Lately, it seems like everyone I meet over the age of 40 is either showing off or talking about some procedure that’s supposed to make them look younger. Injections and lifts, implants and lasers, peelings and planings — these have become the conversation topics du jour.
In addition to all this banter, I’m continuously bombarded by emails from companies touting discounted services and gadgets promising an alluring version of my former self. Now, I like a bargain as much as the next person, but continuous age-erasure lures are not what I had in mind when I signed up to get daily "deals."
These pitches have really picked up steam over the last few weeks: O come all ye aged … Deck your face with boughs of Botox ….
Well — bah, humbug! I’ve had enough. As if the youth worship these deals imply isn’t hard enough to take, they’ve also unleashed a ferocious barrage of peer pressure from friends. Apart from my pals’ constant chatter about their personal redos, they keep forwarding deals suggesting that I pursue a similar makeover approach.
All this anti-wrinkle lobbying has given me the sense that I’m somehow not quite "with it," that I’m behind the times and holding myself back from a golden life that, but for a less lined face, would be mine for the taking. This is delusional thinking. While I’m not denying that one might land a few more dates and expand one’s job options, there’s a huge downside. Perhaps the most vexing aspect of the youth-recovery fixation I see gripping my cohorts is that it expresses a kind of self-loathing that can only serve to reinforce and perpetuate age discrimination.
My Love of Lines
I can’t come up with a good defense for our collective denial of aging. I don’t think we should prevent a face from serving as a visual repository of a lifetime of feelings and thoughts. To me, it seems critically important to model an acceptance of time’s forward march and the ways it naturally manifests.
My thought is that I can combat rampant ageism more effectively by showing that it’s possible for vibrancy to accompany wrinkles than by pursuing line-erasing tactics that erase these signs of experience.
I also prefer to avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, the injection of foreign substances and assaultive beams, all of which carry risk.
(MORE: Wabi Sabi: A Design Aesthetic That Honors the Imperfections of Age)
I like my crow’s feet and laugh lines — I regard them as documents of joy. I believe my "elevens" reflect deep thinking, analysis and problem solving, activities known for keeping the brain sharp. I like the fact that my emotions, even the most nuanced ones, are on full display out there for anyone to see; look at me and you will know how I’m feeling.
My Way vs. Their Way
Just like those who go after surgical and injection procedures, I have to invest time and expense in my chosen vitality preservation practices. But I can at least count on predictable outcomes. The same cannot be said about many an age-defying cosmetic procedure — I’d personally be hard-pressed to describe the doctored faces I see as "beautiful." Sadly, "botched" is often the word that comes to mind.
While, at times, I feel enslaved by my walking and meditation schedule, I’d rather be beholden to routines that keep me strong and active than to treatments that must be repeated over and over again yet can never deliver more than a surface benefit.
So, I’d like to strike a bargain with those of you who keep trying to foist your anti-aging remedies on me: I’ll do my best to accept your exterior "work" if you try to accept my choice to keep my wrinkles coming.
Say Yes to Wrinkles
I recently learned that a number of celebrities are shunning plastic surgery and injections. Actresses Emma Thomson, Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz have joined the resistance movement in the war on wrinkles. Given the high degree to which their careers depend on appearance, this is a pretty radical move.
Brava! I’d love it if more non-celebrities would follow suit.
Regardless, I intend to stick with my lines. I just think they look totally awesome with a pair of sparkling eyes, a big smile and a vibrant soul.