My favorite sister-in-law has many times remarked that she wished for skin like mine. Flattering, but embarrassing, as I’ve always taken it for granted and never given much thought, or wasted much time or money on it. For years my “regimen” was soap and water. I rarely wear makeup and when I do I generally forget to wash it off before I go to bed. But not so long ago I woke up to find that Mother Time had sambaed her way across my face, leaving tiny footprints under my eyes. And with the approach of what will be my fifth California summer, my freckles have banded together on their yearly trek across my cheekbones and nose, this time inviting along several of their heretofore-unknown relatives.
I don’t mind, very much, these subtle signs of aging, but it is disconcerting to still feel 20-ish (29, to be exact) and see an almost-40 year old in the mirror. Stranger still, The Pet Shop Boys, REM and myriad other bands from my youth are now officially antiques. And my 20-year high school reunion allegedly took place last summer.
Recently I’ve upped the amount of time and money I spend dermatologically and have had a couple of professional facials. As a result I have switched to an SPF 15 moisturizer, though at my last visit the esthetician told me that 1) I need to switch again to an SPF 30; 2) I need a moisturizer with vitamins (80$ an ounce from the spa); 3) an intensive moisturizer for my eye area might help with my "laugh" lines (100$ an ounce); 4) my freckles, though charming, are becoming more prominent; and 5) a big hat might be a good investment. I knew most of this already but it didn’t change the fact that the eyebrow burning I got from Elizabeth Arden* was probably less painful than hearing it put so bluntly.
It must appear that I’m not taking this aging thing gracefully, but I really don’t mind it so much. When I was very young I never thought I’d live to see 33 (and no, I don’t know why 33). But my 30s have been very good to me and I’ve never once wished to relive my teenage years. I have much more to show for my not-so-many-after all years than a few lines and blotches, though as I fully expect to live at least another 38 years, I’m sure I’ll revisit the blotches-and-lines issue at least once more.
So to my sister-in-law I say, “Congratulations! You have your wish.” But I must add that I’ve always loved your freckles. Now if only I may grow to have half your goodness and generosity and humor, I’ll be happy indeed.
* Not personally, but that is the name on the door.
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