Thursday, February 01, 2007

aging, regrets, and magic potions

I remember that in Passing for Thin, Frances wrote about noticing the age in her face only after losing her weight, that until then, the plumpness of her face had kept her looking childish. I am really relating to this myself lately. I am not sure if it's the dry air, or the weight loss, or being a little tired, but I feel like the face looking back at me from the mirror is definitely starting to show its age. I think that part of it has to do with a realization that I have entered the years known as "middle age." Last night, I saw the movie Catch and Release, and I was struck by the realization that all of the actors were in their 20s and I am not even in my early 30s anymore.

Maybe this is sounding more dramatic than I intend. I am not trying to say that I feel old, just that I am starting to feel older. The inner part of us, I'm convinced more and more, never changes that much over the course of our lives. I remember being 5 and wondering why people talked to me like they thought I was stupid, because I was very much a miniature adult even back then. Now I still feel pretty much the same inside as I did when I was 5, and college kids are calling me "ma'am." And this is a relatively recent thing for me.

I think that the reason that this bothers me is the same reason that it bothers everyone: there is a sense that I am not part of things anymore, that somehow I've been written off. I'm not talking about wanting to pick up guys in bars -- I'm happily married and unsolicited attention from men always just makes me confused anad self-conscious. It's more that I'm worried that I'll miss out on things, that I won't be relevant anymore. And that maybe there were things I should have done differently and might not get to redo.

I recently bought a whole set of Magic Potions in the hope of slowing my visible aging a bit. I feel like they're helping a little bit, but eye creams and moisturizer can only do so much. I think that Botox is too scary and makes people look like wax dolls, and that plastic surgery is even scarier. Hopefully I'll be able to keep that conviction as the stakes get higher. There is an unfortunate family history of wattles at the neck that might challenge my principles. I really am not ready for a wattle.

I have a crease in my forehead from my habit of raising my eyebrows, and my nearsightedness has probably contributed to my laugh lines. My husband has the good sense to tell me that those are "cute." I only believe him because I feel the same way about the signs of age in his face -- they show that he's not a complete newbie in this world, that he's been around and seen some of it. And smiled at what he saw. That's not such a bad thing. So I guess my lines show that I've laughed, and have been willing to be surprised, and have tried to see things a little more clearly. That's not such a bad thing either.

May all your lines be laugh lines.


  1. there are times when i feel older, like when you said people call you ma'am but most of the time, i feel pretty good about how i look... i'm not concerned about wrinkles, i think they give us character... and i've also taken good care of my skin so maybe i'll be lucky... i think it boils down to your attitude - if you act older, you're going to feel older and who wants that! :o)

  2. This is a thought-provoking post. The women in my family are traditionally known for having very few wrinkles as they age, even as they reach beyond middle age. Of course, they are also traditionally known for carrying around 100 extra pounds each, so it'll be very interesting to see how this translates to my face once my weight gets down. Interesting stuff.

  3. Jen, after I got one of my blood pressure meds eliminated, the next thing on my list was asking for Retin-A b/c I see wrinkles. (I say this in the tone of the little boy in the Sixth Sense -- I see dead wrinkles).

    She said that some of this might adjust as I finish losing weight and then she'd give me some. So I found an OTC which has similar properties and try to do this every night. And I've been obsessing about my impending neck wattle.

    But I like your philosophy about earning them and will try to remember that. It's all very true.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07