“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”
― Coco Chanel
I wish I could sit down over a glass of champagne and talk to Coco. How old was she when she spoke those words? What did she mean? What did she think of her own face at 20, 30 and 50?
I first encountered her words shortly before I turned 30 and they inspired a trip to the drug store where I purchased Oil of Olay Day Cream with a SPF 15 and I promised myself that each and every day, rain or shine, I’d slather my face in protection, wash before bed and slather again with night cream. I’ve done that, with the rare exception.
I didn’t really think much beyond my daily ritual again until I hit 40. I added facials once a month to the budget. Estheticians agreed that my routine was good, but inadequate, so I added a scrub at night every other day.
A decade later, I really wised up. This “getting older thing” was just going to continue, if I was lucky! I decided it was fine to try a product or minimally invasive procedure that was guaranteed to take 5-7 years off my face. However, after doing the math, I realized I’d still look 50! Then it struck me that no one really cared if I looked 50 or 57, including my husband.
I’m the only one who has to meet myself in the mirror each day.
I found myself reciting those words aloud when it hit me that the truth of them lies not in the literal interpretation but in the figurative one. My life is more than half lived. When I look back on my actions and choices, am I content with what I see reflected back? When I look at myself from this point of view, the mirror is crowded with the faces of others: husband, daughter, Nonnie, brother, friends. Turns out I did prepare to meet myself in the mirror, but the preparation did not come from a bottle purchased at the drugstore.