This will also be called The Reason Why It Is Imperative That We Smile All The Time.
Do you all have the same rules for documents that we do? You may not smile at all. Serious expression is required for all passport and driver's licence photos. Just peachy. So I look 25 years older in my passport photo. Why are we not allowed to have even a faint grin? I have a theory about it making us all insecure at border posts, you see, so the intimidating border control officer scrutinises the photo over and over and the more you try to smile faintly (or grin cheesily) the less you look like the dreadful photo he is looking at.
And have you recently met a border contol officer who smiles in any way at all?? I say recently, because there was a time when they were not all 12, and they had learned that it is much easier to disarm with charm (and catch any illegal alien or smuggler off guard) and also, be welcoming to the country you were entering. It would be so nice to be grinned at and have someone say "Welcome home!" now and then. Or have someone smile and tell me to enjoy my stay in their country.
Things are not what they used to be.
And speaking of not what they used to be, I have been discussing the ravages of time with my friends. There have been a series of unposed photos of me in recent months. (Yes, David, I am talking about you!) I look too dreadful for words when I am not grinning like a Cheshire cat for the camera, with the head tilted at the right angle to avoid jowls, the camera far away enough to lose any lines, and so help me, the camera has to ALWAYS be higher, and NEVER lower than me. That means never ever let anyone take a photo of you while you are sitting in a chair and they are on the floor. Disaster.
If I am concentrating on something, reading, thinking, whatever, and not grinning, my cheeks are heavy, my mouth is smaller and the lines around my mouth are deeper and arrow downward, making me look like a miserable old woman who it would be best to avoid. At all costs. There are lines everywhere as I try to focus through the specs and that makes things even worse, if that were remotely possible. Trying to see properly makes me frown as I screw up the eyes and they get even smaller and we DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT WORSE. Intimidating?
Probably. Definitely. Mind you, this face should be ok for court perhaps.
I don't think I would want to get to know this person.
|Serious and unsmiling|
There are lines around the eyes, but you can't see them here. I just hope I don't look like this all the time. It horrifies me and makes me want to call the 10 Years Younger team to arrange immediate plastic surgery. Or I could arrange for someone to gather up all the skin on the face and yank it up a bit and tie it on top of the head with a bow. Then I could develop a new line in Marge Simpson hair styles to hide the excess skin.
Anyway. Just look what a faint smile does to the image. (And admit, people that I am amazingly brave to put these photos here today.) Yes, the cheeks get wider. And the eyes get a little smaller....did I mention that the eyelids seem to be heading south like the rest of me???? But I think I may want to talk to this person. This is how I think our passport photos should be. Sort of.
And then, this, you see is how I think of myself. Only, I suspect that the first photo is more like the way the world sees me. If I grin at the passport officer, this is what I would look like. No wonder the man stands and stares at the photo so long. We all look so totally miserable.
There was a time when the skin was taut(er) and far more elastic, and the lines were never there, and the eyes were wider and brighter and not hidden by the drooping eyelids. The bags under the eyes (which I have just seen in this photo below, to my utter horror) did not exist. And can you believe that I never realised eyes were probably different sizes until just recently? Mind you, I have never spent hours peering into the mirror, or I may have noticed it before. Apparently this is absolutely normal. Yes, you may now rush to the mirror and check. Smile and see what happens to the size of the eyes, and then do NOT come back and tell me yours are identical sizes or I may wail, and then my bags under the eyes will get bigger and the eyes more puffy and.........
And the cheeks were not so baggy either....I could go on and on, but I am depressing myself. Groan. Time???? It marches on.
Smiling exercises the cheek muscles. I - WE - need to smile more. All the time. I can just see the cheesy grins right now. Baring the teeth like Missy does when told to smile for the camera. Yes, go on, practice right now. I am, as I speak.
It is quite obvious that we should have read the small print about aging. You want to know what you look like when you are concentrating on something? That could be on a book, sewing, working, reading, anything. Well, get a random child, husband, friend to snap a few unposed photos. And for heaven's sake, do not peer upward through the specs to see anything. You will look like an elderly cockerel. Or maybe that is just me. Poke those glasses back to the proper place on your nose. Mine slip down. Yes, I know I need new ones too, but that can wait. I do not need to discover that the situation of the aging Linds is actually far worse through new-proper-prescription-glasses. It is bad enough as it is.
Let me be clear here, I am not in pursuit of my youth. I am just in pursuit of something to stop the sagging. The lines come from living. So do the grey hairs. 57 years of life leave their mark, as do all the things we experience along the way and they are badges of honour. The medals, if you like. I used to think about that of stretch marks. If I got to 57 with no visible altering of appearance, I might start to believe I was a doll. Time cannot be halted.
But then, if you had a driver's licence photo which made you look like a warder from Belsen, you may also despair.
Thank heaven my photo for my Swiss rail card can be used for 10 years. It makes me grin every time I haul it out.
|This will do nicely thankyouverymuch|
The moral of the story is simple.
Smile through everything. No matter what life throws at you, smile. It will draw people to you, it will lift your spirits. It will make a huge difference in your attitude. It may make other people happy too. It will start the process of recognising joy.
It will also exercise those cheeks and hopefully stop the sagging process.
Trying to reverse the process at my age will require a major miracle.