I just realized that I am truly getting older. Really. It shows on my face.
My first clue was when I really had to color my hair. My lovely reddish-brown tresses had turned to silver. Two years ago I went to Germany and performed in a concert where photos were taken. I was looking at a photo of my choir where someone else was directing. I had been in several spots on the stage during the night and wasn't sure where I was standing for the picture I was looking at. I looked at my sister and said, "Who's that old lady standing next to Mom?" as I squinted at the picture. Then I realized that old lady was me.
My sister, a hairdresser, by training, said, "That's it! We're coloring your hair." I had to agree. At 36, I was not ready to be an old lady yet. I had not one line or wrinkle on my face. I still looked and felt quite young, but I had all this grey hair. Sarah chose a very nice dark brown that compliments my eyes and skin and I like it very much.
But a couple of weeks ago, all of that changed. I looked in the mirror and discovered that I had bags and wrinkles under my eyes. I never considered myself a vain woman. I really don't put much care into my appearance. I don't wear makeup everyday. Until recently, I didn't even own a can of hairspray. But, the first thing I did when I saw the older look around my eyes, was to go to the store and buy makeup. Unfortunately, I bought all the wrong colors. I bought purples, which are supposed to look really good with my brown eyes. And they do, but they also look like bruising if you do it wrong. My daughter, of course, was the first to point this out.
She insisted that Michael let her take me to Walgreen's so she could buy me better makeup. (Walgreen's? The irony here is thick, folks...) Which he did. And so she did. She bought Mineral powder foundation to match my skin tone, which L'Oreal tells me is "Alabaster", just as my husband has always said. And a lovely collection of blues and aquas for my eyes from the Queen Latifah collection. It all looks very nice and I appreciated the effort that she made. She really has an eye for this. But, you know, I still don't wear it.
So, I tried the Olay Regenerist stuff...it works fine, but I can still see the age in my eyes. Maybe it's just wisdom. Yeah, that's what we're going with...wisdom. But now, I see jowls starting to form under my chin. Oh my God! My whole face is sliding off my skull!! So I tried firming creme..still, nope, I am still getting older. And while all this is happening, my temples are starting to show in the grey again so it's time to get those roots touched up.
It is truly amazing to me that I, who did not have big hair in the 80's, who did not ever spend 2 hours doing my makeup and hair for school, should really be so concerned about what everyone thinks of my face. I have begun to live in front of the mirror, gazing upon the decay of my youth as if I were going to be able to stop it somehow. As if by the sheer act of willing time to stop, that it would obey my command to do so.
My mother-in-law told me one time (when I was in my twenties) that I should smile more so that all my wrinkles end up in the right spots. Michael still tells me that when I frown in concentration. I look at my face in the mirror and when I smile, I still look pleasant. Maybe even engaging. I have about decided that the best makeup in the world is a clean, moisturized face with a nice smile on it.
Maybe 40 won't be so bad after all. There's a lot to smile about in this world. I think I'll just smile and not worry about the bags and the sags and the wrinkles that are appearing. When I smile they all fall into the right place anyway.
...but I am still going to cover that grey.