So, I’ve been contemplating a facelift. I’m not interviewing surgeons or anything, but, well, I’m feeling...old. Last year for my 38th birthday, I bought myself one of those light-up magnifying mirrors. I believe its magnification is at 200x normal, but again, I’m feeling old, so I’m doubting my memory on the specifics. At first, this was a really fun toy. I am convinced my eyebrow arch, my makeup and my ability to know exactly (to the minute!) when to get my lip waxed, improved exponentially. 200x even. But once this all became old hat, my eyes drifted to other parts. Over my eyebrow, the big freckle that appeared during one of my three pregnancies was starting to look a lot like some sort of liver spot. Dark circles had settled forever under my eyes. Creases in between my eyebrows distracted me from the pleasure of my excellently sculpted arches. Smile lines. Huh. Some birthday gift.
I started doing that thing. The thing where you stand in front of the mirror and you move your face around. I pulled my skin back. Not “The Housewives of Beverly Hills” back, but a good 7-9 years back. I reminisced about my time working with teens, wearing overalls to work and doing programming in the high schools. More than once a security guard asked me for my hall pass. I was somewhere between 26 and 29 years old. I still work with teens, but now I’m old enough to have given birth to them. No one cards me when the sign reads: “We card anyone who looks under 40.” And I get called, “Ma’am” 100 times for every, “Miss.”
It’s funny, because some of the things about getting older really don’t bother me. My boobs that hang close to my toes? A sign of the sacrifice I made to nurse my kids. They are like a badge—or two badges rather—that can be completely hidden in a good bra purchased at Bloomingdales. And in some ways I’m very lucky—no grey hair. (In addition, I have the secret ambition to become a redhead once things do, so I have a plan.) I’m also in fairly good shape. I shed 27 pounds a couple of years ago and although a pound or two comes to visit once in awhile, they don’t stay for too long. And for these things I’m grateful. I try to remind myself that getting older beats the alternative. Because by far, wrinkled and old is better than dead and beautiful.
I’m turning 39 this month and I’m thinking about a meaningful gift I can give myself. I’m not getting a facelift even though the impulse is there. The collection of lines and wrinkles and creases do sometimes mess with my self confidence. And although the culmination of time has crept up on me, I know from whence things have come: My years of laughing, smiling, crying, worrying and frowning. My experience of growing and carrying and birthing babies. Moments at weddings and funerals. Squinting my eyes at the hot sun in Hawaii. My face is older. It’s changed over the years like I have. But I recognize myself. And that’s probably a good thing. Now the real question is, will my husband recognize me when I greet him at the door in the not too distant future, as a fiery redhead?