Happily Wrinkled in Time

This week my daughter and I hit the road for another college visit, but this time around we went to my (and my husband’s) alma mater.

So surreal.

We walked the campus and I pointed out the sights, each turn awakening old memories as if Zeus had bellowed, Release the Kracken!

Because I relayed my ancient stories as we roamed the student center and shopped in the bookstore.  I showed her the places her dad lived, where I lived and even the chinese restaurant that we loved.

I was surprised to see it.  So much had changed, renovations, new buildings, me.

Seeing it anchored me back in reality, and I thought:

How is it possible that 20 years have passed since I graduated from college?

coleen happy college graduate_opt

So happy to graduate.  So clueless about my smooth skin.


The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

~Madeleine L’Engle


Okay so I have some wrinkles, but according to Madeleine L’Engle they are evidence–evidence of not only titan clashes, but of ages that I am happy to carry with me.

coleen happy big sister _opt

Like becoming a big sister for the first time.

coleen happy big sister again _opt

And again.

coleen happy big sister yet again _opt

And again. 🙂

Even if I don’t remember it all, I can see I was happy.

It’s with me.

coleen happy siblings opt

What ages are you happy to keep with you?


54 thoughts on “Happily Wrinkled in Time

  1. Fab post, Coleen! Love the acid-washed jeans, LOL. I turn 50 (gasp!) next month, and I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot. I’m with you – I wouldn’t trade a thing, I’m (and was) a generally happy person, and even the bad stuff has made me who I am, and is part of me. Thanks for sharing your journey, and good luck to your college-bound daughter!


  2. Oh, wow, those pictures were so cute! It is funny because it reminds me of how badly I wanted to be grown and in college when those big bangs and sweaters were in. I thought life would be so great if I was just grown already. Of course, now I know better. I think I’m happy to have been all the ages I have passed through, sometimes I just wish that I had known and appreciated more. I think about how great it would be to be in high school or college and actually be confident, and like myself. Oh, what a different place it would have been. But there is no going back. And most of the people I know/knew who were at their height of greatness in college are still stuck there. It’s funny, you see their facebook pages and it’s all about college and alumi stuff. But I wonder “What about you? What are you doing?” It seems they have forgotten that the now and future exists, too. I’m glad I have moved on. It’s nice to go down memory lane every once and a while, though, when that’s all it is: a quick trip.


    1. Hindsight is definitely 20/20! I feel like my daughter has always been in a hurry to grow up. Even though I didn’t like the raging insecurities that came with being a teenager, I think there were many things that went underappreciated!
      Thanks Emma 🙂


  3. I had a good laugh at a mom’s group the other day when I shared that many of my high school friends were becoming grandmothers as I raise a toddler. Then, we talked about how we everyone was in different phases of life and it’s all good to be where we are. The last two decades have offered many diverse life experiences — a wonderful career, being a wife, a caregiver, a widow and then a new wife and mother. Each phase presents its own challenges and joys.


  4. What a lovely post! And I’m like you – happy to keep all those wonderful ages with me even if I have a wrinkle or two to show for it. I’m also visiting colleges this summer, and have one child already at my alma mater – so surreal to go back there all the time 🙂


  5. I love it when people share pictures on their blog. 🙂

    Seeing as I came to my college campus and am still here, almost 20 years later (I’ve graduated into an employee), I completely understand how the memories flood back. I remember touring colleges with my mom as well–it was a great time!


    1. Thanks! I find it funny how easy it is for me to post old photos–I think my younger self would’ve been way too insecure. And possibly horrified. Then again I’ve posted old diary entries too–I’m sure my past self is passed out cold from that alone. 🙂


  6. Oh wow, I’m about to start doing the college visit thing with my daughter, too. And yes, one she’s interested in is my alma matter. I’ve actually driven through there, probably 7-8 years ago, and wow, it’s changed too – it was so weird to see all of the business places that have gone and new ones that have taken their place; all the new buildings the university has put in since I left. I wouldn’t be at all disappointed if she chooses to go there, because I do have a lot of good memories. And like Emma says, I just wish I had more self confidence back then and could’ve enjoyed it even more. LOL at “so clueless about my smooth skin” – because I’m thinking how clueless I was about my weight! 🙂


  7. What a wonderful post! We should always be happy with all the stages of our life because they have made us who we are. We should be content with where we are because going back would mean missing ou on the now and rushing forward would be the same. Missing. Life is too short and precious. Bless you for this post. Love it.


  8. How funny, I’m about to have a birthday too! I’m…pouting. Today, I’m not happy about it. Today I’m pretty darn cranky, to be honest. But your photos made me laugh! And I remember some photos I had just like them, I need to find them. Swatch! too funny.

    Happy birthday 🙂


  9. What a nice walk down memory lane! You do look like an incredibly happy person!

    I’m glad to say that I’m happy with all of my ages as well, although I do remember having a hard time with 25. I felt like I had missed something and failed at everything. I had no college education, no home of my own, divorced, no career, and the list went on and on, at least in my mind.

    What I did have, was knowledge of all of the things I needed to avoid or change for the future. I turned all of those things around by the time I was 30, except the marriage, the second one didn’t come until almost 40, but I have no regrets about that because I was busy avoiding relationships until the right man came along.

    So, here I am today, happily wrinkled as you put it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  10. You are so wise! You are so right! The journey, good & bad makes us who we are. I totally enjoyed the post & your pictures. I remember those cute little kids!


