No one can deny that we live in a culture that values youth and beauty. And it seems to be getting worse. Back when Marilyn Monroe was alive and famous, the curvy look was what women strove to look like. But now, it seems like it's "the skinnier the better!"
But it's not just striving for beauty that puts pressure on people. Aging is another aspect of our lives that is "looked down upon." The plastic surgery business is booming now more than ever, and it's all because we have bought in to the idea that "younger is better." Don't you wonder why? Sure, young skin looks beautiful. But why can't we re-evaluate our visions and re-program ourselves to think that wrinkles are also beautiful? Who's the one that said that wrinkled, sagging skin is bad?
I'm sure it goes back to biology. If someone is young (and beautiful), then they are more likely to have healthy babies. And subconsciously, people wanted to join their DNA with those kinds of people. But believe it or not, there were some cultures in ancient times that valued their elders. In fact, it was actually a good thing to be "old" because people recognized that you had wisdom that young people didn't. And people respected that. But it seems like that doesn't happen anymore.
I guess you could say that I'm "middle aged." I still think I'm 22, so admitting that is difficult for me! My mom is almost 80, and she still thinks she's 17, so I guess I come by it naturally. But even though I think I'm 22, I can't deny the fact that I'm not. I am slowly reaching the point where I am putting a lot of thought into anti-aging therapies and/or cosmetic ones.
I think there is a lot of stigma surrounding cosmetic procedures. It's almost like people think you are shallow for altering your face (or other parts of your body) in order to stay young and healthy-looking. I see their point. I really, really wish we lived in a world where we did look forward to getting wrinkles and saggy skin, but the reality is -- we don't. And just because I teach and write about issues such as this, it does not make me immune to how society has brainwashed me to want to look my best -- and youngest -- self.
I have done a lot of thinking about it. Why, if you have cosmetic things done, does it mean that you are shallow? Maybe it just means you want to look and feel your best! Again, is that cultural programming? Or just an innate desire to feel and look good? Either way, I think many people do want this. But honestly, I don't want to look 30 when I'm 80 (that's probably impossible anyway). But I wouldn't mind looking like Jane Fonda when I'm her age. She looks incredible! And even though she likely had "work done," she looks natural. And basically just she looks "really good for her age."
I got interested in all the possible cosmetic procedures a few years ago when one of my friends asked me to take her to her liposuction appointment. So, while waiting in the doctor's office, I perused the brochures they had laying around. I had no idea there were so many things that could be done that can preserve our youth! I thought the only thing you could do was have major plastic surgery. Boy, was I wrong.
So I started doing even more research about what was out there. And while I am certainly not encouraging or endorsing any of these procedures, I just thought you might find it interesting. I can't cover everything in this article, so I'm just going to report on the top things that I think I might consider in the future -- maybe.
1. Microdermabrasion or Chemical Peels.
From what I can gather, both of these procedures take off the top layers of the skin. The point is to diminish the lines and wrinkles in the face. They do it differently, however. I've seen pictures, and the results look good for both, but I don't know if I'd ever do it. Maybe, maybe not.
2. Teeth whitening or veneers.
I wish I had gotten braces as a kid. My teeth aren't really crooked, but I'd love to have them be more straight. And I would love to have them be whiter too. A couple of options to fix this would be teeth whitening or getting veneers. I'm not sure I'd do any of them, but at least I did learn a lot about the differences.
3. Mini-face lift.
Usually when we hear the word "face lift," we think major surgery that takes a really long time to recover from. But there is such a thing as a mini-face lift which seems a bit less daunting. Since my problem is (and will continue to be) sagging in the jowl area, I might think about this later in life.
4. Skin tightening.
Apparently, there are ways to tighten your skin beyond a face lift or a mini face lift. Dr. Oz provides some information about different ways you can do that. There are a bunch of different ways, so I don't know which is best. But I do know there are options.
I don't really know that much about these procedures, only what I learned in my research. So if you're thinking about doing something, do your own research and more importantly, talk to you doctor first.
I want to close with this. I don't know if I'll ever do any of these procedures. I might, I might not. But if I do, I'm going to be really clear about why I'm doing it. I don't want to be unrealistic or think that I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. Ultimately, it's all our individual choice. Aging isn't easy, but at least we're all in it together!