Choose Joy or Else People Will Think You Are Vain

I discovered something disturbing about myself recently.  My knees have started to wrinkle.  I only noticed this because I was trying to apply lip stuff while driving to a business meeting.  I say “stuff” because I would like to say that I was gliding on Urban Decay’s hip new shade of “Hobo Vomit” pink but I was actually using some sandy Chapstick leftover from my kids’ summer swim bag – but I digress.  I dropped the tube on the floor and as I mashed my face against my leg to fish it out from under the pedal (don’t worry, people, I was at a stoplight), I got a look at my wrinkly-ass knees.  I mean, this is no minor sun damage, I have full-on alligator coming on.  It’s nasty, trust me, and it’s only going to get worse because once you have wrinkly knees and elbows –  there’s no Botox for that (or if there is, I can’t afford “whole body” Botox).

A very wise friend of mine shared a quote with me several years ago, “Eventually a woman has to choose between her ass and her face.”  Which means, that either you put on a few pounds and puff out the wrinkles, leaving you looking young and beautiful in that Rubinesque/Barefoot Contessa way or you eat nothing, go all Tracy Anderson Insanity and end up looking like a very fit prune in your 70’s.  No one gets it all, sister.  I always knew that exercise and avoiding cheese was a bad plan and now my knees are paying the price.  I am seriously regretting the two Zumba classes I took right now.

So you may be wondering what my nasty, alligator-esqe knee skin has to do with divorce.  It’s this, when I discovered it, I was smacked up against the ugly truth of my aging body.  I let myself be angry and to grieve over my formerly firm and smooth knee skin for a while.  And then I reminded myself that I have a lot of good stuff in my life.  For instance, below the wrinkled terrain are some mighty fine, strong calves that have been a place for shaky toddlers to hold onto, they’ve helped me walk confidently down many courtroom halls and have carried me up many a hiking trail to beautiful views of waterfalls, oceans and valley vistas.  And I have legs!  There are people without the use of their legs that are thinking, “Screw you!  I would gladly take wrinkly, but functioning, legs!”  And well they should, to mourn a few inches of formerly smooth skin when I have two legs that work is pretty ridiculous.

Again, you are pounding the table and shaking your computer, saying – “but what the heck does this have to do with divorce?!”   Here’s the connection:  getting through hard times with grace demands that we consciously look on the bright side even when the bright side is hard to find.  Choosing to notice the good stuff takes practice and it’s easier to do in the midst of your life hitting the fan if you are able to practice on the small stuff.  If we aren’t practicing the art of looking on the bright side when we smack up against a few new wrinkles, we sure as heck aren’t going to be able to do it when something really jacked up happens (like a divorce, see, I told you I’d make the connection, eventually).

Being able to notice good stuff during the really bad times requires that we make choosing joy a daily practice.  Not that we pretend that nothing bad is ever happening.  We must let ourselves mourn for a while, accept the feelings of loss and then look around and take notice of all the good things we have in our life.  So I’m getting older and I have some wrinkles and some hair growing in new places (wtf?!).  But I also have some awesome kids, who are growing into amazing young adults, and I have a fabulous husband (even if it took me two tries to get that right) and I can afford tweezers. Life is pretty good.

What good stuff can you notice in your life today?  Go ahead, get all sappy and share in the comments down below.



  1. I love love love you post and your insights. Took me two divorces and 64 years to learn to live in the moment and appreciate life’s blessings.

  2. Mercedes Brennan says:

    I think your wisdom applies to all of us in life all the time. Thank you Keri for reminding us of gratefulness.

    • There are days when we all need reminding, I’m sure you’ll get your turn to remind me. 😉 Thank you SO much for the kind words! xo

  3. Aunt Barbara says:

    It is easier to have joy in your life and look on the bright side if you are a Christian. I know a lot of people who are joyful and positive that are not Christians, but personally, it has changed my life and made it less stressful.

    Lord only knows how much I love you.

  4. ricci gracia says:

    Thanks for making me feel better about my wrinkling arms, kk. love your post so much – always inspiring!! 🙂

  5. keri, my dear sweet (acquired) daughter, I finally got the chance to catch up with your wonderful inspiring posts! I can totally relate to the wrinkly knees! Once when i was 20 years younger, i was walking in to work and a co-worker walking behind me said, “esther, you have the legs of an 18 year old.” that really made my 8 hour day feel like 8 minutes! now with my wrinkly knees, i would be grateful to have the legs of a 50 year old, lol! but, like you said we must focus on the positive! i am grateful for capris being so popular that no one has to see my wrinkly knees, except for your dad, of course, but thank god he loves me for my heart, not for my body or i’d be in real trouble!

    • I inherited Dad’s poor eyesight, he probably can’t even see a single wrinkle on you! You still have better legs than a lot of 18 year olds, by the way.

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