Nice when the naturally comes so easily.

Getting older, I’ve started paying attention to my actions and mannerisms, my interactions and reflections. I reflect on my reflecting. I don’t know why, other than that I’m curious. When something changes, or feels like it has changed, I want to know why. Or maybe I just want to acknowledge it and move on. Either way, I’m interested and getting older, I’m becoming more and more of a captive audience.

Is it normal to notice when the way you talk changes?

I used to think life was all about moving towards different kinds of trips to the grocery store. But now I’m thinking more about the reasons behind the trips, rather than just the trips themselves. Going to the store just for a gallon of milk is one thing. But what made you go there? It seems like as you get older, trips like this aren’t just repetitive, but each uniquely different. Each one is the product of a plan, a bullet point in a series of events. Growing older and the outlines and agendas get longer and longer.

As of late, I’ve noticed that my smile is different. I don’t know if it looks different or not, I just know that it feels different and it sometimes happens totally on it’s own- I have nothing to do with it. It’s a natural smile. It’s a pretty amazing thing. A smile that isn’t forced or even one coming from laughing; not a smile to cover up some shenanigans or a smile to make your way through a conversation but a down home, good-natured, naturally manufactured smile. The kind that spreads wide across your face, elevating your cheeks, creating creases and wrinkles on the edges of your eyes.

This kind of smile makes me feel young. Not in the way convertibles make middle-aged people feel young, but young in the way that I’m smiling smiles that are pure and real. They’re not manufactured or purposeful or deceitful. They’re like bleeding after you cut yourself or closing your eyes when you sneeze. It’s something you don’t have any control over and even in your body- you’re allowed to just be a participant. We grow older and want more and more control of things. We want to have things a certain way and we work hard to try and make that happen. We plan and we arrange.

We are dialed in, we are ready, and with a little luck, we’ll be happy.

So it’s nice that in the middle of all this well-thought out monkey business that’s growing older, wiser- something beautiful like a good ol’ natural smile happens- something that despite all your planning and scheming, happened anyway.

We’re lucky these kinds of things can happen. We are. It’s a nice vision of what that happiness someday might be like.

And life is easier with pictures.

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