While I was waiting for another riveting episode of Law and Order SVU to come on last week, a well known cosmetics company ran a commercial touting their latest potion for getting rid of wrinkles and “fine lines”.
Or I should say another well known company ran a commercial for their latest wrinkle cream.
As the glittery ad flashed photo after video of a 40 something celebrity dancing around joyously because she had found the answer to all her problems in this ¼ ounce jar of magical creamy bliss, I inadvertently felt my hand touch the vertical line on my forehead between my eyebrows. Just checking to see if it was getting worse…or perhaps was it miraculously becoming less noticeable.
Just a few days before, the high school dropout who wore a crisp white lab coat behind the cosmetic counter informed me it was no longer a fine line – or even a wrinkle – far worse! It was (da, da, da) a derma-crease and could only be treated (as if were cancer) with “an injection”.
She lamented that there was no potion that would free me from the offensive blemish…there was no hope.
Of course – with my despair palpable, she admitted that this fine cosmetics company she represented had recently released an anti-aging regimen of products that if used religiously and liberally might possibly – and I quote – “would compact the cells in my skin and make it appear to be firmer and (oh joy of joys) younger.” Her perfectly manicured hands dramatically caressed the glass box that displayed this new regimen and as if to reward the hope that was clearly creeping into my subconscious – she effortlessly slid a hundred foot wide magnifying mirror across the counter so I could clearly see the mountainous peaks and valleys of the “crows feet” that were stomping mercilessly at the corners of my eyes.
The ¼ ounce of prevention cost more than an ounce of gold and as I gratefully allowed reason to rule the day, I stepped back and took a deep breath and just bought the lip liner I had come for. She was shocked that I was denying myself the opportunity to appear young again and assured me that she would hold onto a kit just in case I changed my mind. I couldn’t help but choke back the impulse to tell her all about what surprises life had in store for her!
This young lady behind the cosmetic counter today didn’t offend me as much as the ads and commercials where they use a 16 year old fashion model to convince me to buy something that will reduce the “fine lines” or brighten the dark skin under my eyes, or lift and tighten the skin that is starting to sag a bit around my neck. That model doesn’t even believe those things will ever happen to her. I know I never thought I would live long enough to get wrinkles.
But I still get aggravated at myself for the self-loathing that these commercials bring out in me. The useless worry about things that are going to happen that I have no control over. The all-consuming vanity about that stupid line. The fear that my youth was wasted doing exactly what I am doing at this very minute…fretting over the inevitable and not taking positive action to take on what I can accomplish.
I was challenged in my women’s’ group therapy meeting this week to set a goal for the coming year. There’s a lot going on in that sentence. Challenged meaning it’s not supposed to be easy. Women’s Group Therapy meaning a group of grown up women with grown up issues who are determined to set some things in our own heads straight.
“Take a moment,” The therapist admonished. “And come up with something that will impact your life in a positive way.”
I looked at it again this morning – just to be sure it hadn’t changed. But there it was in all of its idealistic glory.
“Find a Way to Save the World”