Two words you never hear anymore....
We have reached critical mass. Botox. Dermabrasion. Collagen injections. Electrostatic facials. Thermage. Acupuncture. Blepharoplasty. Chin augmentation. Chin reduction. Lasers. Lights. Peels. Sound waves. Liposuction. Hair tints, streaks, dyes, extensions, and plugs. Acupuncture lift. Necklift. Midface lift. Eyebrow lift. Deep plane lift. Lifestyle lift. Lunchtime lift. Natural lift. Enough already.
When did we pass the tipping point? Mother’s single jar of Pond’s cold cream doesn’t seem that long ago. Next to it she had a large round box of Coty powder. It encased a fluffy white puff which left a mist around her head as she applied the powder to her face. She would use dampened fingers to remove extra powder and smooth her eyebrows. And lipstick. There was always dark pink lipstick. That was it. Despite the lack of technological and surgical assistance, Mother was always beautiful. She’s now 92, and you know, she is still beautiful. Not the same of course, but beautiful in ways that would not have been possible fifty years ago.
We no longer read about beautiful women as much as we see descriptions about the wonderful work they have had done. This is not isolated to Hollywood. Each of us could stretch out a hand and it would land on someone who has had some type of procedure. Television commentators are discretely absent for months only to reappear as versions of their former selves. Those lucky enough to have a skillful surgeon are recognizable and return with us speculating about the details of a lift here, a tuck there. Alas, even the best laid scalpel can go astray and some faces return almost unrecognizable. Shock and awe are the hallmarks of unfortunates who are left with a perpetual look of surprise due to eyebrows lifted beyond the point of natural return.
The two words rarely heard anymore are aging gracefully.
What’s that you say? Going gently into the night is overrated? I understand, but here’s the thing: you are aging whether you like it or not. You cringe at that first wrinkle, that first grey hair, so you nip, tuck, and dye. You may even look perpetually surprised. You fool yourself, and you fool others. For awhile. I suspect that most folks delude themselves longer than they deceive others.
Aging gracefully is looking the best you can with what you have, choosing a clear-sighted path to look as young as you feel. Aging gracefully means that you move towards inner serenity. You accept what you cannot change and appreciate each stage of life for what it offers. Aging gracefully is recognizing priorities and relative value. You have learned wisdom through experience, both joy and sorrow. You forgive yourself. Aging gracefully means that you find happiness in pursuing depth of purpose. It means you have learned to choose your battles and the realization that, actually, there are relatively few battles worth fighting. You have survived stronger than when you started. You accept that you will not slay every dragon, but there is merit in the effort. Sometimes you will even be victorious.
So, what’s wrong with going to the mat to fight the effects of aging, you ask? You’re asking me? You’re asking someone who formulates potions for this very purpose? So my answer is: Absolutely nothing… mostly. It is our raison d’être. A pox on new wrinkles, we say! The Abbey exists to help you look younger. We want to provide you with the tools to achieve lovely skin and makeup with a minimum of time and effort. We want you to experience the inner contentment and confidence that comes with looking your best. What we do not want is for you to obsess over your appearance to the extent that you are chasing expensive treatments and procedures ad infinitum. We want to free you to enjoy the life in your days. But life happens, and we accept each year as a gift, little lines and all. We want you to remain you and be happy with being you. And we want your family and friends to recognize you.
We are all younger than our parents were at a comparable age. It was no accident that in 1935 the Social Security Act was instituted for a retirement age of 65. At the time, the average life span for men was 59.9 years and 63.9 years for women. Today it is 75.7 and 80.3 years respectively. We have many more days in our lives. Use them wisely. Do your best, look your best, accept yourself, and then go out and extend your reach. And while you’re out there, feel free to slay a dragon or two.
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