Time has played a big role in Ellen Pompeo’s career. According to the actress, she attributes time to her success on the small screen, stating that her age played a crucial factor in her decision to stay on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is coming up on its thirteenth season.

“My decision to stay on ‘Grey’s’ was based solely on age,” the 46-year-old star, who was recently dubbed as the face of Philosophy’s #CoolAger campaign, told People magazine. “At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood.”

Pompeo, who divulged she got a “super late start” in the TV industry, confessed that she wanted to continue portraying Meredith Grey after being aware of “how challenging it would be to find other roles” in her late 30s and 40s.

“I thought, ‘Why would I leave something that is super successful and pays me great to search the landscape?’” she questioned. “I decided that I would stay on ‘Grey’s’ and be grateful and try to ride it out for as long as I could. And I am very happy that I made the decision to stay. It’s only gotten better with time.”

However, there’s one aspect of starring on a long-running series that Pompeo can’t bear. “Watching myself age on TV is miserable,” she admitted to the outlet. “To be honest, it’s the toughest part of the job.” But the actress tries not to get hung up about her on screen maturation. “As uncomfortable as watching myself age is, I don’t think focusing on physical beauty is necessarily the best thing for you mind,” she said. “The older you get, the more you realize life isn’t about your looks. Everyone ages, and it’s okay.”

Fans have watched Pompeo’s character Meredith evolve over the past 12 seasons from a timid intern into Grey Sloan Memorial’s confident head of general surgery. Audiences have also witnessed Meredith tackle multiple obstacles (since the show first premiered in 2005), forcing her to mature emotionally. And it doesn’t look like the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, has any intention to slow down Meredith’s growth. Now that’s something we definitely have time to see!

“Grey’s Anatomy” Ellen Pompeo reveals the toughest part about playing Meredith on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Photo: ABC

Fans can watch Meredith continue evolving in Season 13 of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which will air to ABC this fall.