We are constantly being bombarded with anti-aging propaganda and the products to go along with it. There are anti-aging body lotions, anti-aging brain games…there’s even anti-aging shampoo. Shampoo? Unless we’re talking about growing gray, I can’t really grasp the concept of old hair. How old could a head of hair possibly be anyway? If we’re striving for baby fine, let me remind you: babies are not known for their fabulous locks.
In general, I have a problem with the phrase “anti-aging.” It sounds so negative, as if aging were a bad thing. I prefer to say “youthing.” Doesn’t that sound better? But none of it really matters because the fact is…and you may want to sit down for this…we are all getting older.
This week, I celebrate another birthday. I’d be lying if I said I’m unfazed. The truth is, it’s the first time my number has gotten a little under my skin…my youthing cream-slathered skin.
It doesn’t make any sense because I’ve never felt better (pretty much). Yes, there was a time when I’d go for a run, followed by a nice long swim. Now, I don’t see that happening unless a mugger chases me off the side of a cruise ship. Skipping? I used to skip down stairs, up stairs, everywhere. I can still skip, but I don’t look quite as comely doing it as I did when I was 7, so I refrain. Ok, so everything isn’t exactly what it used to be. Hell, everything’s not even where it used to be. But I’m doing great (all things considered).
Thus far, I’ve held my ground and not taken the bait to youthenize myself. I have no Botox or fillers in my face; nothing has been lifted, or nipped or tucked. I color my hair, but for the record, I’m barely gray. Rather, I have a distinct Bride of Frankenstein streak. It doesn’t look any better on me than hers did on her, so who needs it? My only minor lapse was treating myself to eyelash enhancers. I loved them until my husband said they weren’t “age appropriate.” Ouch! It’s one thing to see yourself as getting older; it’s another to have your loved ones see it…and say it out loud.
When women had little more than cosmetics and hair dye in their youthing arsenal, I think they looked better. At the very least, they looked like themselves. These days, when I glance around at women my age, I often see only parts of faces, rather than the whole picture – overblown lips, sculptured noses, and foreheads smooth enough to skate upon. Everyone is beginning to look weirdly alike. And women aren’t the only culprits. Remember how handsome Mickey Rourke and Bruce Jenner used to be?
Audrey Hepburn once said, “The beauty of a woman, with passing years, only grows.” Photos of her, taken later in life, show she was right. It is encouraging to see other famous woman (and men: think Denzel Washington and George Clooney) following this philosophy by forgoing the surgeon’s blade. When you start out looking like Audrey, you’re already way ahead of the game. Messing up that masterpiece would be like giving the Mona Lisa a brow lift (if she had eyebrows, of course).
Now, I’m no Audrey Hepburn, but I’m still afraid to tinker with what I’ve got. Does this mean I’m throwing in the towel? No way. I still exercise, play tennis, dance, get gussied up, and coat myself in sunscreen every single day. I try to eat right (the occasional cocktail and dessert notwithstanding) and get plenty of rest because a good night’s sleep is a better friend than diamonds. Will I ever get a tweak, or have something done? I’m not sure. I’ve considered it, and I just might go in for a little tune-up somewhere down the road. But for now, I’m holding off.
So, until then, let it come. Let the laugh lines show that I’ve laughed until I’ve cried. Let the speckles and spots remind me that I had my day in the sun.
I admit it – I am aging. Accepting that is the gift I’m giving to myself this year. Happy birthday to me.