Visible signs of aging – oh, the enemy, for sure. For years my goal was simply not to let it get me the way it had gotten Mom. Her fair skin was deeply lined while she was still in her forties. She developed a turkey-wattle chin. When an angry colleague told her she “looked about 95 years old,” she shrugged it off. “I work rings around the woman, and she’s just jealous” – but I knew the insult had hurt. Lesson learned. Nobody was ever going to have the chance to say such things to ME.
As I entered my middle years, Botox became a trusted friend. When my sagging face began to look . . . well, saggy . . . and my double chin grew floppier by the day, I steeled myself for a facelift. It got rid of the jowls and wattle but not the wrinkles. Time had its own plan for etching itself on my skin.
Then my 57-year-old husband, the handsome, fit-looking man I’d lived with for more than 30 years, died of a massive heart attack while hiking in the mountains with his brother. That was six years ago. I haven’t worried about my wrinkles since.
What concerns me now is spending time with people I love, while I still can. Working as much as I can, while I still can. I’ve even had the chance to write a few books about aging women, plastic surgery and all. Time and age, those old adversaries, have turned out to be gifts.
In the mirror these days, I see an aging woman with a pale, lined face, who looks a lot like Mom once did. I wonder now why I ever wanted to eradicate her from my reflection – why any of us do. Except for the wealth of warm memories, it’s all of her that I have left.