Last week I talked about vanity. As it’s still on my mind (which is probably some sort of vanity itself) I felt I needed to talk about it again.
I met up with my writing group yesterday, two women who were in my fiction class with me. As you may recall, I was vexed by a comment calling one of my characters vain. My friends totally disagreed with the comment, given it’s place in the book and what it was signifying, so I was glad that others shared my opinion. But they enlightened me to something else. We sometimes spend more time on ourselves as we get older.
I freely admit, it takes me longer to get ready now, than it did years ago. To be fair, I’m not the sort of person who takes an inordinate amount of time- I’m pretty much a wash and wear sort of girl. But now, I need an hour to get ready if I need to shower, 25 minutes if not. My Husband doesn’t get this at all, FYI. After 16 years of marriage he still thinks I can be ready in 5. It takes me longer than that to put my moisturizer on.
See, that’s the thing. Make up doesn’t take me a long time. Hair doesn’t take me a long time. It’s the other prep work- the moisture part. As I’ve gotten older, my skin, my hair, my everything has gotten dryer. I have separate lotions for every part of my body. I start with an eye cream, then a face serum, then a moisturizer- and that’s just my face. Heavier cream for my elbows and knees, cream with sunscreen for my hands, foot cream with vitamin E….I even put a few drops of oil in my hair….
This isn’t vanity. This is just so my skin won’t crack and fall off. This is now routine maintenance. Without these creams and potions I would crinkle when I walk. Seriously- it adds a whole new dimension to the term dust to dust….
I admit I stare at my reflection a little harder now. My eyelashes are a little more sparse (I think there is a gel you can put on them to make them more luxurious. the fact that I know this scares me a little). My skin is a little less taut. My undereye bags can now be considered a distinct part of my face. It is hard to look at myself and not see the younger version of me, because in my mind I am still that younger woman. In my mind I am still the woman who was just attractive because there is an attractiveness in youth. Alas, none of us realize that when we are young- we’re to busy trying to grow up. We take for granted the tight skin, the lack of spots and other weird things that eventually creep up on us.
Does this additional self reflection make me vain?
I don’t think so. Maybe it makes me a bit wistful, makes me think of the past. Maybe it forces me to think about choices I’ve made, for better or worse. Sometimes you have to take a long hard look in the mirror, to both remember who you were, to see who you are, and to consider who you will be.