My daughter’s car has almost reached the 100,000 mile mark, and predictably, it is beginning to require some rather tiresome and expensive maintenance. Tires are wearing out, batteries are dying, the ignition is acting up, and my daughter is none too happy about any of this. Sadly, I can relate–but not to my daughter’s feelings, as my car has only 35,000 miles on it and is still working just fine. No, what I mean is that I can relate to her car.
I may not have 100,000 miles on me, but as a middle-aged woman, I have definitely reached the point where I’m requiring a lot of tedious, complicated, and sometimes expensive maintenance. Lots of medical screenings, anti-aging lotions, vitamin supplements, regular dye jobs for my hair, special toothpaste to preserve my enamel….the list is both long and depressing. It’s not that I mind taking care of myself, as I’ve always paid a bit of attention to my health and appearance, its just that it has gotten so complicated that I can’t really keep up any more!
I know that my aging skin requires more care, but that doesn’t mean I understand exactly how to do that. I find myself standing in the skin care aisle at the drug store staring in bewilderment at the rows upon rows of alpha-hydroxy creams, retinol serums, eye creams, pore reducers, age-spot removers, black tea facial masks, and skin care products made out of ingredients I can’t even pronounce, much less understand what they are supposed to do for me. Plus, I have sensitive skin, so I can’t always tolerate the products that are supposed to diminish wrinkles. Or so my dermatologist told me as she casually tossed my recently purchased and rather expensive face cream into the trash.
Sadly, my face isn’t the only area that needs extra maintenance these days. I must also diligently fight against loss of bone density by regular weight lifting and calcium supplements, keep using those nasty little whitening strips so my teeth don’t turn yellow, and God forbid I should go more than three weeks without dying my hair. (When I do, I get a stripe of grey roots that is so obvious it looks as my head has brushed up against wet paint.) I have to worry about periodontal disease, get annual mammograms and the occasional colonoscopy, and keep buying more powerful reading glasses. Meanwhile, every single bruise on my legs turns into a cluster of spider veins which do not go away, even with painful and expensive treatment. And if I had to limit myself to only one beauty/maintenance product, it would be my tweezers. Trust me, I need them that much.
So I tell my daughter just to suck it up and do all the maintenance that her car requires. What I don’t tell her is that it’s good practice for all the maintenance she’s going to be doing on her own face and body when she reaches my age. She’ll find that out for herself, just like I did. Sometimes it’s best not to share the bad news too soon.