Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Beauty of Aging

We are born with soft, smooth, sensitive skin. As we age that skin toughens up and gradually wrinkles. It's part of nature's plan. Of course, there are things we can do to help preserve a youthful appearance. You know them - healthy eating, exercise, sunscreen, natural skin creams, managing stress, and yes, genetics do play a role. However, the bottom line is, if we live long enough, we eventually look old. So why are so many people having facelifts if a mature appearance is inevitable?  

According to the American Plastic Surgery Statistic Report, 113,000 facelifts were performed in 2010 at an average of $25,000 a piece (and that number increases every year). In case you don't have a calculator handy, that's a total of  nearly three billion dollars. Add in botox, lip plumping, eyelash extensions, nose adjustments and we've made a dent in the national debt. Okay, maybe a dimple. Regardless, it's a lot of money to fight a losing battle. People don't look the same at 70 as they did at 30.
What made me think about people wanting to memorialize their youthful face?

I was at the Banff Film Festival shown in Saratoga Springs this past Sunday and watched a four minute film called, Ski Bums Never Die. A 75-year-old woman, Mary Woodward, was featured. She had short grey hair, an effervescent smile, eyes that sparkled with energy and a face covered with wrinkles. She instantly became my hero. Mary is in excellent shape, skied swiftly down tree lined mountain slopes and laughed often. Check out the award winning  film below.

The face of a truly beautiful 75-year old woman.

I then went home and tuned into the Grammy Awards. It's pretty safe to say that just about everyone over 60 had a facelift. I could tell by the star's high cheeks that looked like they had been implanted with ping pong balls and the super-sized depressions on either side of their chins - the classic look of  a face that has been cut, stretched and tucked. Check it out:

Sorry Dolly. You're not alone.

It's just my opinion, but I really do think it looks like plastic wrap was pulled tightly over a face following surgery. So after comparing the skier to the stars, I made a firm commitment to follow the path of Mary Woodward as I journey through the afternoon of my life. Hopefully I will live my days with compassion, honesty, wellness and enthusiasm so my beauty seeps out from my inside. I don't want to rely on anesthesia, knives and bandages to feel pleased when I look in the mirror.

What do you think? If someone handed you a check for $25,000, would you dart to your nearest cosmetic surgeon or spend it on your favorite pastime for many years?


I'm going with Lady Gaga's Born This Way. The outrageous entertainer has publicly stated that she will never have a face lift. Her words, taken from Popeater, "I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than artistic expression related to body modification."

Love the dancing!!!


Back When We Were Grown-Ups by Ann Tyler. She is another woman that, although successful, has chosen to grow old with grace and style.

Ann Tyler at 71
The Baltimore Sun's Review of Back When We Were Grown-Ups:

“STUNNING . . . ‘Once upon a time,’ the story begins, ‘there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.’ . . . With Rebecca Davitch, Tyler has created a character who is brave enough to look back on her life and to imagine herself making different kinds of choices. Brave enough to wonder what honesty looks like, whether there is ever really a single distillation of self that is unshakable and true. . . . Anne Tyler has a talent for spinning out characters . . . who go on living long after their stories end.”


"If you invest in beauty it will remain
with you for the rest of your life."

Frank Lloyd Wright


  1. I agree with you whole-heartedly, Peggy. $25,000? You can bet I would put it to much better use than a face lift. Even giving it away to someone who needed it more than I did would be more acceptable! I have never died my hair let alone have some kind of face adjustment. I was born to look like this at nearly 67 years of age, so that's how I will stay. I don't use much makeup even, but that's just me. I never have. I'm fortunate not to have any wrinkles - yet. But when I do, they're part of me so I'll keep them, thank you just the same. As you have said, you can always spot a face lift. I feel the same about an octogenarian dying their hair black. It's not normal and tends to make the face look older than grey hair would. And the problem with a face lift is that you can't reverse it once it's done if it doesn't turn out satisfactorily. At least you can change the color of your hair or stop using dye. :-)I'm no beauty, and if people don't like to look at me that's their problem. I plan on being me no matter what.

  2. I really enjoyed this. Growing older means becoming a better writer, so I embrace the journey.

  3. Hi Peggy,
    I have just finished reading your blog and I like it. It is sad that we are spending more money for cosmetic surgery than for helping to educate and feed the poor. But I believe having cosmetic surgery goes. Not all people who have this type of surgery have it because they are afraid of getting old and I might add here these people are in the majority. There are many who have birth defects or are scarred in some form and in our society today, people look at you funny when you have a scar or a defect on your face. Maybe, we need to train ourselves to accept others unconditionally regardless of how they look and perhaps, people would start feeling good about themselves and cosmetic surgery would decrease.
    You have written an enlightening article and it has got me to thinking.

  4. Good point Patricia about the need for cosmetic surgery for medical and physical issues.

  5. I enjoyed "The Beauty of Aging."
    About Dolly Parton: She's an entertainer and as the saying goes, "her face is her fortune." I can understand why entertainers get plastic surgery.
    About Lady Gaga: She's 25 years old, so of course she is against plastic surgery. Ask her again in 30 years.
    About me: Would I use part of my $25,000 for a facelift? Not on your life! I'm about to turn 65 and I've earned every wrinkle!

  6. Of course, it's just a matter of opinion, but I don't think facelifts make entertainers more attractive. That "tight drum" mask actually looks like it might hurt. I love Dolly, but I honestly think she, and other stars, would look better with a softer more natural appearance. And her voice and songwriting would still shine through.

    As far as Lady Gaga goes, I agree with you. If she's still around in 30 years, we'll see if she succumbs to the Hollywood pressure to stay perpetually young. Still love that song, Born This Way.

    I'm keeping my wrinkles too. Like my post says, my decision was confirmed after seeing that effervecent 75-year-old skiier at the film festival and then seeing all of the stretched faces at the Grammy's. Wrinkles win.

    Thanks for the comments!!!

  7. I used to work as a surgical assistant for a group of plastic and reconstructive surgeons and I can tell you that the surgeries are risky and don't last as long as people think they will. I think our money (and time) is much better spent getting to a place where we are at peace with ourselves in whatever form that takes. For me, $25,000 would go nicely towards my kids' college educations.

  8. Hi, stopping by from the Women's Fiction group on Goodreads. This is a great post. I was just thinking about this the other day and marveling at how many women are getting facelifts. They look terrible, unnatural and plastic. Obviously, it is every woman's decision whether or not to have cosmetic surgery, but it is definitely not for me.

    On another note, "Back When We Were Grown-Ups" is one of my all-time favorite books. Love Anne Tyler.

  9. Hi, followed your link from Goodreads. My goal too is to grow old with grace. The days it is hard to compare my aging self to the young me inside, I remind myself I earn every wrinkles and gray hair.

  10. Came here from Goodreads. Ah, aging, some of the most beautiful people I know have just let all of those cosmetic things go and they glow from within.

  11. I think to laugh often and open is one of the keys to graceful aging; wrinkles or not, and especially to a youthful soul. This is my first encounter with this blog and it's just so refreshing!

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