Today's cup of decaf is with Jennifer and Nicole.
I love Jennifer Garner and Nicole Kidman. They are strong and talented. They are hard working and successful. They are moms and role models. I admire how they move gracefully through life in the spotlight.
Why, then, would my soul sisters in aging lie to me? Why would they tell me that Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair reduces wrinkles in one week? “A lot can happen in one week,” they tell me. “But wrinkles won’t,” they promise. Who wouldn’t trust them? They are Jennifer and Nicole! They were speaking directly to me when I felt the urge to deal with the wrinkles on the sides of my mouth.
Wrinkles, as we know, are a natural part of the aging process. Thus, making them unavoidable. Research tells us that wrinkles are caused primarily by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet rays, which creates a breakdown in the connective tissue. This, they tell me, causes a drying and loss of strength and flexibility. Since I have spent much of my life enjoying the great outdoors and all that the sun has to offer, I was destined to wrinkle. One medical website told me that wrinkles are also caused by repeated facial expressions. Repeated smiling and squinting creates grooves below the skin’s surface, and as you loose your above mentioned strength and flexibility, you no longer bounce back into place! Obviously, I am not going to stop smiling repeatedly. And I can’t prevent squinting, especially with my eyesight constantly failing me. So, I needed another fix.
I, like all of you, try to go through most of my days feeling fabulous, confident, and body positive, regardless of all that is actually happening in and around my body. I am happy and healthy and, although alarming at times, the aging process is not freaking me out…that often. I find that as long as I can stay active, I feel like I’m in the game.
That being said, I recently noticed these particular wrinkles that gave the affect of skin sagging off my face (think Winston Churchill). Once I noticed they were there, I could not, NOT see them anymore. I had plunged from the recognition phase into the obsessive phase and quickly moved into the take-action phase. I can control this, I thought. There are miracle products for this. I know there are. Jennifer and Nicole said so!
Stop the Car
“Stop the car,” I said one day, on a family outing. “I have to run into CVS and buy some wrinkle cream!” Right there, looking straight at me, were Jennifer and Nicole, and a brand I have trusted since early adolescence. Neutrogena has been around for almost 90 years! They couldn’t maintain their brand’s reputation by lying to people. So, I bought a jar, a fairly expensive jar, of the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream, with Retinol. Neutrogena is not Anti-Aging, they are Anti-Wrinkle! Funny, so was I! It will work in one week and then I will have some of the jar left over for touch-ups! Perfect!
Twice daily, for a week, I smoothed the cream on my face. Since Jennifer and Nicole have full make-up on in the ads while gently applying the cream, I was sure to properly apply it on freshly washed skin. “Smooth a pearl-sized amount evenly in gentle massaging strokes until fully absorbed.” I gave extra attention to those special spots. Oddly, nothing changed. So, I used it twice daily for another week, and another, and another, and another, until the whole jar was empty.
I had no reaction. Honestly, I had no extra drying or flaking or change in my skin tightness or texture at all. There were most definitely NO changes in my wrinkles! Obviously, I laughed at myself for the ridiculousness of my magical thinking. Intellectually, we all knew I never expected anything to happen, but emotionally, I was absolutely hoping it might. I secretly thought I could fix that one small thing that made me ever so slightly, more aware of my mortality. And, yes, I was disappointed that it didn’t work. Disappointed in Jennifer and Nicole, in Neutrogena, and in myself.
Accept the Things We Cannot Change
What was it about those wrinkles that upset me? Of course I should wear my wrinkles proudly. They are just part of the development of me. So, why they bothered me for that brief episode is unclear. Maybe that too is part of the process. Maybe after the recognition phase comes the fear phase. It was the not-so-subtle fear of the changes that come with aging. And what do we do with fear? We try to control it until we figure out that we simply have to accept the things we cannot change.
Thank you Jennifer and Nicole
I barely notice the wrinkles now. Not because they are gone, but because I lost interest in them. They have lost their emotional charge. Now, what I see in the mirror, is a woman who always looked just like her father while growing up, and is more and more looking like her mother as she ages. What a better way to look, than like my beautiful mother. If I had gotten rid of those wrinkles, who knows what I would look like! Phew! Thanks Jennifer and Nicole!