Ageing is a privilege denied to many.
Last week I watched BBC’s The One Show (Friday, March 29th, 2019) which featured an 80-year-old woman who recently had a facelift. She wasn’t wealthy and had saved for the operation which was carried out by a Harley Street specialist. He had discussed the procedure with her and made her aware of the possible problems and risks. In the segment, she stated that she was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing ‘an old woman’, she did not appear to be wearing make-up and looked tired. Appearing on the show following her op she did honestly look twenty years younger, but it wasn’t just her face that had changed it was her outlook. She was smiling. Her long, grey hair had been restyled and she was wearing flattering clothes. Her story struck me on several levels.
She was asked when she first considered she needed a facelift, she replied, forty. This means that for forty years she has been looking in the mirror and not liking what she saw, no wonder her confidence had been eroded. One of the things I’ve noticed over the decades is that when you come across old photos of yourself you often think, ‘I didn’t look too bad then.’ We are our own worst critics. I speak as someone who will not leave the house without makeup, it helps me feel confident to face the world. It helps me look in the mirror and accept what I see.
Of course, it’s not just our face which ages. My mother always said, look after your neck and hands they are instant giveaways. Besides hand cream, I would add foot cream. The skin is equally prone to dryness on your feet and I hate the cracks that can form on elderly feet. I can recommend Hemp Foot cream by Body Shop which I have used for years, so far so good – no cracks. Neck cream is harder to find as the ones I used were suddenly not being made anymore. I can only assume others are either buying expensive brands or not using neck creams at all. However, the skin on your neck is drier than on your face and needs a bit more help. My face cream is too light for my neck, and as I have sensitive skin I just can’t use some brands. However, I have just found a new neck cream by Vichy, it’s very thick and needs warming before applying. I squeeze a bit into my hand and tap it with my fingers before applying to my neck. If it doesn’t work I guess the next stage of my life will be lived in turtle-neck jumpers.
Another giveaway I’ve noticed is people’s teeth. Just like horses our teeth give away our age. Tea, coffee and red wine can all stain our teeth, but the main problem is that as we get older the outer enamel thins making them appear yellow. If I was willing to have anything changed cosmetically this would be where I’d spend my money. At present, I’m using Pronamel toothpaste, whether it will make a difference only time will tell.
This article is titled ‘confidence’ and it is the change that I noticed in this 80-year-old lady. I was discussing her transformation with a friend. Her response was that didn’t feel her age, inside she was still twenty, whilst I would go for thirty, I agree with her. The old adage that you’re as young as you feel has some truth. How you feel inside makes a difference to how you look on the outside. Whatever age you are, feeling confident is important to your wellbeing. I hope this lady’s new face goes on giving her the confidence to enjoy life.
Although this should be the end, I had another more personal connection to this story. My mother also underwent an operation at nearly eighty, but hers was a mastectomy. Unfortunately, she died seven months later. Her appearance was important to her too, she always wore makeup and dressed well. She was keen not to look her age either. Whilst a lot of people told me how stylish she was and how she always looked good, none of them added those dreaded words ‘for her age’. Her departure left a big hole in a lot of lives, she always had time for other people and she enjoyed life.
The illustration I used for this article is ‘Girl before Mirror’ by Picasso. Painted in 1932, the model is his lover, Marie-Therese Walter. One interpretation of the image is that she is contemplating growing older and losing her beauty.