The "How Hard Can I Hit You?" Challenge!
I've had about enough of social media's penchant for vanity. Facebook's meaningless emojis that allow us to interact with other humans on the most shallow level (I don't have time to make a casserole after your cancer surgery, but enjoy this frowny face with animated tears!). Instagram's filters, goading us into creating an improved version of ourselves because, clearly, an unfiltered photo of your run-of-the-mill human is just plain gross.
And now we have the new, 2019 delightful "How hard did aging hit you?" challenge, which seems to be asking "Did the last 15 years leave you looking like you got run over by a truck or simply grazed by a 300-pound moped?" Yes, folks. The challenge has gone viral.
Sure, I love to look my best, but our culture's obsession with appearances is why my 80-something-year-old grandmother always ran screaming from photo ops (You should've seen that octogenarian sprint).
My Grandmas. Proof that wrinkles are signs of wisdom and grace. I sure miss them.
Social media consumers: Isn't it time to take back our cultural messaging? Wouldn't it be grand to look forward to aging for the experience and wisdom it provides?
According to Medical News Today, "The first wrinkles to appear on a person's face tend to occur as a result of facial expressions." That's right, facial expressions. So unless you'd like to move through life wearing the inscrutable mug of C-3P0, wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. They tell the story of where life has taken us, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Kristen Stewart doing her "robot" impression
If my wrinkles could talk, here's a few things they'd say:
Mmmmm... (Face smushed against Mom and Dad's shoulder as an infant)
Ewww! (Kindergarten boy burping in my face)
I'm never going to survive this. (First loss. My dog, Fritz, dying after being hit by a car)
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! (Riding Demon Drop at Cedar Point)
That Banana Boat smells so yummy! (Working on my "base tan" in the '80s)
That was weird. (First kiss)
LOL. (Every single cheerleading practice and game with my squad mates)
My brain hurts. (College papers and finals)
Everybody dance now! (Spring break in Panama City)
My heart hurts. (Brother's car accident and chronic TBI)
Permagrin (Falling in love)
Joy and puzzlement (23 years of teaching high schoolers)
Abby, Gina, Renee', Ann, Diane, Julie (A laugh line for each one)
Ugly crying (Ten years of infertility)
Bedtime stories, up all night, singing at the top of my lungs, dancing in the living room, yelling, more ugly crying (16 years of raising kids)
Photo by Luis Machado on Unsplash
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is this:
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
I'd like to expound upon Lewis' profound quote to say, the wrinkles I have now are signs of the life I had before. That's the deal.
Our face--our very skin--tells the story of hours and years, of moments both thrilling and heartbreaking.
That's. The. Deal.
Would you trade your unique inner story for a smoothing filter? Would you swap your wisdom for some shallow comments from Facebook friends you haven't seen in years?
This is what I look like today. No filter, no lipstick.
Just me, my wrinkles, and a few fly aways.
Perhaps it's because I'm edging ever closer to the big 5-0, but I'm fed up with social media's obsession with youth and beauty. If every day of our life is a gift--whether at 25, 55, or 85--why don't we start instagramming that precious, unfiltered truth?
Yes, take care of the temple God gave you. Exercise. Eat well. Hydrate. Pray. Use sunscreen. But don't buy the lie that signs of aging (or the lack thereof) determine how well you've lived. The answer to "The How Hard Has Aging Hit You?" challenge has less to do with the skin products you use, and everything to do with the perspective you choose. Nothing to do with lines on your face and everything to do with your wisdom and grace.
The truth: If I could turn back time...I wouldn't.
As social media consumers, we do have the power to influence which messages go viral and which fizzle out after the first tweet. Personally, I'd love to see the bigwigs of social media take on the "How Hard Can I Hit You?" challenge.
We have the power. How about a little revolution?
Until next time,
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Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash