DEAR ABBY: When I was in my teens, and even into my 20s and 30s, I was a Plain Jane. I had little self-confidence. But strangely, I'm one of those people who has gotten better looking as I've aged. Now in my 50s, I am better looking than many women my age or even younger. Men definitely notice me, and I love it.
My problem is, I'm now obsessed with my appearance. I constantly worry that I'll lose my looks. I have even considered cosmetic surgery. I don't want to be the shallow person I see I'm becoming. What can I do? -- LATE BLOOMER
DEAR LATE BLOOMER: There's a saying, "You can fool Mother Nature, but you can't fool Father Time." What it boils down to is, time takes its toll on everyone.
It isn't shallow to have the feelings you are experiencing. But please remember that beauty is more than what's on the surface. Perhaps it's time to start concentrating on qualities that accentuate your inner rather than external beauty -- kindness, warmth, intelligence, generosity, an appreciation for the value of others -- because charm lasts longer than beauty.
This is not to say I don't appreciate the value of cosmetic surgery, which can do wonders for a person's sagging ego. But your appearance should not be the focus of your life because, frankly, it isn't healthy.