“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things”.
Maybe not “of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings” but of age and skin and growing old, of facing up to things.
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she looks in the mirror, and she sees them staring back at her. You know what I’m talking about. THEM! The soft pillows along your jawline, the drooping cheeks, the “jowls”.
I have always prided myself on looking younger than my age, but after taking a close look at myself in the mirror the other day, I wonder how long the gig has been up.
If you have ever been to an amusement park or carnival, you have visited the gaming booths. One of these booths usually has someone who guesses your age for a dollar or two. What are they looking for?
First of all, anyone who pays for someone to guess their age usually does not “look their age”. The guesser knows to guess higher or lower than what they see at face value.
Except they don’t look at things at face value. They look for physical clues too and trust me, there are plenty.
In your twenties, you are gorgeous, darling! You have great collagen support to keep your skin supple. The apples of your cheeks are firm and perky, filled with subcutaneous fat.
In your thirties, things start to change. Your skin tone may become less even, blood vessels may break under the skin surface, and you could develop sun spots along with lines around the eyes. Loss of subcutaneous fat leads to volume loss in the mid-face and cheeks. Your face becomes slimmer and more angular.
In your forties (*cough* *cough*), your skin starts to get dry which makes any wrinkles more pronounced. Volume loss is not only seen in the mid-face and cheeks but over the temples and in front of the ears, and may even lead to skin sagging. The nasal bridge may shift downward too, causing lines to form between the brows. Your upper lip may retract and appear thinner.
I always found the aging process to be fascinating, even though I never wanted to “look” like I went through it myself. I dare you to find a woman who does.
Who knows? Maybe with all this info, you and I can host our own booth at the next county fair.
The truth is things change as we get older. We will look older on the outside, whether from wrinkles or jowls or gray hair. Some people may have stooped posture. Others may be presbyopic with bifocals perched on their noses, while others tweak hearing aids in noisy restaurants. Do not even get me started on sagging boobs.
None of this changes who we are on the inside. While we often like to show our best face to the world, the heart of things lies in our experiences and relationships, in our ideas and day to day life.
Not everyone is lucky enough to grow old. Wear your age as a badge of honor. I see the changes in my body as evidence of all that I have survived and endured over the years. I am proud of the woman I have become, even if I sometimes cover it up with hair dye and a bit of makeup.