The Face of a Lifetime

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I'm not sure I thought an interaction with a marketer at a local shopping mall would end up, akin to a famous posting of theses, with my declaration of what aging means. It began, as many mall interactions do, with me, a consumer with a mission, and a marketer with a deal. At first, the conversation was a simple volley:  the retailer questioned; I responded. Five fast flurries followed:

"How does your skin feel today?"  "Fine."

"Do you have makeup on?"  "Yes, a little."

"Do you know what products you are using?" "Of course."

"Would you believe me if I told you that you could have Botox effects without Botox, today?" "No, I've heard this before."


"Would you spend five minutes with me to let me show you?" "Well...."

With that last interjection, I had lost the round. Ushered into a small area with many pots of skin creams, I was treated to an anti-aging demonstration. What ultimately appeared was a moistened version of skin that my untreated, "before" version had lacked. What the vision lacked, though, was the biography of how my current look had emerged -- weathering, literally, many Boston winters before moving to California, and aging, physically, as my DNA dictated, with genes coming from Eastern Europe - surviving a bold move to the New World.

"No, I don't need this product."  

Our new volley ran on several moments. Finally, I posted my thesis. I've learned, I told the retailer, that the currency I spend is for the self's interior -- its memories and visions, and not for its exterior, its skin and attendant wrinkles.

I could have said, "When you get to be my age...", but decided my first assertion enough. I didn't need Dead Sea minerals that promised to remove decades. I left with an even clearer picture of what I value, and that transaction required no voucher. Just a simple vouching of what I know is true -- the transparency with which you show who you are is a reflection of how you've lived, not what you've covered up.

With a Perspective, I'm Barbara Simmons.

Barbara Simmons is a retired teacher and counselor who lives in San Jose.