I’m staring down “The Last March of Youth”…or am I? I’ve long seen my thirties as crunch time, as do or die, and to some extent it is, but lately I’ve been researching methods to prolong my experience and my visage of youthfulness, and my findings seem…promising? Ooh…
Specifically, my family history suggests I’ll stop being able to pass for a young adult around age 40, and the pace at which the plump fullness of youth has been oozing out of my face and the progression of my incipient smile lines suggest I’m on track to meet that benchmark. But might there be a way to plump up my face and erase lines, folds, and creases artificially, a way which might also prevent further aging and deterioration before it starts?
Turns out there might be: botox and fillers are pressed into preventive service, and it’s actually recommended that ideally you should start on a regimen of preventive fillers and/or botox in your mid twenties. That’s roughly when my smile lines first started to appear, and they’ve only become more pronounced since. Luckily for me it seems that they’re still very slight and filler might be able to easily correct the damage that’s already been done (just one syringe might do it!). I actually have a consultation for what could be done for me just tomorrow morning, so I should have a better idea then of where I stand with regard to that.
Nobody in my family ever got such a treatment; they were all my age at such earlier periods of time, fillers either weren’t available at all yet or were something only aging celebrities got. Even now in my region (in contrast to places like Miami, where people actually take care of themselves) I bet there are very few 29-year-old men who are getting such treatments.
Yes, it’s Temporary, but I don’t need any more than Temporary; how much Time could I buy?
Still, if the clock could be turned back and I could have the fullness I had in my face when I was a teenager again, how long could I maintain it? Even with successful preventive treatments aging will take its toll, so over time more filler and more drastic procedures are needed, to the point that you just can’t pass as a natural youth anymore. However, I suspect that I’ll take a long time to reach that. Again, looking at my family history, if they took care of themselves better and got their faces artificially filled out, they could have easily extended clear through their forties the sort of appearance they had in their thirties in real life (i.e. passing for a twentysomething); the luckier ones, which hopefully will include me, could even have cheated old age well into their fifties.
I dare not dream beyond that, but at that point, you see, I’ll almost certainly be ready to age, to assume a more mature, seasoned, salt-and-pepper vibe. I’m not ready now, at 29, to go anywhere near that. Even the slight smile lines I have now, not to mention the seemingly permanent dark circles under my eyes (which seem to be hereditary, and gradually get worse with age), low-key mortify me when I look in the mirror.
Probably because I feel like my youth has been stolen from me and I haven’t even been able to live life yet in any meaningful sense. I’ll have the means to live the youth I wanted, but only in my thirties at the earliest, perhaps more in my forties or even fifties, which will at best be barely within the age brackets at which I’ll still be young naturally. That’s not good enough for me; I won’t accept that, and the good news is I don’t have to. This cruel modern world cheated me out of having a fulfilling youth; the least I can do is use the tools this cruel modern world offers me to take back what’s rightfully mine!
Rejuvenation through…Corticosteroids? Hmm…
Of course a youthful appearance has only limited appeal if you don’t feel young. But intriguingly, I have found that corticosteroids roll back the clock for me; when I down a good strong but still very low dose of the stuff I feel like a normal person, as if my lethargy, brain fog, and constant low-key sickness all lifted up out of me and dissolved away, much like I did before the lockdown, even much like I did a decade ago when I was a teenager (actually better than then in certain respects). I’m talkative, I’m witty, I can actually remember everything at will, I can actually pay attention, I can react quickly, I can do physical feats without getting tired or sore nearly as badly.
Believe it or not that’s not a normal person’s reaction to, say, 5 milligrams of prednisone. Most healthy people who take this class of drugs just get jittery and hyper, and more often than not it gives them brain fog. Sure, the stimulative effects of it can make you feel good, but the benefits in my case are far more comprehensive than mere stimulation can explain.
Especially in light of my family having a history of autoimmune diseases, and the fact I had a high white blood cell count as a child along with symptoms like fevers and nosebleeds (to the point I actually was tested for leukemia once!), I suspect my body doesn’t work quite right and never has, even stretching back to what I remember of early childhood, and as the stresses of life have depleted my cortisol my natural system is shot to pieces in slow motion. Feeding myself additional cortisol rolls back the clock, and in some respects makes my body work better than it ever did before.
I’ve got a hunch that my robust build and sky-high IQ might have masked some of these symptoms; if I forced myself to power through things I could always do at least as well as the other kids, so all but the most discerning doctors would just say I was perfectly normal, even though it was clear that I just couldn’t do what normal people could do, at least once you adjust for my physical and intellectual abilities. Normal kids just don’t have to force themselves through normal-kid stuff, but I always did. Subclinical, perhaps, even so, but no less deleterious to a little boy on his journey through life!
Taking a guess based on my experience, I dare say that a very low dose corticosteroid regimen, e.g. 1 or 2 milligrams of dexamethasone (adjusted down in proportion to my lower weight of course), might have done me wonders as a kid. But as someone whose symptoms presented as quite subclinical it seems very unlikely any doctor (bar perhaps the most discerning, bold, and imaginative) would have prescribed such a thing. Even my own family didn’t put two and two together!
