No, I’m Not ‘Trying Too Hard’ To Hold Onto My Youth

Katie Smith/Instagram

I’ll admit: I’m a bit of a skin and hair care fanatic and make no apologizes to anyone about it. I was blabbering about a rose oil lotion that literally made my skin tighten up before my eyes to a friend last night. She couldn’t give a flying fuck about that crap, but I couldn’t control my excitement.

We were both sipping wine as I dripped my brush into my nail polish. “I’m exhausted just listening to all of this and watching you do your nails. Doesn’t it make you tired?”

My dear friend and I are very different, but we love each other just the same.

As a little girl, I’d sneak my mother’s Oil of Olay face cream after my bath. I still remember the way the lotion smelled. I’d stand in front of the mirror and put dollops on my forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, before rubbing it in carefully. I’d read in her Redbook magazine that upwards strokes were best, so I always did that. It made me feel very important.

That was my first taste of beautifying myself. It felt like accomplishment and self- love — something that was a rare feeling for me as a youngster.

I never do these things to look a certain way or to impress anyone. I do them because they feel like a gift to me from me. They give me something to look forward to. I’d rather spend my money on a facial or getting my hair done than on an expensive car or gym membership because these things bring me more joy than those other things ever will.

Now I’m in my mid-40s, and I hold onto these self-love nuggets like a baby holds onto its blankie. And you better believe I try out all the “anti-aging” products and treatments that I can afford.

I’ve been asked why I’m trying so hard to hold onto my youth. But that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m doing me. I’m spending my life investing in myself because it makes me feel good and confident. Not to mention it makes me a better mother — just ask my three teenagers who deal with the wrath of their mother when she hasn’t spent enough time on herself.

Let’s be very clear here: It’s my body, my choice. I get to decide how much time and money I spend on me. My friend chooses not to spend money on under eye elixirs, and would never pay someone to take away her grays. That’s fine too. Choice is a beautiful thing. It’s about what makes us feel confident, period. What we do with our outside is an individual choice that should be respected.

You want to get a neck lift because your neck really bothers you and you know you’ll feel more confident every time you see your reflection? That is completely up to you and I say hell yes.

You love your complexion and would never inject anything into your skin even if someone paid you? That’s completely up to you and I say hell yes.

Our looks and appearance certainly aren’t everything. We teach our kids to be kind, that beauty is on the inside, and you should never feel like you have to conform. I believe all of that with my entire being.

I also know our happiness matters. I’m happiest when I’ve had my hair done and my lines around my eyes are dissolved thanks to a little Botox. I feel better when I don’t have gray hairs sprouting out of my head. I like long baths and slathering shit on my face. It makes me feel alive. It’s my way to give back to myself after momming hard, working hard, and taking care of my home and all the stress life throws at me.

There have been many times an upcoming evening with myself and my facial ingredients have been the driving force to get me through the day.

If there’s a thing you do (or don’t do) because it makes you feel shiny and brilliant, that’s reason enough to do it. On the other hand, if the thought of applying lotions and potions or spending an hour in an adjustable chair getting your hair done exhausts you, don’t feel like you should. Your body, your choice.

Either way, skip the judgment and the assumption that people are lazy or are trying to stay young or are having some kind of mid-life crisis. To each their own is the rule here.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have some dead skin shaved off my face. I’ve been looking forward to it all day, and it’s the only reason I didn’t lose my shit when I got a call from school this afternoon alerting me my son was making obnoxious fart jokes in gym class. Again.