Excerpts from Just Push Play-on Midlife
We all know the encouraging phrase – turn that frown upside down. Well, my brilliant friend Leigh decided that in midlife we should turn our whole faces upside down for our photos. What fun! Leaning backward over the edge of a bench at the ferry terminal, smiling and laughing for our “head shots”. Then we turned them right side up on our phones and sent them to each other. Surprise! We look like bright young women just heading home from university after exams. Makes sense to employ gravity to work that smoothing wonder, the same way it has worked to create to the laugh lines and eye creases that the upside down pose eliminated. Try it! No need for Botox or filler or face lifts, Just find a park bench or bed and let your face drift up, just as it daily drifts down. Magic!
On the ferry ride home, I wondered if there were other ways that I saw or experienced myself at midlife that could be so easily changed with a change of perspective. The answer that came up, however Pollyanna-ish it may sound, was everything. On further inquiry, I realized that optimism, positive attitude, can’t necessarily change the external circumstance, but it can change my internal experience of everything. The benefits of optimism include reducing stress by fretting and worrying less, better physical and spiritual health as we know that where our mind goes energy flows, a peaceful and healthy mind, improved physical well-being and self-confidence especially when I see that college student face still there in mine- clear thinking, increased focus and success from positive thinking, attracting positive things and positive people, and resilience from the knowledge of how much greater my inner world is than my outer.
I know that, without huge leaps in science, I’m going to spend most of my remaining time with my current ever changing face, and only those few moments with the inverted younger me. The gift is that I know she is always there, smiling from the inside, knowing that the happier and more optimistic she is, the brighter she shines out from within.
I have to also admit that I am so afraid of the “done ” faces. You know the ones, the tight ones, the ones with all the bumps and lumps in the cheekbones and lips from fillers . These faces might look artificially good with makeup, but coming out of the gym “au natural” they are a scary sight. Scariest for me are the faces that I see in magazines and on book covers that no longer look like their original owners. And to me they do seem to all look-alike, maybe due to some collective face that women want to achieve at midlife, or because of the face that the plastic surgeons think is the one we are all seeking. I know, beyond a doubt, that is not me. And to turn away from myself, the self that I have created over these almost six decades, would be the ultimate betrayal. I also realize that those altered faces, just like mine, will continue to fall, and those poor souls will have the fallen face that isn’t theirs any more, a double loss.
So, I will continue on with this face, the one I have created over my many years of experience. On the issue of plastic surgery, I remain pro-choice. It’s a personal thing, and anyone should be able to do it. However, before you do it, find yourself a bench and take a selfie to remind yourself who is still there.
If enjoyed reading About Face, you will resonate with Chapter 8, The Pillar of Perfection, in our book Just Push Play- on Midlife.