Key words that set my pulse racing are erase, disappear, soften, lift, tighten, smooth, restore, minimize, sculpt, refresh and that perennial favorite: turn back the clock
Can you believe the creams, pills, exercise machines, make-up innovations, enhancement tips, Web sites and countless ads devoted to helping women believe the lie that youth can be bought? I am horrified — simply horrified — as I devour multiple anti-aging articles along these lines.
My mother — a vibrant, fun, energetic 70-something — had a facelift some years ago, and I was personally involved in the recuperation process.
It was not fun to watch.
In fact, it was downright off-putting. A few months later, my best girlfriend had an eye-lift, and that was not pretty, either. However, both look incredibly youthful and rested now.
As my eyelids and naso-labial folds continue to dissolve into a mish-mash of thinning flesh, I tend to minimize the recovery struggles after cosmetic procedures and focus on the end results.
After all, when I had babies, and held them in my arms immediately afterwards, I forgot all about the pain. (Who am I kidding? Actually I never forgot the pain, and I kept having babies anyway.)
I am thinking that cosmetic surgery would fall roughly into the same category. After the birthing process, the pain seemed a small price to pay for the miracle of new life. I figure a decent mini-facelift is good for at least 10 years’ worth of new life at the opposite end of the spectrum.
At the same time, I am trying to distance myself from the still, small voice that whispers to me about appearance being transitory and inner beauty being more important and the perils of vanity.
I plug my ears and shout “la-la-la-la-la-laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” to drown out this irritating, inner voice. Doesn’t work very well, but it shuts it up for a few minutes.
I can rationalize all I want about beauty being only skin-deep, and I know by heart the Biblical references to internal beauty, but the fact remains that the pretty women (Esther, Rebekah and Sarah to name a few from Bible days) are the ones that rocked.
All to say, I think it is a worthy goal to do the best with what I have and nip and tuck and restore if at all possible. At this point, I cannot even remember what color my hair is, and thank God every day for the miracle of highlighting.
I find it a delicate balance to walk the line between outright vanity and woman-aging-well.
We Woodstock-generation boomers are living longer, healthier lives, and most marketing studies point to a likely possibility of reaching age 90. On one hand I want to be proud of my well-earned wrinkles and graying mane; on the other, I want to rip them off my head. This is where the surgery part comes in.
I figure to fully rationalize a nip and tuck, I should return to the workforce full time. In order to do that, I must look my best, and having my eyes done and a mini-lift would fall under the heading of investing in a productive future.
This makes perfect sense to me. I think we will be able to deduct this on our taxes as a marketing expense.
I am getting excited just thinking about it.
First, though, I need to figure out how to stop that nagging voice in my head about inner beauty being enough.
This article first appeared in “The Lighter Side,” Capital Journal, Pierre, SD, March, 2010.