Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grow old gracefully? Nah....

Ahhhh, 40. I remember my mom turning 40. I was 18 at the time, and remember thinking that she looked pretty decent for somebody so, well, old. So when I turned 40 a few months ago, the memory of that smug evaluation of my mother hit me like a baseball bat--a baseball bat made of chagrin. Here I was, turning 40, and...looking pretty decent for somebody so, well, old. 

And of course, I'm obligated to say that 40 isn't "old." I'm compelled by self-preservation to drop such forced-perky lines as "40 is the new 30!" and "You're only as old as you feel." Well, I'll tell you--when I look at myself in the mirror when I wake up in the morning, I know 30 never looked like this...not even after a long night in Vegas. Yeah, 40 is the new 30 if 30 has bags under its eyes, boobs you can hide an Ipod under, and the beginning of neck waddles. Alright, maybe I'm not that bad in the morning...but you can hide an Ipod under my boob (I'm very entertaining at cocktail parties).

But the "old as you feel" line is pretty true--most of the time I really do feel like I did in my  20s. Sometimes it's a real shock when I look closely in the mirror. The mental image I have of myself is what I looked like at about 24 (sans the rock-hard, 7-day-a-week-at-the-gym-body, of course). I exercise 3 or 4 days a week, I make an effort to eat "right" (whatever that is, depending on which magazine you're reading), and I take my vitamins and my Move Free Advanced (glucosamine for the not-yet-feelin'-it-in-the-knees crowd). 

My mom, now 62, interestingly enough says the same thing--that she feels like she's 23. And then she looks in the mirror and says, "Who the hell is that??" And I have to laugh, rather rueflly I admit, because I know that someday I'll be saying the same thing. 

So! My dilemma--which really, shouldn't be a dilemma. I am thinking it's time for Botox. Yup. In fact, it may be past time. Yesterday at the beach my 10-year-old looked deeply in my eyes. I anticipated a compliment--you have pretty eyes, mommy! Something along those lines. So I smiled at her, waiting, and she said, very seriously, "Mom, you have alot of wrinkles around your eyes."

"Hey, it's sunny! I'm squinting!" I protested. 

"No," she replied, "They're always there."


The reason I've been hesitating is because I wonder if my motivation to "do the Botox" is merely vanity. Why can't I just grow old gracefully? Is there really anything wrong with wrinkles? If I start Botox, am I really eager to keep doing it, ad infinitum? Am I trying to look 20 again? Do I even want to be 20 again? And, the question that I've mused over most of all: what message will I give my two daughters if I do get Botox?

My husband, a corn-fed mid-westerner who looks a full decade younger than his 48 years, is neutral on the subject. (I suspect he'd rather I get a boob job--he's pretty tired of my hide-the-Ipod trick). My friends are terrific supporters--and too my surprise, when I bring up the subject many of them have told me they've taken the Botox plunge already. Who knew? I always thought they were just blessed (darn them!) with really great skin. 

So the conclusion I finally came to is...I'm gonna do it. And no, I don't want to look 20 again (an awful year anyway, between bad roommates, big breakups and crappy jobs). I just want to look as good as I possibly can for my age--40. After all, that's why I exercise regularly. That's why I avoid fast food and (usually) pass on dessert. And why the Estee Lauder anti-wrinkle line takes up the entire top shelf of my bathroom cabinet. 

That's not to say there isn't alot to be said for letting nature take its course--you should see my mom. She's a knock out in her 60s, and has never been near a needle. But she's told me that had a solution to her crows-feet been around when they first began to make an appearance on her face, she wouldn't have thought twice about it. In fact, she thinks I'm silly for even thinking about it at all. I just need to get my saggin' ass to the doctor!

Next dilemma so figure out...should I get a tattoo??

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