- Aging & Longevity
Age Matters...Don't Patronize Me.
Time marches on and on and on
The divorce was final, my lease signed and I was laid off the following week from a job I held for 13-years. I had my annual review a week prior with glowing accolades. I wasn't the first layoff and as of today, more troops have followed. However, the shock of my demise with this company, which I felt was "my home away from home" left me disseminated, discombobulated and bereft of my ability to be a successful, independent entity. In the brief minutes it took to dismiss me from my work life, I was completely stripped of any resemblance of confidence. I somehow walked out, drove home in the rain the one-way, 45-mile commute, crying without restraint and began the downward spiral of doubting myself. In the span of an hour and a half, I went from a confident, sexy, well-respected, competent, often complimented member of the workforce to a zero without a purpose or a paycheck. I felt old. Thus, began my journey to begin again.
Hope springs eternal
The trauma of losing my job launched me into the world of the unknown and unpredictable. I had become accustomed, like everyone in the world, to adjusting to events beyond my control. I had been living with autoimmune disease since shortly after the birth of my only daughter. Originally diagnosed with SLE (Lupus), I was cautious in making changes due to the unpredictable nature of the disease. Years later, the label was changed by my doctor to mixed connective tissue disease as the classes of autoimmune diseases often overlap. Through the years, I dealt with a lung problem that resolved itself and more recently, inflammation that affects my small bowel. Although, I do not have Crohn's, it behaves similarly and the drugs normally prescribed for the disease afford me the control in my life necessary to "have a life".
Throughout my years, due to the luck of my gene pool, I was accustomed to the perks of being considered a "looker". This is, like art, subjective. I have had my fair share of wolf whistles, indecent proposals, stalkers and doors opened with a flourish and a complement. Recently, as I was leaving the grocery store, a man approaching, stopped in his tracks and said "You are beautiful". It happens frequently, even in my advancing years, but short of stopping traffic daily, in my negative state of mind, I felt ugly and old. The world today worships youth. The job market, the fashion industry, young men, old men, and especially mature women, who feel bypassed under the trampling feet of the 5" heels of the young women growing up too soon, are all influenced by the power of the inherent beauty, the life-force of the young. I began my quest to regain the semblance of my youth.
I started the journey in the grocery store when I came across a magazine called "New Beauty" touted as The World's Most Unique Beauty Magazine. The $10 cost gave me a prelude to the expense of anti-aging products and procedures. The magazine is very well put together and informative about options, the list of doctors schooled and accredited to perform aesthetic procedures and the details of the mechanics of these procedures. The guide to finding the right beauty expert cautions "that there are 882,000 practicing doctors in the U.S.; only 5.6% are actually qualified to perform aesthetic procedures". After researching the options and talking with friends who had experienced some of the viable, outpatient injectables, I chose the doctor in my area who was accredited and experienced in the realm of the options I was willing to explore. I made my appointment.
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The day in August arrived. I was nervous...more about getting to the office location at the appointed time than the anticipation of the procedure. I arrived early and waited only a short time before meeting the doctor. The staff was very professional yet friendly. The doctor examined my skin and sat down to discuss my concerns. I told him I did not like the number of fine lines on my lower face. I asked him his opinion and he explained my options without projecting or leading. He offered his suggestion for minimal injectables, botox for between the brows to moderate a slight discrepancy in the asymmetry of my eyebrows and a filler for the fine "marionette" lines I mentioned. He explained the advantages in sunscreen use in preventative care of the skin, particularly as it relates to damage and aging. The doctor did not mention any specific skincare products until I requested his professional opinion, upon which time he suggested a relatively inexpensive product in lieu of the more extensive, expensive line touted in New Beauty. Following his thorough explanation and my questions satisfactorily answered, I decided to have the botox and juvederm injectables administered. At that point in the visit, his assistant took before photographs for documentation. The injections were quick and painless, but I did have the usual bruising. The doctor gave me an ice bag before I left the office. The bruising lasted until shortly before my followup appointment in two-weeks. The botox took about a week to noticeably change the furrows between my brows and slightly lift the eyebrow. The change was notably better. The fine marionette lines were noticeably softened, filled and smoothed. My next appointment is in early October as the botox effectively lasts approximately 4-months. At that time, the juvederm will be "touched up" and good for a year. The second appointment cost is offset by the accumulation of "points" that culminate in a price reduction in addition to the smaller amount of product necessary. My journey to a younger face was a painless, positive experience that provided me with additional confidence, a lift, so to speak. I learned about "marionette" lines (my synopsis being that I allowed others to pull my strings too often), the application of science in beauty, the knowledge that these procedures are becoming very common and not beyond the realm of the average person, and that looking younger is not the ticket to employment. I have generated some interest, not with my face, but with my resume. I remain unemployed at this time and I am not alone. Of interest, on the local news today, the newscaster queried the workforce expert if it was true that those "over 50" jobless due to the economy could possibly remain jobless, she replied, that "yes, it was a real possibility as employers were hiring new graduates who were willing to start out at a lower salary rather than an experienced worker on the higher end of earnings". It appears the workforce IS interested in youth, but from a monetary vantage point. The fact they have not yet earned their "marionette" lines has no bearing...