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These Old Hands and Why I’ve Grown to Love Them

These Old Hands and Why I’ve Grown to Love Them

If your hands look old and wrinkled, you need to do something to fix them, right? Wrong!

Your hands carry all your experiences. They tell the story of your life — your ups and downs, highs and lows. They show the successes and failures that taught you about life along the way.

When I first began to notice that my hands were showing signs of aging, I felt embarrassed. I was never one to go to the trouble of hiding them in gloves or pockets but I felt that the lines, loose skin and bulging veins were nothing to be proud of. I wore little jewelry on my fingers, preferring not to call attention to them.

Over time I began to see my hands differently and even learned to appreciate them. Now when I look at my hands, I’m fondly reminded of my mother teaching me how to sew as a young girl and pricking myself with a needle a time or two. Or of burning my fingers as a novice jewelry crafter when I brushed against a hot poorly placed torch. I’m reminded of the days and nights I spent banging away on the keyboard as I wrote my novels and of signing two to three hundred books nonstop during book signings.

Would I want to give up all of that for this?

Photo by taratata on depositphotos

Absolutely not. To me, these youthful hands are pretty but also pretty boring. They lack character and drama. They tell no story. I don’t want to “fix” my hands to look more like this. My hands hold the precious memories of a life well lived. I want to flaunt them.

In many cultures around the world, aging is celebrated instead of being something to fear, dread and loathe as it is here in the United States. In countries such as China, India, Greece and Korea, seniors are valued for their experience and wisdom, which they are expected to pass along to the young. This is also the case in the Native American culture.

And research shows that there are more benefits to aging than simply gaining wisdom and experience. According to recent studies, older people are generally happier than the young because they feel less stressed, more content and more fulfilled. (See Time magazine.)

This rings true for me. In my younger years, I was constantly striving, reaching and pursing — always wanting to do and be more. After about age 55 things started to shift. I began to value what I have instead of always wanting the next big thing. That included learning to love my unique, expressive, aging hands.

You can find all sorts of remedies and techniques out there to fix your hands: wrinkle creams, fillers, freezing, lasers, chemical peeling, hand lifts (yes, it’s a thing), and on and on. By all means, take the time to protect your hands against sun damage and dryness. But do you really want to make your hands a big project so you can turn them into a boring, blank slate?

I hope not.

Instead of trying to fix your hands, learn to love and appreciate every nook, crook and cranny. See them with the pride they deserve as a repository of the memories, triumphs and challenges that have woven the fabric of your life and made you who you are today: a mature person who has acquired valuable wisdom and experience to pass on to the next generations.

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