Last year, while crossing a busy intersection in Malaysia, a woman slightly older than my parents pulled me aside and invited me to live with her for a week. As unusual as this invitation was, her kindness and sincerity were disarming, so I accepted. She lived in a retirement villa nestled in the mountains where we spent our days eating durians, visiting temples, and volunteering our services at meditation centers.
On the last day I asked why she did that. Why she invited a complete stranger to live with her after only seeing them for no more than a few minutes.
She turned to me and said, “Because of your eyes, Kaelyn, they are smiling.”
As the years pass and time bestows more gentle kisses upon my skin, that’s what I think of, that’s what I remember: The fine lines aren’t wrinkles or crows feet or whatever name they could be given, instead, they are an accumulation of all the adventures and memories that I’ve collected from around the world, and thus, every year, my eyes are smiling just a little bit more. 😄✨