I’m Hannah. I write words, chase joy, read books, build habits, make lists, and drink coffee. Care to join in these adventures?

On Smile Lines and Life Lines.

On Smile Lines and Life Lines.


It’s a Tuesday night — our standard night for groceries. I’m in the midst of a step challenge and in the beginning stages of wanting to move my body a little bit more. So before we travel for groceries, we stop by a trail in the River Valley. It’s Dave’s first walk in the River Valley, which shocks me because he’s lived here for a year and a half now, and we live so close to nature now.

We snap a couple of pictures together — they’re forced, because I want to commemorate the moment. I pull the phone back after extending my arm for a selfie and review the photos we took. I zoom in on the right side of my cheek to see it - the stretching of my face. I genuinely wonder if I’m getting my childhood dream of getting a dimple. Adult onset dimples? Are those a thing?

But it’s not - it’s just the beginning wrinkle of a smile line. I’m 25. Why do I already have smile lines? Maybe I should’ve been taking off my makeup in the evenings…

And then I think about the timeline of my life I started that day in counselling. I take a sheet of paper and a Crayola marker. I am supposed to chart every significant event in my life. When it was a positive significant event, I move the line of the timeline up. When it was a negative significant event, I move the line of the timeline down.

At the time, we were just beginning this practice of writing down a life story. Already then, the timeline often curved down or stayed neutral. It was showing itself to be cyclical — moving through up and down cycles. If we’re counting, the long bend is downwards.

I think about how often there were reasons for my face to fall in this similar downturn.

And yet.

With this timeline in mind, I think about developing smile-lines at the age of 25. Because maybe the timeline of your life does not determine whether you have smile-lines. This is a small comfort to someone who has always wanted her face and eyes to be crinkled with joy.

And it feels like a small act of resistance and defiance — choosing the upwards lines of joy in a life that kept trying to give me downward lines.

Three Cheers for Three Years, Edmonton.

Three Cheers for Three Years, Edmonton.