Before I had wrinkles, it was easier to argue that one should grow old gracefully. Kids and caffeine and childhood sun worship have left my skin a bit haggard as I creep toward my mid-30s, and I constantly struggle with my own inner debate of bangs vs. Botox.

On the one hand, putting something foreign into my body creeps me plumb out. On the other hand, I am not going to deny substantial vanity. So, as my forehead creases deepen, I find myself staring intently into the faces of women my age and older and trying to discern what they are or are not doing to ward off the inevitable.

The entertainment industry demands it; the fans expect it; everyone decries a woman who has had too much work done as much as one who has let herself go.

In Los Angeles, any sort of nip, tuck, tweak or injection is commonplace. Even the celebrities that have extreme youth on their side are enhancing their natural assets. But I always sort of thought it was a quirk of this city, the reason for the shallow stereotype. The entertainment industry demands it; the fans expect it; everyone decries a woman who has had too much work done as much as one who has let herself go.

It's a mind swirl for the average woman. Cosmetic help is no longer an eye-roll of the city girls, even my small town friends all over the country have experimented with the needle. It's not that I want to stave off aging itself, just the outward effects of it. I don't exactly wish for my 34-year-old mind inside of a 20-year-old body. Or maybe I do? No, I really don't. Do I?

See why this is a problem?

At a church I used to attend in Beverly Hills, there was a gorgeous older woman who dressed impeccably and sat alone, week after week, in the same pew. She greeted others with a wide and wise smile, posture perfect. I watched her from afar and secretly wished that I would appear as beautiful and flawless as she seemed to be when I was her age.

She looked like a classic Beverly Hills lady, but one who had known much beyond her famous zip code.

I couldn't say then or now whether she had work done. I am mostly unfamiliar with what anyone over 60 naturally looks like. But it doesn't matter. From five pews back, I couldn't see either her wrinkles or her lack of them. From my younger vantage point, all I caught a whiff of was her beauty. It spoke of pain and grace. She radiated kindness and strength, the learned kind. She looked like a classic Beverly Hills lady, but one who had known much beyond her famous zip code. I was attracted to her for more than just her tailored suits.

For now, I've spent a slew of money on thick creams and I've just endured my first laser treatment. I'm working on being both realistic and proactive about my face. And I'm going to remember that Beverly Hills lady the next time that I'm frowning into the bathroom mirror. The next time that I'm Googling blunt bang haircuts. So, tomorrow.

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