.....to nip, tuck, botox or not, that is the question
Here I sit, in the middle of the night, thinking and typing hoping to coax myself back to sleep. I stupidly drank a cup of coffee at 9pm and now it looks like I’m doomed. This is growing old in a nutshell: you forget yourself and do something you used to do and the next thing you know, you’re up in the middle of the night wearing a blanket around your shoulders, heating milk at the stove and thinking about face lifts and botox.
I joke about it but there’s no getting around the fact that I've arrived, I'm a senior citizen, a once colorful hippy now grey panther, the old lady who lives on the corner – the mean one who won't buy new windows and siding, big chocolate bars or girl scout cookies. Shop Rite says if I shop in their supermarket on weekly Senior Day I will get a nifty 10% discount. Maybe one of these days I’ll remember which day of the week that special day is. Movie theaters offer a discount rate to me, but nothing near what I think is fair, which to my cantankerous mind would be a ticket for maybe a buck or two, no more. I never turn down any age related discounts, since I have to live with the grey hairs and drooping this and that. I’m not foregoing any perks. Every last one of them has been earned.
I just finished reading O’Really?’s post about plastic surgery illustrated with an image of the once lovely Meg Ryan who I agree looks genuinely bizarre these last few years (things haven't been quite the same since that fling with Russell Crowe, have they?) And Surly put up a post discussing Nicole Kidman, showing those disastrous collagen or silicon cheek and chin implants and her newfound bubblegum lips. I think to myself rich movie stars are totally nuts to take those beautiful expressive faces and inject them with disease and rearrange and mutilate them as it seems they are doing.
But it could be me. Maybe I’m behind the times and should be saving up my social security checks to have this crusty old face and assorted bits and pieces neatened up. From the angle I daily approach the mirror, which to my thinking is no different from the angle I've historically approached - straight on, directly in sunlight with mega-magnification, I usually come away from the experience thinking I look pretty okay. Not beautiful, but I never thought I was beautiful even when I probably was. This makes it altogether possible I am presently quite beautiful and won’t recognize that fact until I’m 82 going on 83 and looking at pictures of me today. I will think, Shit! I blew it again!
Oh but then some well meaning relative will forward a particularly precise picture of me I didn’t know was taken and jesus h christ if I don’t look like my grandmother or someone’s grandmother - I suppose my grandkid’s grandmother. Still, as much as I adore the children I don’t seem to internally define myself that way. I don’t process my image of me through the senior citizen grandmama filter. So it never fails to suckerpunch, those candid shots of the me I wish I could see more often so I wouldn’t be so blown away when I get a gander at the me I am now, both fore and aft.
Perhaps the solution is go through life, watching my posture and smiling more. I do look much nicer, perkier when I stand upright and smile. So maybe I should walk about brightly twinkling. I could be a ramrod straight backed, twinkling old lady. Except I’d have to look everyone straight in the face and grin broadly at them to radiate that maximum razzle-dazzle attractiveness factor.
I’m afraid this posture might be interpreted as maniacal because the truth is I’m not the twinkling type. I’m more dour, serious looking, except when I know you and then I mug and grin like a fool. If I walked around blithely twinkling and posing, staring directly into people’s faces, particularly strangers quietly going about their business, someone would call the police, who would take one look and drop me with a tranquilizer gun. Take 'er down, someone would yell. And they would. And they’d be right.
So while I'm not quite seeing the me I am, I think I’ve gotten better at this, having convinced myself I am probably at least cute for all the odd changes in the face I’ve noted. At least that’s what I hope. To be honest, I don't do the appraisal thing to myself any more. There's nothing compelling me to – to check the image as I pass a mirror, bending into the glass, peering at the face, examining hair, makeup, smoothing this or that, checking to see if my ass is the same as it was when I last saw it. I don't miss the preoccupation but I do notice I don't notice or don't care to notice or can’t be bothered. I get in and out of bathrooms now, like a shot!
There is no solution to growing old except to do it, relaxed or not. To live with the face and the body and experience the entire deal as it gets spotty and wrinkly and droopish. I get on my treadmill to keep the heart pumping and the extremities working and diligently plow onward, remotely toggling tv channels between the ever infuriating CSpan, beat up houses getting $2000 fixups or handsome affable persons whipping up delectable buttery treats. I usually settle on the fun stuff, allowing a mull and a dream as I raise the bar, upping the incline. And sometimes afterwards I may follow a recipe that could, in one serving undo what little I may have accomplished earlier. C’est la vie, yes? Yes.
It’s a vicious circle I spin dervish-ly continuing down this path of living of the life, moving from one day to the next to the next, growing tendrils and blips and gnarly bark I cannot see coming, even after it’s long arrived.