When I was (considerably) younger, and (perhaps) a bit more idealistic, I cut this quote out of a magazine and taped it to my full-length mirror. It read: “The true measure of success in life isn’t money, fame or power. It’s laugh lines …”
I was 22 at the time. And I didn’t have to get any closer to myself than a full-length mirror hanging at the end of the hallway. The empowered young woman whose world was her oyster was just getting ready to embark on a career, marriage, and adulthood–that could potentially lead anywhere–and didn’t really care where she was headed or how she was going to get there, so long as she had fun along the way. So, the quote was appropriate. And I have found plenty of reasons to laugh along that very same way.
But this morning, the (arguably) more mature, and (un)compromising version of myself required one of those magnifying mirrors–you know the kind … rimmed with flourescent light bulbs–to unmask every flaw and imperfection in what is *supposed* to be the soft, smooth surface of a youthful face radiating life’s energy.
WHAT IS THAT? I asked myself as I leaned so close to the mirror with my dry morning eyes that my nose struck the ice-like glass. A wild eyebrow hair gone astray? I fumble for my tweezers. A bit of ink from the pen I used to hold my hair in a knot atop my head? I reach for a wash cloth. A smudge of left-over mascara from last night’s dinner date with my husband? I grab my cleanser.
No. No, my friends. No, I am afraid not. Ruling out the possibility of my body playing some sort of sick April Fool’s joke on me, I’m actually fretfully certain that I’ve just discovered a wretched “laugh line” etched into my cherub-like face. What the hell? I think to myself … or maybe I yelled it. (I can’t really remember, given my body was slipping into a traumatized state of shock.) What the hell is happening to my body? I’m too young for wrinkles. What the hell is happening to my youth? I haven’t even run that first (a.k.a. last) marathon yet. What the hell am I going to do about this?
See … I am fundamentally opposed to Botox (for other people), because who is so vain that they need to inject toxins into their body just to freeze the faux image of youth on their face, even though it means they can no longer actually smile and develop any more genuine laugh lines? That’s the young, idealistic version of myself talking, I convince myself. Because she didn’t know that THIS would be too young to look like THAT.
Minimizing aging. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do in one way or another? Searching for our inner child. Trying a new moisturizer full of collagen and plant extracts to lift, firm, and tighten. Drinking plenty of water.
Ironically, because it is April 1, I decided to return to my monthly goals for the year. As it turns out, I’ve already dedicated April to minimizing toxic chemicals. Damn it. It’s like the gods of blogging knew I was going to discover a wrinkle today and try to tempt me with Botox, only to spin me around and force me to practice what I preach.
So, I guess I have no choice but to just continue laughing.