What does that actually mean? And do you agree with it?
Should we simply accept the inevitability that signs of ageing will eventually catch up with us?
Should we surrender to the physical consequences of just been alive?
It is true, contrary to what I do as a profession, that I will on certain occasions recommend this “do nothing” pathway to my patient, suggesting that they should try to accept the fact that the outcome they so desire through plastic surgery may not be achievable. In the majority though, facial rejuvenation surgeries such as facelift, forehead lift, and blepharoplasty (eyelid reduction) can achieve tremendous benefits, as long as goals are realistic and limitations are understood.
I believe that growing old gracefully means accepting yourself for who you are, wrinkles and all. With age and the testings of time, we gain wisdom and greater understanding. Perhaps even a greater depth of peace and acceptance of ourselves. However, growing old does not necessarily mean we have to loose our inner youthfulness. In fact, the happiest people that I have met who are in their 80s and 90s still believe they are a kid trapped within an old person’s shell!
The difficulty arises however when the person we see in the mirror does not reflect the same person we feel on the inside. Inner confusion often arises. “Is that me?”. “I look old, but I don’t feel old”. We take a second, closer look. We begin to notice previously unseen frown lines, wrinkles around the eyes, excess skin in the neck, deep folds, drooping of the cheek, and eye bags just to name a few. The disparity between how we feel in ourselves and the physical realisation of ageing can lead to a feeling of helpless acceptance at best and inner despair at worst. Preoccupation with our ageing features (which, by the way, can only become more with time) can slowly disintegrate our inner youthfulness. You begin to feel like how you look.
So I propose a paradoxical approach to the saying “growing old gracefully”. Facial rejuvenation, whether it be through surgical or non-surgical means, and within the limits of realistic expectation, can make us look younger and fresher. This in turn may restore the equilibrium between our inner perceived self and what we display to the world. Our clock keeps on ticking, but is wound back a few years. We look how we feel. We are who we are. Food for thought.