“The best part of being 100 is you live to be 100. If you can enjoy it, that is an extra good thing.”

20 Oct

I am having a fantastic morning. And it is all because of a feature in the New York Times.

I ask you to watch and listen to “Secrets of the Centenarians,” a series of short interviews with eight people ages 99 to 103. (You can also read excerpts here.) You will hear Travilla Deming tell us the secret to a long life: “Don’t emphasize anything that’s evil or bad, but get rid of it or rise above it.” (Good advice.) You will hear about Phil Damsky’s love for pastrami and corned beef and Hazel Miller’s decision to begin line dancing with a group called the Silver Bells. You will hear the sadness in Otto Seidel’s voice when he discusses the loss of precious memories, and you will hear the joy in Mae Anderman’s voice when she proudly proclaims she has 20 great-grandchildren. Aside: Can you imagine having 20 great-grandchildren? I can’t even imagine having a child, let alone my child having a child, let alone my child’s child having a child, 20 times.

These eight people have some of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. They don’t look a day over 85! But seriously, the sweetly engraved wrinkles are far more beautiful to me than an unnaturally smooth, plastic face. Can you imagine a Botoxed centenarian? Kind of seems like an oxymoron to me. Maybe one of the secrets to life is just being happy with who you are and not trying to change insignificant details. Maybe I should also take my own advice here, lest I end up looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein. You know, the Cat Lady.

Scroll down immediately.

Back to the centenarians. The 103-year-old Mae Anderman makes me particularly happy. She is gorgeous – just look at her punim! (Blog post on Yiddish words coming soon.) I think the lines, folds, and creases on a person’s face all tell a unique and beautiful story; why would you want to erase that? I don’t know. To me, getting unnecessary cosmetic surgery to your face is the equivalent of destroying memories, one wrinkle at a time.

I confess, I am already seeing the formation of slight lines at the corners of my mouth. When I smile, my mouth seems to fall naturally into these tiny lines, like it belongs there. I also confess that I don’t mind at all. In fact, I kind of like it! It would be much worse to have frown lines; in my experience, those I know with frown lines tend to be miserable people who dwell on their own unhappiness, and it seems appropriate that the whole world should see that. But smile lines? Psh. Let the whole world see the kind of life I am living and trying to live, the kind of person I am and am trying to be. And one day, when I get crow’s feet and other crinkles that mirror a Shar Pei, I hope I’ll keep true to the convictions I hold now.

Gratuitous Puppy Picture

That wrinkles are far from ugly. That intentionally changing your face to eliminate perceived imperfections is silly (and, by the way, not fooling anyone about your real age or your decision to get work done). And that it is exquisite for a human face to be the roadmap to the course of a life. One day, the lines around my eyes will show the tears I’ve cried for losses suffered, the grooves between my brow will show the determination with which I’ve accomplished my goals, and the wrinkles scattered across my face will represent each memory I hold so dear. What’s so bad about that?

Answer: Wonderful.


2 Responses to ““The best part of being 100 is you live to be 100. If you can enjoy it, that is an extra good thing.””

  1. Petur October 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Love your blog sunshine. Keep writing.


  2. Dan October 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I literally couldn’t read this because of the pics. So thanks.

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