Aging has affirmed this lesson: make an agreement to be the best you can, not as some standard, but as your unique self

Story by Liz Marchi

Ihave had more time to think about aging since handing off Frontier Angels (www.frontierangels.com) to Pat LaPointe in Bozeman. It has taken time to let go, but there is no doubt that his experience and intellect will take my little startup to a higher level.

I decided that 2018 would be the year of smaller and more personal goals. With more time to think and breathe deeply, I set some personal wellness and health goals in 2017. One of them was losing 20 pounds and drinking less wine. If I lost the 20 pounds, I would have an eyelift, something I first started thinking about four years ago.

As an aging woman, I have tried hard to be the best I can be, at this time, in this place, at this age, and then we got our Christmas card photos back this year and I looked like I had bee stings on my eyelids. Those baggy eyelids — I can’t exercise them back. I decided right then that I was going to make an appointment and have an eyelift. One lesson from a book I love — “The Four Agreements” — is to make an agreement to be the best you can, not as some standard, but as your unique self.

Backstory here. Four years ago, after I had first started saving for an eyelift, a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. The facelift now seemed wrong. How could I elect pain for looks when my friend was suffering? I took my nest egg and instead used it on irrigation in my lawn. I am an avid gardener, and dragging hoses at the ranch is right up there with root canals for “favorite way to spend my time.”

Things have changed for me over the last four years. My parents and my husband have needed me more. We have three dogs, one a new puppy, and I have learned that I really love sleeping more than four hours a night. I felt ready to have the eyelift.

Dr. Michael V. Hromadka was my surgeon at Glacier View Plastic surgery. I applaud his patience. He answered so many of my questions. Dr. Hromadka started out in orthopedics, but the creativity of plastic surgery drew him to the field. I did a lot of due diligence to make sure every single one of his patients was happy.

My procedure, which included a brow lift and the removal of a mole and some scar tissue from my lip, was done in the office with local injections for pain. It didn’t hurt. There were some unusual sensations with my eyeballs, but I wouldn’t characterize it as pain. We spent the night in Kalispell, and I kept frozen peas on and off every 30 minutes that day and most of the second day.

The second day you look like a train wreck: swelling, bruising and really bad hair in my case. Day three and four were really long. I’m a very poor couch potato, and relaxing is the best thing to do while recovering. By day three and four, I had red, green and purple bruising. I got my stitches out on the seventh day.

This event was all carefully timed for our winter vacation. But until we left for Maui, I stayed housebound, because wearing a big hat and sunglasses looks stupid in Montana in January. As it turns out, I was making much ado about nothing. When I started asking around, I couldn’t believe how many of my friends had already had eyelifts. Medicare pays for some people, including men, to have eyelifts to improve vision.

Today I can see that I’m going to be happy. Our eyes are the window to our soul, and I’m very happy that you will be able to see mine better. Thank you, Dr. Hromadka, for your skill, patience and for truly understanding my desire. This was about renewal for me. As we age, we need a lot of different kinds of renewal: physical, spiritual, emotional.

Spring is coming. Relish the renewal of the earth.

Liz is fascinated by the various approaches to aging — from denial, to plastic surgery, to running marathons, to depression. Given our current demographics, Liz thinks there is a lot to explore, celebrate and learn from those living and aging in the Flathead Valley. Contact her at liz@lizmarchi.com.