Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,

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Remember Caesar, thou art mortal.

So, in the Commons right now, there's this machine-thing called the Human Race Machine. It takes a picture of your face and you anchor certain points like the corners of your eyes and lips. It then manipulates your face to look certain ways.

First, they have a facial template for different races, and it stretches your face over that to show you how you would look as a member of about 8 different races. That was really interesting. Strangely, the races that looked least like me were Asian, African, and Caucasian. I looked mostly Hispanic or Indian. Tyler says his facial structure looked mostly African.

Then you could see how your face would look with different disorders that reshape your face. This wasn't as cool, because it didn't say what the disorders were...just "disorder #3, #4...".

Then you could photograph two people and see what your children would look like. Tyler and I didn't do this (we did it at different times).

But the thing that really struck me the most was that it let you age your face 25 years into the future (or less). So I pushed it up to see how I would look at 46...and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I had fine wrinkles everywhere, huge sags under my eyes, the corners of my eyes drooped, deep long wrinkles under my cheeks and around my mouth, and my skin was mottled and spotty. It really scared me...not the appearance of an older person, because I see people that look that way all the time, but because it didn't look like me.

I'll admit, being old does shake me up a little. Not death. I'm worried about seeing the person I think of as myself melt away, and I don't want to be achy and delicate and unable to do a lot of the things I love. But this was probably the first visible proof that I've seen that really proves that it's inevitable, and it utterly knocked the wind out of me. Someone else was talking to me while I did it and we were laughing, and when the picture came up, it just felt like the whole building went silent.

I want more people to do this. I want those little teeny-boppers in their princess baby doll t-shirts and hyperbolic pants to do this and see that someday they're not going to be 115 lbs of perky sex, and to start acting accordingly. Not to change who they are, but to stop focusing so much on appearances and to cultivate some personality and wisdom. Because those looks aren't going to last, and maybe the less we obsess about them, the better.

If it sounds like I'm making a big deal out of nothing, it's because I'm not getting across how significant this was to me. Everything I'm saying is easy to realize and understand, but I don't think it hits you until you see your own face with those wrinkles. It was painful (not depressing, but sad) to know that the person I see in the mirror is not going to stick around, and I'm going to need to be conscious of this and remember to age gracefully. I'm not going to enter my forties kicking and screaming. It's just an unfamiliar, frightening feeling to realize that I've essentially stopped maturing, and this is the probably the best I'll look in my life.

Incidentially, barring disfigurement, I have no intention of ever getting cosmetic surgery. However, after seeing this, you can damn well bet that I'm putting sunscreen on every morning.

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