  11. I’m happy to keep all my ages and all my wrinkles–the turkey neck I could do without, though.

    It’s both exciting and wrenching to send a child off to college, but the parenting adventures never end. A fun new memory will be visiting your collegian and sweeping her and her friends off for a meal. My daughters’ school friends always seemed hungry.


  12. I’m only 18 and I have not had nearly as many experiences as you. You must remember what it is like at 18 – all the thoughts about, what is the point?
    Well, I’d like you to know that this post just moved me to tears. It has taught me that life is wonderful, even when it’s not and that we must make do with what we have.
    This will be the place I come back to when I am feeling down.
    Thank you. ThankyouThankyouThankyou.
    M. x
    P.S. I wish I could say how happy this post has made me feel…but I can’t seem to put it into words…


    1. Well, your comment moved me to tears. Thank YOU! And I know the question:What is the point? It’s a question that still comes around now. I think if you are asking yourself that question you are actually headed in the right direction. I think it means you’re mind is looking for your purpose, or the good or the positive. 🙂


  13. Ah, look at those pictures. What wonderful memories, the old and the new. It’s great to be able to document the journey. You are wise to look back and see how far you’ve come.


  14. It’s been about 20 years for me too, and man, I hear you about the wrinkles!

    I loved seeing those pictures of you. You were so cute! But I have to say, you’re quite beautiful now. Really, and I’m not just buttering you up. Hooray for a beautiful, wise, talented you, at any age. 🙂


  15. Coleen,
    Coming to this post way-late. Deadlines and life in general will do that.
    But, oh, I love the wisdom of this post — as well as the glimpse of all the life packed in your years.
    What ages am I happy to keep with me?
    The ages where hurts were healed.
    And law was swept away by grace.
    And forgiveness took bitterness out at the knees.
    And singleness gave way to marriage and babies becoming toddlers/teens/twentysomethings …
    I would not go back.
    But … if I was given the chance to go back and choose yes or no again, I would say yes, to all of it.


  16. Coleen, I love those pictures and all the smiles in them. What great memories of your sisters and growing up years and marriage and your own children. All of those things make the wrinkles worth it. 🙂


  17. Coleen,
    What a wonderful post. Treasuring the good parts, the happy parts, is what gets us through the tough parts. Without the tough parts, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the great parts. I know you’ve had tough parts, but oh, what a lot of great parts to treasure as well! Loved this reminder!


  18. Oh I love that quote from Madeleine L’Engle! I would love to visit my college, too, I graduated 20 years ago too. Wow. How time has flown by. I’m sure it would be the most surreal experience. First I would want to re-read all my journals from my college days. Hmm, there might be some story ideas in there!


    1. I haven’t re-read my college journals in years. I just remember them being kind of whiny 🙂 I love going back thru my middle school and high school diary because I am so naive–it is both funny and endearing! lol


  19. What a blast from the past that must have been! I love all things Madeleine and enjoyed the references to her here…I am sending my youngest to college this fall as well, and seeing that I never attended college it’s not a wrinkle in time that I’m experience but rather a swiftly tilting planet…. 🙂


  20. Awwwwww
    so sweet
    Swatch watches!! I had them too – b/c I was SO COOL.

    I’m happy to have had the best year of my life 25, and maybe the other best year of my life, which was last year. Hopefully there will be more best years of my life to come!


  21. Awesome pictures. I look back fondly on all my years, but I’m also looking forward to what’s coming. Marriage, kids, perhaps a career as a published author. I can’t wait.


  22. Such a lovely post. I’m sorry I’m late in responding. Can not believe you have a daughter looking at colleges — and a toddler. Bet you have a different perspective now. I loved the photos you shared in your walk down memory lane.


  23. Loved the post, Coleen! What was your daughter’s reaction to your trip down memory lane? My daughter tends to be a little bored when I start reminiscing. 🙂

    Great pictures! It’s always fun to look back and see how we’ve changed through the years, isn’t it? 🙂


    1. Probably a tad bored, but I was surprised to overhear her talking about me to a bookstore cashier–she sounded proud to mention that her parents graduated from the school. But you didn’t hear that from me 🙂


  24. I too, am looking back at 20 years ago when I graduated college, donated my acid washed jeans and awesome ankle boots (that are back in style now) to Good Will. Boy, would I look cool in vintage 80’s clothes, had I saved them. Word! But there is one person, though, who would not think I’m cool and that is my spirited daughter who often reminds me that I am embarrassing her with my zest for life and lack of care what anyone thinks (a somewhat new practice of mine). Did I mention that she is only 5? So to answer the question, what years would I keep? As many of you have said, all of them because they made me who I am. But seriously, you can keep the 20’s. Toughest years of my life. Childhood…I’ll keep, teen years…had a blast, 30’s…grew into me and 40’s…look out because there is no filter…if it’s on my mind it’s out of my mouth. And did I mention I don’t care what people think? I will say proudly that the 40’s are, as of now, the best because I know with conviction what I believe and I am able to speak my mind confidently, but I shamefully say I haven’t yet learned the art of saying things gracefully. I hear that’s what the 50’s are for. Bring it on! Thanks for a great post Colleen!


  25. What a lovely post, Coleen. I enjoyed looking at the pics from various stages of your life and love your perspective. Those quotes are awesome. Thank you for sharing these. I feel the same way about my wrinkles, too.


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