Ok, so this post’s all about me. Yes. Sorry about that. But, in less than a month I’m turning 40, and from all accounts I should be just a tad more obsessed with aging than I am. Of course, I already spend a great portion of time staring at myself in any mirror I come across. Or any window. At my face. At my skin. At my breasts and my butt. And all the while I think: do I need Botox, fillers, a nip here, a tuck there? I mean, let’s face it. Skin at 40 grows all sorts of little hairs where little hairs have no business of being, or little skin folds where little skin folds have no business of being. And yes, my roots are grayer than they’ve ever been. And yes also, my breasts are nowhere near perky. Nor is my behind.
But I am 40, not 20. And I’ve been pregnant several times, and gave birth twice.
Should I be more worried than I am?
I had lunch with a friend of mine who also turned 40, and she told me that she’s been getting Botox for the last 6 years. And also another friend who turned 40 said that her dermatologist told her that there’s very little Botox can do to the lines on her forehead as they already are too deep. Too deep? At 40?
I AM vain. And deep down I know that I will do whatever it takes to NOT become invisible. Whatever it takes. But I don’t like the idea of wasting my forties obsessing about every little wrinkle. I’m not that vain. Of course it’s possible I’ll change my mind, but for now, I want to worry about things that make sense: that I won’t die before my children reach adulthood and that I don’t have to work for a living until I’m eighty.
But if you see me dressing too young for my age, or having an impossibly round tush, or tiny waist, or frozen forehead, or lips that stretch to both of my ears, kindly take me aside and tell me how ridiculous I look. But do it gently. Because to resort to such extremes my ego must be very fragile. And it will only respond to gentleness.
I will seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion. I will seek to be worthy more than respectable, wealthy and not rich. I will study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly. (William Ellery Channing)
On this, the eve of another birthday, I have come to the realization that my life is so marvelous and filled with love and blessings that I do not mind getting old, all that much. For many years I have dreaded birthdays because I dreaded getting old and wrinkly. It seemed so unfair and humiliating. Throughout my teens and twenties, I had worshipped the sun’s rays, not so much because I liked their feel on my skin, but rather because of the glow they gave me. Once I reached my thirties it seemed so silly and pointless; nonetheless, I was addicted.
I remember a summer a few years back, when I went tanning every single day. It was fashionable. Being tanned, that is. And I wanted to be fashionable. I admit it, I have been successfully brainwashed to believe in the importance of fitting in. But anyway. Fashion is important to me. And just so you know, I’m quite the fashionista - in my own mind.
In the spirit of a wish to be elegant, which I’m assuming is a wish for every woman past thirty-five, I have given up tanning. Wouldn’t you know it, but my skin is all the better for it. The love I have for myself has matured - I hope, but honestly only time will tell - from an obsessive, all-consuming love into a forgiving, accepting one.
And really, all I want on the eve of my eightieth birthday - besides recognizing my face in the mirror and my children’s face around me - is to look at the reflection of my wrinkled face and not regret a single line.