is what I figure. Let’s all go ahead and do what makes us happy, whether it’s eating an apple or putting Botulinum toxin on our faces. No judgement! But let us not count our age in the lines of our face, the thickness of our waist or the twinging of our joints. As long as we do our bit to respect our bodies, keep them healthy, pamper them with the occasional indulgences, both dietary and dermatological, let us breathe deep and smile. Ultimately, no one recalls our crow’s feet, our ample hips or indeed our imperfect teeth. But they will recall the smile that lit up the face, the laughter that rang out loud, the tears that flowed with empathy and the happiness that came from within.


So, whether you are the type who wants to embrace aging naturally or employ every anti aging option known to stay externally young or fall somewhere in between, let’s do it with joy and joie de vivre. After all, it’s one life to live and aging just proves we are living it well and long. Let’s count our age in our simple everyday moments of joy, in our smiles and tears, not from the lines and wrinkles on our face!

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