Even a Smile

I pass a lot of the homeless on my way to work. And you’d have to have a heart of stone to not at least feel bad, even if you do just walk by them.

But today, one lady was making it really hard to walk by her. She was rattling a can of change and calling out to people on the street, imploring them, “every little bit helps! Every little bit helps!”

And as I walked by she said it again: “every little bit helps! Even just a smile!”

And that stopped me in my tracks. Because I wish I could tell you that I walked back and gave her some change.

I didn’t. I kept walking. But a smile did creep onto my face, one that only I could see, and as is the case with smiles, it did make me honestly feel better. It was so much preferable to the sour expression I was displaying originally.

And like the woman said, even a smile helps. It helps you, and it helps the people around you.

So go ahead and smile. I can guarantee that you have at least one thing to smile about.

Woohoo, A Wrinkle!

Let me hit you with a commonly accepted idea that is not necessarily true: Many people believe that it takes more muscles to smile than to frown. In fact, people think it takes 17 and 43, respectively.

Except, that isn’t true. Actually, depending on how you count the muscles in your face, smiling may be more taxing. (Sorry, Care Bears. You’ll have to find another way to make us smile.)

Now, what happens to your face when you smile or frown? Your lips turn up or down. (C’mon, this is hardly news.) But what else happens? Well, if you are older and have a certain genetic makeup or if you smoke or if you are out in the sun a lot, you could get wrinkles.

Wrinkles, as our youth-obsessed culture knows, are the lines you get on your face from any of the factors above. But wrinkles can also form by repeating a certain facial expression. Of course, frowning over long periods of time can put wrinkles on your forehead, and smiling can also put wrinkles near your eyes, as crow’s feet.

So, what should we do? Get botox? Hold our face as still as possible? Try to smile without moving our lips? Well, as I’ve already mentioned, there’s a lot more that goes into whether you will get wrinkles and from what catalyst.

But my own belief is that if you have to get them, why not make them good ones?

I simply mean that unless you are the late Joan Rivers (may her plastic soul rest in peace), your face is going to move. Whether to express extreme joy or uncontrollable sorrow, you are going to react to the issues in your life by making a face. Now it’s up to you to decide what that’s going to be: a smile or a frown.

And look, I get it. You don’t have to greet every day with a smile to prove that you are committed to this “happy wrinkles” thing. The point is that wrinkles develop with repeated behavior. You are what you do most.

So, make smiling your favorite thing to do. And everyone will be able to see it on your face long after your smile fades.