- Jane Baskin
thinks that if you don't like what you see in the mirror, you should feel free to change it.
"I'm a big advocate of what I call Life 2.0," said Baskin, a former social worker, anti-aging advocate and author of "Jane of the Jungle." "What I'm referring to is the third stage of life, or the second stage of middle age. Because of the extended life span and the ability to prolong youth with medicine, diet, exercise and plastic surgery, old age is postponed. So what do you do when your kids are grown and you don't want to work a straight job any more? Waiting to die used to be a brief wait, but now it can take 30 years or more. Life 2.0 is that time between cresting middle age and getting old. It should be as vital a time as youth. And if you feel young, you should look young, too."
The numbers bear out her message. According to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 13.1 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, including those that are minimally-invasive or surgical, were performed in the United States in 2010, up five percent from 2009. In addition, more than 5.3 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year, up two percent. The increase in cosmetic plastic surgery mirrors the rise in consumer confidence throughout most of 2010.
The top five surgical procedures in 2010 were:
• Breast augmentation (296,000)
• Nose reshaping (252,000)
• Eyelid surgery (209,000)
• Liposuction (203,000)
• Tummy tuck (116,000)
"Our life spans have increased dramatically over the last few decades, but the real question is whether we are truly living with those extra years," she added.
"Eating healthy and exercising can keep us going on the inside, so what's wrong with making use of the medical technology available to make the outside match the inside? There is a vast gulf between feeling good and feeling good about ourselves, and that's where cosmetic surgery can help us fill in the gaps. Why not stay fit and look as young as you feel? We're going to live a long time. Why live it badly?"
Her book is a fictional testimony to that philosophy, with a lead character who risks it all to live her twilight years with nerve instead of caution. She takes risks, finds adventure, even new love, and lives out the latter years of her life as if her story were just beginning, according to Baskin.
"In a few years, the media will have to take note of how badly older people are living, or how outrageously," she added. "I can't predict the choices baby boomers will make. But remembering that this was the generation that brought a president to his knees, I have a hunch it won't be quiet. Just as the media focused on us when we wore bell bottoms and beads, I think they'll focus on us when we speak out against the class system in America and show our defiance in various ways. Acting, looking and feeling ageless is a form of defiance. We may redefine aging and the life cycle in general, and that's news no matter how old you are."
About Jane Baskin
Baskin is a former Boston TAB features writer and clinical social worker. She lives in the mountains outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and their herd of dogs and cats.