Ode to Grauls (our local grocery store).
Last week I was checking out at the grocery store. The sweet little lady behind the counter asked me if I was 55 or older. Surprised, I looked at her in shock in my 49 years young. Her response was quickly rebutted with "I just don't want you to miss out on a senior citizen discount today." This event was on the heels of someone also telling me that I "was too young to look this old".
I thought about these events long and hard. And I wondered about options that are readily available in our forever young society. But I resist. Of course I want healthy skin. Clean skin. And yes, I would love not to be asked if I was 55, (yet). But I also love the quote from Lauren Bacall, "Your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that. Here I am. Here are my wrinkles. Here's what I have been doing my whole life."
As I thought about that quote, I agreed that the lines on my face are the map of my life. Each one represents a time that usually brought me joy. For example, from my first sunburn on a tropical family vacation when I was 8. Or from over 20 years of summers in Maine, down at the dock, swimming and sailing, with no sunscreen. I have lines from my days at Hunters Woods Pool where my mom dropped us off as the gates opened and picked us back up at closing when the peepers were chirping. There are lines from tanning beds and life guarding summer jobs in high school and college ...because, well it was the 80's. There is a line from the birth of my first born. This line grew deeper as I continued to have children, you know, the line known as the "mom line" right between your eyebrows. The lines around my eyes and mouth are from laughing with good friends and family...the ones my mother told me never to worry about as these lines would always go "up" and show that you have lived a happy life. The sad ones were the ones that you didn't want. I have those lines too as with loss comes sadness that you try not to show publicly, but privately these lines have a way of making their permanent appearances. This is what I have been doing so far in my life. And maybe my skin is weathered and triggers a response from the grocery clerk, but with a deep breath, I can smile gracefully and show her my happy lines, take my groceries and be on my way.
Finally, I am not against cosmetic enhancements, I have not done them for three reasons. One, I am so afraid I would die in vain and be the very tiny percentage that has an allergic reaction and my kids would forever have to tell people how I died. Two, I am afraid it will change my appearance too much and erase "my map". And three, I can't afford it. In the meantime, I am happy for you to recommend any products I can slather on with promises for younger looking radiance. (And yes, the irony is not lost on me with this last line).
A few links on the topic (and a few other musings)...
This book, Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People, based on this study.
Timeless Beauty: 3 Age-Defying Models Who Will Inspire You
At 100, Still Running for Her Life
The Best Beauty Advice From Centenarians
18 Summery salads
Still my favorite moisturizer.
While I've been distracted by my age, our health care policy is being drafted in secret.
Frances McDormand on Aging