Aging Gracefully?

Cher

Cher at age 67

Ah youth. That time of life before gravity makes you it’s bitch and your skin still fits. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘aging gracefully’. In the past month I have been happily losing those ‘I quit smoking pounds’ thanks to a full-time job and a lot more walking. The down side of weight loss in your late 40’s, however, is that your chin starts to hang like mud flaps on either side of your jaw and your neck begins to pool just above your collar bones. It’s not a pretty picture. As Bette Davis once said, “old age is no place for sissies”. Middle age is no picnic either.

For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit that I have been getting yearly Botox injections for the past 12 years. It started as a preventative measure, foolishly trying to ward off the ravages of time before they became indelibly engrained in my face. I spent about $800 per year on Botox, which may sound like a lot, but it works out to just under $70 per month and, unlike anti-aging creams, lotions and serums that many women pay as much or more for, it actually works. This past year is the first time I have foregone my Botox injections (mostly due to financial reasons) and I find myself in an odd conundrum of sorts. Part of me is horrified when looking in the mirror and seeing the crows feet, the forehead lines and the sagging skin, while a new part of me is beginning to emerge… a braver part. This new voice is asking if maybe, just maybe its time to let go of some vanity and let nature take it’s course all over my face. I have been asking myself questions like, ‘if you are so strong, then why are you so cowardly when it comes to wrinkles?’. The reality is they’re just wrinkles and everybody gets them if you are lucky enough to live past the age of 40. Just because I feel 16 on the inside, doesn’t mean I should try to look 16 on the outside. I have done a lot of living and should be proud of the lines I have earned. But, then vanity rears its ugly head and I start craving that needle. It’s an odd seesaw to be stuck upon.

I find myself wishing for a happy medium between this,

Joan-Rivers

Joan Rivers at age 79

and this,

babyjane

Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson at the age of 54 (just 6 years older than I am now… eek!)

Perhaps, I am desperately seeking role models in this era of surgical enhancements that look great without all the nips and tucks. Maybe I should summon my inner strength and try to be my own role model. These are obviously quality problems that can only be found in a youth, celebrity and beauty obsessed culture. As I type this, I am realizing that there are women all over the world who are currently struggling with issues like freedom and basic human rights and it makes me feel small and petty to be worried about aging, which for those women is a luxury. I am thinking that I have fallen prey to the North American way of keeping a woman from attaining too much power… keep her insecure about her looks and distract her with the possibility of eternal youth in a jar (or needle).

Maybe the answer is to get more involved with causes that are close to my heart and move away from the mirror. So, from now forward, I will hold my head up high (with pride, and because it stretches the skin on my neck) and say goodbye to Botox and hello to more worthwhile endeavors. Maybe that’s what aging gracefully is really all about.

6 responses to “Aging Gracefully?

  1. I think you just need to repeat that resolve, to walk with your head held high, every moment you look yourself in the mirror and you should be well. Maintain the walks schedule and don’t beat yourself up for growing old.

  2. I think that the most beautiful old women are the ones who don’t go under the knife, work out, and maintain a nice hobby :)

    When you go through these pictures, you will give 1 point less to someone who looks a bit bloated because of you know what, and 1 point more to someone who has wrinkles.

  3. Age gracefully my ass! Are we supposed to quietly curl into a ball? I can’t think of anything less graceful than botox lips or Joan Rivers face. The sooner we all scream – oh hell no – and seize the day, the happier we’ll all be. Think of the rich patina on antique wood, we wouldn’t dream of stripping away the decades it took to tell its story. Holy crap, I would be dishonest if I said I didn’t pine for my beautiful young package, that said this ponderer would rather spend time travelling and living – using my 50 odd years of life experience to kick ass, now that I don’t care what anybody else thinks -than spend hundreds of dollars on face cream or latest marketers “fountain of youth”

    That’s the irony of life, and grace has diddly squat to do with it. I feel a rant coming over me so will cut this short. There is nothing more fascinating or lovely than a face that tells a story – there you find grace. There and in old hands, feet, and eyes.

    The only grace we need to worry about is the one within. Yikes :)

  4. We are apparently exactly the same age and I know what you’re talking about. I went on what I called a “beauty strike” about two years ago. When I was young, I remember working out what seemed to me to be a balance between a normal desire (at least I think it’s normal) to be perceived as attractive and the fact that I didn’t want to spend all my time, money and emotional energy on my appearance.

    However, as I started to get older, I found myself doing more and more. I also started to loose track of what I was doing because I wanted to and what I was doing because I felt external pressure to look good. I still haven’t worked out where on that continuum I want to be. If you get any ideas, let us know.

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