What I Learned at 35: You’ll See It in This Photo

Three lines. That’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror. Fine little lines across my forehead that I never noticed before suddenly became all I could look at.

I unfurrowed my brow, as I’m apt to do, but there was nothing to unfurrow. Those three lines were now immovable fixtures on my 35-year-old face.

I’ll admit in nothing louder than a whisper that my first thought was getting Botox injections to fill out those lines. I hear they work for migraines, and I’ve got those on my laundry list, too, so — two birds with one stone.

But I quickly realized that was a bad idea. Not because the idea of injecting a bacterial toxin into my face seems extreme when you really give it a rational thought. Not because I want to rebel against a society that tells us aging is something to slow down at all costs. Not even because I hate needles, and I like my face.

No, I realized it was a bad idea because I want those wrinkles.

When I began my career at 22, I embraced the fact that I was fresh out of school, full of energy and starry-eyed optimism for my chosen profession. I became what I wanted to be when I grew up.

But that was probably the only time I wanted to be my age.

When I became a manager at age 26, I wanted to be 30 because 30-year-olds are old enough to tell others what to do. Who listens to a 26-year-old newspaper editor-in-chief? No one, that’s who.

I spent the next four years being coy about my age, waiting for an age that I could finally admit to others. When I turned 30, I felt I’d made it up the mountain to a level clearing and could take a deep breath — having achieved a milestone age.

Somehow five years have passed, and I’m 35. There are two digits in my wedding anniversary, and I have a 7-year-old son who is happy, healthy, intelligent and caring — three more qualities than the one I prayed for when he was born.

And there’s those three lines. They are lines that I’ve earned. Lines that I’m proud of. It took years to make those three lines, and I’m not going to do anything to erase them. They are my trophy for ambition, experience, hard work and happy times.

Happy times and apparently many furrowed brows. Take a look at the photo above, that’s me on the left. Notice anything on my face? Those are well-earned lines.


“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” What does that even mean? Read on…


Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for SUCCESS.com. Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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