Plastic Surgery 101
"I hit the big 5-0 and I looked in the mirror and I saw sags, bags and laugh lines - and there's nothing funny about laugh lines!" Julie laments.
In her youth, she used to feel "vibrant" and "gorgeous," but now all she sees is the "spongy baby bag thing" left from the birth of her two kids and what all the years and gravity have done to her body. She thinks surgery will bring back the confidence she once had about her looks, but she's got some concerns about this major decision -- not only for the risks, but also for the financial components.
"My husband and I are trying to build a nest egg for retirement, so how am I supposed to rationalize spending the money on cosmetic surgery?" she asks. "That's so vain!"
For such a life-changing decision, Rachael brings in advice columnist Amy Dickinson.
"Surgery is extreme," Amy says. "It's not just that it's expensive; it's a very extreme thing to do." The first thing Amy suggests is that Julie not just look at what's bothering her externally, but also what's going on inside: "When I hear someone with a laundry list of surgery items, I see someone not happy with themselves -- not having a good life."
Julie is quick to respond. "I am happy with my life, just not with the outside."
Amy, who's the same age as Julie, sees the aging process differently.
"When I look in the mirror," Amy says, pointing to her forehead, "I see these worry lines and I feel that I carry the burdens of my life right here, and the laughter of my life I carry in my eyes. To me, that feels like a good thing."
But when it comes to eyes, Julie has one simple wish: "I just want to be able to see my eyes again; to get rid of some of the droopiness."
What's the bottom line? What should Julie do?
Amy: "Whenever you're contemplating something big like this, use the "Nine-Month Rule." Give yourself at least nine months -- the time it takes to have a baby -- to think about all the options and do your research so that you can make the most educated decision possible."
Rachael suggests trying all the non-invasive measures, like creams and lotions, before choosing risky, expensive surgery. But if Julie does decide to go under the knife, she ought to get several consultations.
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