By now, you’ve heard all the flap over how different Renee Zellweger looked when she appeared at the Elle Magazine Women in Film event in Los Angeles. You’ve heard she looked puffy, or stiff, and there was lots of speculation as to what may or may not have happened to her face. According to several gossip sites, these changes in her face have been noticeable for the past year or so. But when you put a 2008 Renee next to a 2014 Renee you can see some major, and somewhat unsettling, differences….\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe most noticeable changes are in her eyes, lips and jawline. She doesn’t have quite the heavy lidded, almond shaped eyes she once had, and her upper lip seems a bit more bow shaped. Yes, one can make a more pronounced bow shape with skillfully applied make-up, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Her chin and jaw also seem, well, different.\r\n\r\nIt’s easy to see that she’s lost weight and is quite fit rather than merely skinny. That’s a good thing! This would certainly account for some facial changes, but not all of them. Esp. the eye changes and lip fullness. It seems that there’s been some Botox, an eye lift, natural eyebrows and a shade of pink lipstick that does not work well with her warm-fair complexion. It’s not a good color choice, too, because it seems to draw attention to how her lips are somewhat fuller than before.\r\n\r\nThere is no doubt that we change when we lose or gain weight, and that age changes our faces in a number of ways. Renee is 45 now, but I cannot be sure that one’s face would change so dramatically without some sort of condition or proceedures causing the change.\r\n\r\nIn the past, it was male stars whose faces often changed dramatically as they aged. Fast living, hard drinking, excessive smoking (many died of lung cancer,) illness, and plain old ageing made so many handsome actors of yesteryear–like Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power, and Alan Ladd–look old beyond their chronological years. Once-beautiful young men looked like very broken down old men. Now we have good looking 60-something action hero Liam Neeson and a 50-something Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr.\r\n\r\nAmong over 40 females stars, thought, it seems they might be undergoing procedures–from botox to fillers to surgery–in an effort to re-create their youthful glamour. Hollywood has been very tough on female actors, with quality parts for over 40s dwindling and/or going to younger, age-inappropriate actors. Yet so often they look not like their younger selves. There are even some young female actors, like Megan Fox and Heidi Montag, who are altering their faces and bodies at a young age to achieve some beauty ideal\r\n\r\nIt’s hard to know exactly why someone would have procedures that might drastically alter his or her appearance. We aren’t in their heads when they are making the decisions to have proceedures. I only know that the face one sees at 40-something might appear so far removed from the youthful, and “beautiful”, face as to be terribly distressing. Distressing to the point that one would want to make even small changes just to be the self one remembers before life became imprinted on his/her face.\r\n\r\nI know I’ve had trouble reconciling my thin, youthful self with the heavy, older self I see now in pictures and in the mirror. It’s why I don’t post too many pictures of myself on this blog.\r\n\r\nSo, if I’m having trouble, I am honestly, certainly able to imagine what it might be like for a person who is surrounded by images of his or her younger self all the time. We on the outside expect celebrities to handle aging in a graceful, uncomplaining manner. To simply accept that they are no longer young, while we and they are surrounded by images of their younger selves….\r\n\r\nIf you think about it, it can’t be easy. It might even be distressing to the point of distraction if the pictures remind oneself of a bad time in one’s personal life, or of some other instance one might want to forget. Changing one’s face might be a way of moving forward from a youthful self into a mature self one wants to be and to show the world.\r\n\r\nWhat, though, about the rest of us? Those of us without the means to go under the needle or the knife? How can we learn to accept ourselves and not sit around crying in our metaphorical beer over our lost youth? How can we age gracefully and happily, without staring at ourselves in the mirror and saying ‘Oh, if I were 20 years younger,” or “oh, if I could only afford a face lift.”\r\n\r\nI often say that I am comfortable with myself and my looks. For the most part, it’s true, even if I do have trouble some days. I take very good care of my skin, and I have learned how to dress my short, round body properly (mostly because I hate diet and exercise. I spent over 20 years doing it to the point of crazy and I guess I’m over it.) So, why is it that I don’t show myself? Some of it has to do with some terrible pictures that were taken of me by a local photographer (who seemed pretty uncomfortable photographing someone not a teenager or bride) and some of it has to do with a massive dislike of the selfie. But, I found my tripod, and know how to set the timer on my camera, so perhaps it’s time for some pictures to demonstrate a little of what it is to age gracefully without spending tons of money on expensive cosmetics (as I used to do) or expensive procedures.\r\n\r\nBecause even if I had the money for a new face, I’d rather do something else with it than try to erase my age.\r\n\r\nBut that’s just me…..