Plastic surgery and the fear of growing old

The Oscars bring out among other things new faces.

New faces as in the results of plastic surgery; sometimes unrecognizable new faces. Same person, new face. Fewer wrinkles, higher cheekbones, smaller nose, fatter lips and enough skin tucked behind the ears to reupholster a Shar Pei.

Oh my.

Last year Renee Zellweger appeared with a, quite literally, new face. I walked into our house one day last week and saw a picture of Kathy Lee Gifford on the cover of a magazine. She had had enough plastic surgery that I had to read her name on the cover to know it was her.

It almost seems plastic surgery has become a way of life for many. Truthfully, it has.

The drastic increase of elective plastic surgery has even caught the attention of the National Institutes of Health. There is growing concern about the psychological effects of plastic surgery.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, BDD is designated as an Axis I disorder that is characterized by an individual’s intense preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a physical anomaly is actually present, the individual’s preoccupation with it is markedly excessive. As with many other Axis I disorders, the individual must experience significant distress and/or functional impairment.

Far be it that plastic surgery come to a halt, elective or otherwise. Sometimes second chances provide better choices, and many people have been restored after burns, accidents and the like. Plastic surgery, like other surgeries, has its place.

I do wonder, though, about women who most of the world consider beautiful, succumb to the knife seemingly to stop the effects of aging. I won’t list them here; there are plenty of ways to find them. Are there Hollywood types who seem to be aging like most of us? Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright, Helen Mirren, Brad Pitt, Forest Whitaker, Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry for starters. I suppose some of them could fall off the wagon at some point, but so far…

The Bible doesn’t say without reason, “Beauty is fleeting.” Given long life even the most beautiful age; even the most handsome grow old. “Crows feet” are not only on birds, and a man’s chest typically falls into his drawers. It’s just the way it is. For most who are blessed to live a long life, we have the curse to thank for looking like we have.

Those who are followers of Christ have no reason to fear getting old. Perhaps such a fear even indicates we are holding too tightly to this life over the next. Aches and pains are reminders to trust. Maybe gray hairs are reminders to pray. I, for one, would be praying a lot more with that strategy.

I am encouraged by those who grow old with joy, and don’t worry about wrinkles, sags, creaks and groans, and hope I can honor God by doing the same. Be like those who don’t rely on faux-youthfulness by surgical means.

If you are struggling with growing old, checking the mirror for new wrinkles, worrying over roots, and becoming discouraged because you don’t turn heads like you once did, do not despair. You and I can still please God regardless of old we are, or how broken down and worn out we might feel. Even though our outward man is failing, the Apostle said, the inward is being renewed day by day. It is there we find our hope.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Joe

    Good job Marty. I needed to hear tha.