As a nation we are in such denial it amazes
me. We have invented a way to make the things we fear
more palatable - we just give them cute names. Friendly
fire. Theater of War., Downsizing, Free Elections (two
parties and the one with the most money wins) and now
we have those all familiar Tummy Tucks, Breast Jobs,
Penile Enhancements …all sound like so much fun
don’t they? Oh those folks know exactly what
they are doing because the brain interprets these words
and sounds and responses are evoked that are either
positive or negative. Well darlings, the response to
cosmetic surgery is a fantastic 8.5 billion a year
or to the sweet tune of more than $9.4 billion dollars.
From 1997 this is a mere 304% increase in what is often
major surgery. 87% or 7.2 million of these surgeries
are on women and 13% or 1.1 million are on men, a number
that is rapidly rising.
OK, I admit it. I have thought about de-enhancing my double chin. It is a bit
worrisome that I look 10 or 15 years older than I feel inside. I understand this
is disparity in how we look, compared to how we feel, is a common phenomenon.
So I thought about it, then realized if I did the chin, I would probably want
to do the eyelids and those bothersome wrinkles around my mouth, so a full face
lift would be in order. After that, it hit me. If I was in a relationship, clearly
at some point I would take off my clothes so then I’d need the lyposuction,
the breast implants, the buttock lift, the whole lower body life, the upper arm
lift … oh dear the only thing I wouldn’t need is rhinoplasty. In
ten years, when all my little parts looked old again would I start all over?
Even if I got all of that done, damn, I’d still have my mothers hands and
they look my age. So with a resigned sigh, I decided to forgo the surgery all
together. My true beloved will have to love me as I am. Too bad we can’t
love ourselves in the same way.
Over the last thirty or forty years, women and men in America have become more
and more obsessed with how their body is seen. This need to have the "perfect
body" comes from a number of messages that society sends both directly and
indirectly in many different ways, but specifically by advertising in the media.
Manhattan socialite Olivia Goldsmith, who wrote the novel "The First Wives
Club" and once mocked those who would go to such lengths to look young,
died in January from anesthesia complications at one of New York's most respected
cosmetic surgery clinics.
We are so driven to look young, feel young, appear fit, and we have become willing
to do virtually anything and risk virtually anything to achieve that end. As
a result, some doctors are switching their practices to focus on the lucrative
specialty--even if they have little or no education in it. Because most state
laws do not apply to the private offices where plastic surgeries increasingly
are being performed, and because there are no federal regulations governing which
doctors can perform plastic surgery, oral surgeons are doing face-lifts, dermatologists
are doing tummy tucks and allergists are giving clients nose jobs. Essentially,
a doctor is a doctor under federal law. "In America, you can call yourself
a plastic surgeon, hang a shingle outside your door and do these surgeries in
your private office operating room with no regulation at all," said Dr.
Rod Rohrich, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and chairman
of the department of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas. "Most patients don't know the difference between
someone who is certified and someone who's not." The reason no one knows
the extent of the problem is that no one is keeping a national tally of the deaths
stemming from plastic surgery. A few states--among them Florida and California--have
begun to, but there are few other states with which to compare the results.
Ahh heck, what’s a girl and guy to do. Spend time getting to know each
others’ spirit. Unlock and talk about the dreams you left behind that you
might want to re-ignite. Tell each other how precious every gesture, every thoughtful
act and every hair on your partners head is. Stop the comparisons. Stop the fight
against time. Stop the break-neck race for perfection and realize there is no
such thing. In every community we have abandoned our appreciation of age, for
wisdom, for sage-ness. We are desperately holding on to the past and missing
the present moment. In every moment, every era and every age there is an opportunity
for rich awareness and an abundance of experience that is new to us. Nothing
is permanent. Everything changes. Embracing change with grace bring with it such
immeasurable joy. Take a breath. Honor your years and every experience that brought
you to this place. You deserve the celebration. A life well lived may be the
only badge of honor we need.