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How not to look like your Mother until you really, really want to.

I am sitting here thinking about how different my life has turned out from my Mother’s. She was the perfect post-war bride-doctor’s wife. She kept her size 2 figure, raised three kids to each become doctors and had a beautiful antique-filled home and prize-winning gardens. She raised all sorts of money for Smith College, adopted a refugee Vietnamese family into her home and also raised a Chinese girl who was introduced to me as “my new sister” one day when I was off in training. Phew! I am tired just writing all that.

I simply went to medical school, residency and fellowship. After establishing myself in Boston as a cataract surgeon with a home in Back Bay and a getaway farm in Vermont, my Mother was still not happy with me. ”What is the matter?” I wailed. “I am successful and happy and doing great with 8 employees and two businesses and two mortgages!”. “But you are not settled” she replied, referring to my lack of a certain little gold band. She had me there. And I had not provided any grandchildren which is some kind on non-ecumenical sin that is quite rampant these days. Such were our very different lives.

Looking good, to mothers of my Mother’s generation on the East Coast, meant keeping one’s figure and husband. It was the only thing with the addition of hair color/cut under their control. And “nice” ladies did not color their hair. Plastic surgery, for anything but reconstruction, was not part of her life. Hers was the ritual of cold cream, Chanel no.5, and cotton gloves worn over Vaseline to bed. In the ’60s, I actually got her to forsake her blood-red lipstick for hot pink. In the late ’70s, she wore her first pair of jeans. I like to think that I was helpful.

For my generation born in the ’50s, who swore to never trust anyone over thirty, growing older has been much more of a challenge. We keep up with fashion trends, at least a little bit if we have daughters and insistent sales-ladies to “guide” us. We change our hairstyles and colors easily. We go to all sorts of workouts, yoga and fitness classes to keep our youthful figures. My Mother simply starved.

When we look into the mirror and find something we do not like, we can fix it. Now that is truly a liberating feeling. This generation can remedy the signs of aging. You do not need to look like your Mother or Father until you want to! This is incredibly powerful.

My generation has some control over how our bodies look as they age. We know the basic things: to stay out of the sun, eat organically and healthily, sleep 8 hours a night and take our anti-oxidants. Due to only too real reality TV, we can witness all sorts of body enhancing procedures.

Knowledge is power and acceptance. Beyond that, we have non-surgical ways of enhancing our appearance. We can get Botox Cosmetic injections to soften the lines in our faces made by muscle use. Are you looking angry due to lines between your brows? A little Botox Cosmetic and you can have a Madonna’s forehead. Is your face looking flatter? There are Dermal fillers that can elevate sagging cheeks and fill in the folds on your face.

I remember seeing my Mother at her dressing table, gently putting her hands on the sides of her face and lifting it up. “Do you remember me like this?” she would softly say. Unaware of the hurt I was inflicting I would answer, “What do you mean? You always looked like this…” or some other thoughtless teenage remark. When those deep folds from the nose to mouth appeared on my face, just as they had on my Mother’s, I banished them with Juvederm, a hyaluronic acid filler. Now I look like me, not my aged Mother.

It would take a lot of analysis to figure out why I don’t want to look older, specifically like my Mother. Maybe it is the continuation of our differentiation process. I think that my Mother would have done a dermal filler and Botox Cosmetic in order to look her best and please her husband.

Each person has his or her own idea about how they want to age. I want to look the best that I can, at whatever age I happen to be. But I do draw the line at maintaining a size 2, there are some diet sacrifices that I am not willing to make! Now that there are machines like the Exilis, which melts fat and tightens skin, there may be hope for me to look a bit thinner too. I can’t wait to see what will happen next in the anti-aging revolution.

VFA sells medical-grade (you need a medical license to prescribe them) skincare products as well as private label medications. Dr. Boerner stands by her products, uses them herself and looks forward to helping you achieve your best skin.