The wheels and gears of time grind on. Each sweep of the second hand thrusts us forward, as time passes by. I have started to reflect on time and age as another birthday arrives. Everyone has his or her take on getting older and aging. For most of us, in our society, it is not looked upon favorably.
In fact, getting older pretty much stinks. Time is a ravager. If you have any doubt take a look in the mirror. That reflective glass we stare into likes to taunt us with the latest wrinkle or spot. It is a slow decline as gravity tries to suck us back into the earth.
I was just looking through some old photos before I posted my latest blog, and I was shocked at what I saw. A much thinner, youthful me was staring back.
What happened to that guy?
We lose track of the nuanced changes that take place, as we get older, because we see ourselves everyday. It is a very slow stop-motion film from infancy to Armageddon. I just didn’t notice when I took the exit ramp on the “Highway to Hell.”
There was one photo that I wouldn’t even have thought I was in, although I remembered being there and wearing that particular sweater. How can we change so much? Sometimes I feel like I am in the reverse process of nature. I started out as the butterfly and I am turning into the hairy caterpillar.
It is like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The aliens came in the middle of the night, and stole my body and replaced it with a Silly Putty one. The new one keeps stretching, sagging and pulling in places it shouldn’t.
I know that it is all about good nutrition, exercising, and watching your health. Being fit certainly keeps you looking younger. It is just so much work. I’ve spent my time in the gym, and hired a personal trainer. I remember pointing out a fit younger guy in the gym, and telling my trainer I want to look like that.
She shook her head, and said, “You need to be realistic.” What kind of words of inspiration were those? I realized what she was trying to tell me. I needed to deal with an older body, and set obtainable goals. Blah! Blah! Blah!
I had to face it. I wanted a Ferrari body, but I was dealing with a Ford chassis. No amount of sweating, crunching, squatting, and lifting was going to get me the look of a ripped twenty-five year old. No more 29-inch waist jeans for me. I needed to say hello to Husky Town where the big boys play. It’s all about the glutes, the abs, the pecs, the quads, the jets and the sharks. It will drive you crazy!!
We are a society obsessed with age, and I drank the Kool-Aid. Intellectually, I realize that it is shallow to worry about appearance as much as I do, but it is all-relative. If you are thinking – “what is he worried about?” Just remember your perspective can be different. Everyone’s world spins on a slightly different axis, and mine is a bit off kilter. Don’t say, “Just keep your chin up,” because then I will have to wonder which one your referring to.
When I was young I couldn’t wait to grow up. I remember being about eight or nine and asking my mom when I would grow underarm hair. She just laughed and told me when it was time it would happen. She forgot to hand out the pamphlet about ear hair. There is a Yin and Yang of hair that we must learn about.
As hair thins on one area of your body it begins to grow wildly in other area. The ears and nose become senior centers of hair activity. The growth rate is astronomically higher than any other body hair. No matter how much you try and tend to personal grooming, there always seems to be that stray hair that appears like Jack just threw a bean in your ear and a stalk has sprouted. I find myself wishing for an attack of Alopecia. Of course it is a personal preference of mine, but I’d rather try the bald look than deal with Cousin It.
There is always plastic surgery to think about. It has become so commonplace that kiosks are popping up in the mall. I am all for a little reconfiguration here and there if it looks natural. Unfortunately, men usually don’t get good results from facelifts. Just look at Bruce Jenner, Kenny Rodgers or Burt Reynolds and no more needs to be said.
The procedure seems to feminize men. The plumping and pulling of the skin takes away the rugged, masculine look. So why they may appear to have smoother, wrinkle-free skin, they look like slightly younger ugly women. After several years when the skin starts to sag again, then they look like someone’s grandmother. Have you ever seen Bubbe Barry Manilow?
Several years ago, I saw an advertisement for a plastic surgeon who was holding a special night for men in his office. The event was for the male population who might feel uncomfortable making an appointment and facing a waiting room filled with women. I had always thought about the possibility of a few nips and tucks, so I decided to go.
