Friday, April 25, 2008

Desperate Housewives or The Stepford Wives?

How far will one go to obtain the look of eternal youth? How soon will it be before we have a country, or world, of women...and some men...who look like a version of Joan Rivers?

For as long as I can remember it seems we have been on the search for the elusive 'fountain of youth'. Aging is what many consider a curse, something not to be experienced. We must stop it at all costs!

While I turned 56 this week, I do not consider myself 'old'. I have gone through the stepping stone birthdays of 30, 40 and 50 with barely the flutter of an eyelash. I have always said, "You are as old as you feel, or as young as you feel." Some days I feel older, or younger, than others. My 30th birthday was no big deal. I was too busy raising kids. My 40th, well I was 'roasted' at work and had a great time. I laughed until my sides hurt. I wish I still had that video, but I think one of my kids recorded over it. Hmm?

I planned my own 50th birthday party, partly to be 'safe' and partly so I would be sure it would not be missed! While many do not want to make it known they have turned 50, I was having a great time. I bought the t-shirt, It Took Me 50 Years To Look This Good!, and wore it proudly. We had music, food, drinks, cake and some pretty 'bad' pictures from days gone by. But hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can? I was 'roasted' again, with many stories, some I had forgotten. It was great to have family and friends remember those things. While some of my adventures in my past might not have been so great at the time, I just shrug my shoulders now and laugh. I am long past the threat of 'getting grounded' stage, and I turned out 'ok' afterall.

As I look in the mirror now, I see some signs of aging; laugh lines, worry lines, crows feet, etc. I figure each and every one of them has a story. The laugh lines and smile crinkles around my eyes tell me I have had some happy times in my past. Raising kids, being concerned about family and friends have caused the creases that my kids say actually come from 'the look'. 'The look' got results in the past, and still does today!

Hollywood has told us we need to look young to be successful, to be noticed. While many stars and starlets have had more plastic inserted, botox injected, skin nipped and tucked, fat suctioned, how often do we hear of them being happy? It seems their larger breasts, smaller noses, tighter skin, plumper lips or more pronounced cheekbones, wider eyes, smaller thighs and hips, tucked ears, hair plugs, lighter or darker skin has produced nothing in the way of happiness or contentment with themselves as a person. They still drink too much, take too many drugs to wake them up, put them to sleep, give them energy, relax them or make them happy.

As I see it, most of this is geared towards women. We have allowed ourselves to be belittled about our looks, told how we should look to be happy or successful. It appears our capability at a job is not what matters, but our appearance does. Because of this, many women spend money and time on the constant search for youth, for perfection, for approval, for happiness. We enhance our breasts so men will notice us, but if asked could they tell us the color of our eyes? I actually had one ex-husband tell me he would 'take me back' if I had my breasts enlarged. I figured if that was the criteria he was looking for, and besides I was the one who needed to do the 'taking back', not him...this was not an option!

An individual needs to be just that, individual. No amount of plastic is going to make you happier inside or a better person. While it might boost your ego for a while, how soon before something else is not 'just right' and needs to be fixed? How soon will it be when everything has been 'fixed' but the same issues inside are still there haunting you? No matter what you look like, you are still 30, 40, 50 or 60. You can be yourself or you can be 'desperate' and controlled by what/who others dictate.

In 4 years I will be 60. I think I'll have a party. I hope I still have the capability to work. I hope I can still get my wrinkled and crinkled self on my Harley and go for a ride, or tear around in my Jeep. I want to still be the coolest grand ma. I will still wear jeans and a t-shirt. I wonder if I can find one that says...It Took Me 60 Years To Look This Good! Most of all I hope I am happy and that I can have that birthday because the is just not acceptable yet!

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