And speaking of putting two and two together, it was only when I had a big week last week that I even realized what exactly was wrong with my face! Perhaps not coincidentally, to get through all the exertion (dance stuff piling up…) I upped my dose to as much as the equivalent of 6 milligrams of prednisone, one of my greater helpings, and I actually felt pretty good (in a wholesome sort of way; i.e. no mood swings, rage, or insomnia).
More to the point, I also felt mentally sharp, my mind becoming clear enough to remember back to what my face used to look like 5 or 10 years ago, and comparing to my visage as it is now, which has long struck me as off, like there was something wrong with it but I couldn’t put my finger on it, with what it was back then, and I suddenly became cognizant of the difference for the first time ever, like there was some kind of fog over it that lifted with the steroids.
Which honestly kinda disturbs me; I’m apparently the kind of person who would let himself go and sleepwalk into looking like a shrunken pumpkin without pumping myself up with hormones. That’s not normal; that’s not how a person’s body or brain is supposed to work! The way I am without an artificial boost is almost a bit reminiscent of how people think and act while deprived of oxygen (a certain scene from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” comes to mind). This whole incident makes me wonder what else I’m missing out on that ought to be blindingly obvious…
Hormones for Youth
Anyway, at least I have the stuff and can pump myself up to some simulacrum of normal wholesomeness. I’ll keep taking it; my usual daily dose is so low it really can’t hurt me, and as my natural cortisol continues to deplete and I continue to age it’ll take gradually higher doses to keep me in tip-top shape, in a simulacrum of youth. That’ll greatly help me to accomplish my goal: extending the period when I not only look young but feel and act young.
I’ve never directly known anyone in the family who did that with corticosteroids specifically, but my aunt did take advantage of hormones in an attempt to prolong youthful vitality.
I might do the same, though in my case the premier choice would be the anabolic steroids, such as testosterone. They’re the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, and the results of taking doses beyond what’s needed to replace one’s natural levels are so impressive it’s awfully tempting to hop on the train. Alas, my dear wish to have children compels me to eschew any drug that negatively affects fertility. Also, my natural levels are likely near their lifetime peak now, which I suspect might be pretty high compared to average; I really should have a blood test done sometime to see where I stand (my dance teacher actually suggested this to me out of the blue, curiously enough).
In other words, as of now, age 29, the drawbacks would seem to outweigh the rewards. But after I’ve already had my children (which I’ll be doing by sometime in my forties), and once my natural levels start to noticeably deplete? Well, then it’s another game altogether. This point will be in the middle stages of my long-range youth preservation regimen, so it’s a factor that should be taken into account.
The Finishing Touches for my own Makeover
There’s more to consider. Recently I’ve stepped up my spa regimen; I’m getting facials done every three weeks, as well as massages every month. I’m getting my hair trimmed and styled more often. I even got permanent waves put in recently, which made me look and feel really good; next time I’ll get much more drastic curls put in, because I really like them! This week I’m going to try out some more luxurious pedicures and manicures, which should also get me looking and feeling better.
I’m thinking about getting myself suntanned artificially; I never cared much for tanning beds, but there are stand-up installations that would be more to my liking in the nearest major city, and I’ve been unsatisfied with my appearance for some time. Yes, I like being white, but the way I look now isn’t too healthy; it’s like my skin never sees the sun at all, most likely because it just…doesn’t? The climate where I live has such godawful heat, humidity, and bugs I can barely stand to go outside at all, and ballroom dance studios aren’t exactly a setting where you get a lot of direct sunlight.
The biggest suntan I got all year was in February, where I actually got a rather nice complexion after spending just a few hours out in the sun at Badwater Basin (yes, Death Valley; if you can’t get a suntan there where can you?…). I miss that. At least for the summer months (back in February I welcomed its recession). I’m thinking from now on I could tan myself up more in the summer and let it go back to paler white in the winter. Tanning regimens aren’t very expensive, so that should be doable.
Not so affordable is the other major procedure I inquired about today: getting a pearly-white Hollywood smile, which I’ve always been denied, both due to my natural complexion and an injury I sustained when I was in school that took out half of my tooth, necessitating a temporary patch which, along with a patch to redo the older patch that degraded, I’ve worn ever since, largely because the bother and expense of a permanent correction was too much to stomach. It makes me ashamed to even smile or show my teeth, something I always had trouble with even when I was a kid before the incident happened, and has inculcated a bad habit in me as an adult since.
I’ve put it off for far too long, and it’s gnawed at me all year; only today did I get the gumption to actually reach out to the top cosmetic dentistry practice in my region. It’s probably all the cortisone in my system from this week, but if that’s what it takes to get me off my butt and actually doing things I know I need to do, then, well, that’s what it’s going to be.
That all might sound like I’m intent on burning the candle at both ends, but what’s the alternative: lie down and rot into some ugly old wretch who can’t even summon the will to do any traveling, let alone get a dental procedure done? Hell no! I’ll be damned if I let my youth fade without a fight. It might take artificial or exotic methods that I would not have contemplated just a few years ago, but one way or another, I’m getting that fulfilling youth I’ve always wanted. Hear this, cruel universe: my dreams are coming true!