Aging in The Modern World - Is it Better to Look Fake Than Old?

Pam Gaslow

Trying to age somewhat gracefully is like trying to solve a difficult math problem in your head. If I do this I’m going to look like that, if I don’t do that I’m going to look like this. I want to look as good as I can without looking like I’m trying too hard to look young. There’s a fine line and I don’t want to cross it.

I recently turned 50. I look around at women my age and older and everyone falls into one of three categories: You either 1) Don’t “look” your age (you look great!) 2) You look your age (ugh) or, 3) You look like you’re trying not to look your age, ie: fake and sometimes frightening. I’ve done a lot of the right things up to this point that seem to be working in my favor. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink or do drugs. I haven’t put my face in the sun in 30 years. I use sunblock, wash my face every night and moisturize. Besides that and genetics I don’t believe there are any secrets. I don’t buy expensive creams or serums or any of that stuff that makes promises that are unrealistic. Everyone is going to get old and a $500 creme isn’t going to change that, even if Cindy Crawford sells it or perhaps even uses.

I’m not completely innocent. I’ve had laser treatments in the past and I get botox in my forehead. I’ve tried putting filler under my eyes but it looked like I had filler under my eyes, so I had it removed and never did it again. I decided I’d rather have hollow eyes than bumps of filler, and besides, now I wear glasses and they’re tinted so no one can even see my eyes. A read an article on a few years ago that said that if you don’t keep up with everyone else doing botox, fillers, etc, you will end up looking older than other women your age and perhaps even older than women who are older than you. Although I’ve been reasonably smart and careful and no matter how young people say I look, facts are facts. I’m 50. My mother had a facelift at 50. I have a completely different shaped face/look than she does and the thought of getting a facelift is unnecessary and absurd. And yes, women do unnecessary and absurd things every day, but I don’t want to be one of them. And yes in todays day and age most women are putting off facelifts and using fillers. But I have a narrow, thin face that I don’t want to morph into a round, puffy one. It comes down to the question of is it better to look fake than old? I can’t make up my mind. With the insane amount of plastic surgery being done these days the message seems to be that looking old is not ok.

When I was 40 year old my best friend at the time had fat injected into her face. I had a loudmouth boyfriend and I specifically didn’t tell him because I knew he would mention it. We went to dinner and with zero prompting and no preliminary discussion he looked at her and blurted out “What the fuck did you do to your face?” She immediately looked at me assuming I had told him. I didn’t tell him, it was just so obvious. And so awful.

Which brings me back to the “fine line.” It’s always nice when someone who hasn’t seen you in a while tells you you look “great” as opposed to someone asking you “what did you dOn the other hand I saw a very beautiful women recently who was probably close to 60. What struck me about her was that she looked completely natural. Her lips were kind of thin and “could have used” some mild injections but she didn’t do it. She could have had filler to smooth out some of her lines, used lasers to even out her skin tone, had a facelift to pull everything a little tighter, etc. But she didn’t. I realized that what surprised me about her was that I hadn’t seen anyone age naturally in so long that it was literally shocking to me. Then I thought about how sad that was. Aging naturally these days is out of style, it’s so rare that it’s actually surprising. She was natural, but still beautiful. It was both refreshing and inspiring. She was a role model and a rebel and it made me so happy to see her doing it with confidence.These days everyone has taken things to the extreme. When I hear a 25-year-old talking about getting Botox or filler I cringe. Those are the years you get to enjoy being young and looking youthful, but I get it - everyone is nuts. I don’t have the answers for all this, and really there are none. It’s all your personal preference and whatever makes you feel good is the right decision for you. I want to feel good about myself and of course look the best I can, but I know that I don’t want to be unrecognizable. I’d rather look a little older than look like I’m trying not to look older. I’d rather have people wondering “how I look so good” than saying “what did she do to her face?” Eventually it’s just about acceptance and finding self worth in yourself as a person. I know it will get harder each year but we can only live one day at a time and enjoy and appreciate our life and our health. Then again if anyone has Jane Fonda’s doctors’ name that wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to share before it’s too late, would it?

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I am primarily a humorist but also write about dating, relationships, sex, addiction, and any random observations I feel inspired by.

Miami Beach, FL

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