I wasn’t interested in a facelift, for the reasons I just mentioned, but a little chin work would be nice. I drug Gary along for moral support and eagerly filled out a questionnaire. I had visions of a little Botox, some reconstruction, and I would emerge a Brad Pitt clone. Of course, my momentary delusion was shattered when I was called into see the doctor.
He was a nice man, who didn’t look like he had been practicing on himself. He poked and examined my face, and asked the all-important question “what were you thinking about having done?” Removing my head and replacing it with a new one was out of the question. I told the doctor I wanted a little firming under my chin, the puffiness removed from my eyes, and some nose work. I wanted a revitalized version of me.
If my ears had to be removed, so be it. I just wanted a sleeker look, which emphasized youth. The doctor advised that there was nothing that needed to be done to my nose. I guess that is a positive thing to hear, but of course I thought perhaps, it was too much to tackle. He didn’t want to take on something so extensive. After all look at the nightmare of the Big Dig in Boston.
The doctor did explain that he could tighten my jawline, and get rid of any jowls that might be forming. Can I just say that I hate the word “jowls.” It sounds like something that should only be connected to a turkey and mentioned only on Thanksgiving. Like, “did you remember to remove the jowls, before putting the turkey in the oven?”
He also, said that he could remove the heavy eyelid look that occurs as we age. He showed me and explained that we get fat deposits in our eyelids, which he could remove. All I could think was, “Dear lord, I have fat eyelids!” When did this happen, and why didn’t I realize it. Also, what kind of diet could I put my eyelids on, and how do you exercise them?
The surgical procedures were explained to me. How they wrap your head after the chin surgery, and you have to sleep sitting up for several days. It all sounds like so much fun, and then they add the price tag to the whole ordeal. I took the brochures with me, and told the doctor I would contemplate the next step.
I am still pondering going under the knife, but it hasn’t happened yet. It certainly has a monetary concern. I tell myself if I can become a successful published writer, I’ll be on the doctor’s table faster than a crack whore is on her back during New York’s Fleet Week.
In the meantime, I am the ultimate consumer for lotions and potions that claim to help retard the aging process. I have become a Strivectin-SD customer, and I recently began using Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Transformer. I slather it on and hope for the best. While they are good products, and I do think they have a useful affect, they are much better at transforming your wallet than your skin. The search for the fountain of youth is expensive.
So while I sadly stare into the mirror and watch the advances of time, I have heard people try and compliment me. Several times strangers have told me that I look like Robert Redford. That would have been a great compliment forty years ago when he was in The Way We Were or The Great Gatsby. Have you seen him lately? He is not quite the same movie idol. So I smile congenially, and rush home for a shot of Belvedere.
I hate gazing down the barrel of time, but at least I know I am not alone. My sister called me hysterical one day saying she had looked into the mirror and mom was staring back at her. We know that time is catching up with us when we start becoming our parents. I love my dad, and I miss him everyday, but I am just not ready to start wearing those zip-up jumpsuits.
I guess it is just about moving on, and knowing that only the future lies ahead of us. We can’t recreate the past, or effectively bring back the fresh look of youth. With enough cash we can try to buy a reasonable facsimile. The fix is only temporary, and then the army boots of time march on.
I can stop letting photos be taken of me, so I don’t see the older version immortalized in stills, or I can work with lighting and perfect that pose that removes one of my chins. Shooting through Vaseline and panty hose is an option, but probably too much work. I don’t need my photos to look like a cheesy glamor shot. I can become a recluse. A man of mystery, and invest in some disguising hoodies.
I definitely have some points to ponder as another year passes by. Do I tap into retirement savings to go under the knife? It certainly would deplete any financial security for the so-called “Golden Years”, but I would be a fabulous looking street person. A Robert Redford of the homeless.
I try not to let society dictate what is acceptable for a person at any age, but it is difficult to swim against the current. I have always had a problem with wanting to fit in and be accepted for who I am. I have my health, a wonderful partner, great family and friends, and hopefully another year to ponder this dilemma. As I lean over to blow out the candles on another birthday cake, I cross my fingers and hope I don’t light up my nose hair.
|The future me?|