Numbers Don’t Lie

Like many professionals, the seven months in quarantine pushed me to reassess my values. I realized that the accumulation of wealth and the consolidation of power does not define success — neither does recognition nor fame. In the end, it is our relationships, our health, and our wellbeing that matters. I realize that this may read like a cliché, but it does not make it less true.

I am a 53-year-old man who has spent the better part of my life studying and working. I have been rewarded with a beautiful family and a colorful career. Years of hard work has taken a toll on my body. I now take maintenance medicines to control my blood pressure, I have mild arthritis and an irritating acid reflux problem. As for my physical well being — lets just say I’ve had better days. Some 20 years ago, I dedicated myself to physical fitness by eating healthy and committing to a rigorous exercise regimen. All that paid off with a toned physique and a youthful appearance. More than the physical benefits, however, what I relished most was the boost in confidence that came with being physically fit. The confidence reflected in my bearing, in the way I spoke and behaved, all of which benefited my work and social life.

As we age, life happens and other priorities supersede the need to take care of ourselves. Although I no longer work-out like I used to, I still play tennis once a week. Tennis has kept my health and weight on an even keel. But now that I am 53, that youthful appearance has dissipated. Age has taken away the elasticity from my skin and it now slumps in many parts. Facial muscles are less resilient and sag, causing jowl lines, eyebags and the beginnings of turkey neck.

During the quarantine, I had all the time to reflect on my health and wellbeing. I realized that I don’t mind the sagging skin, the wrinkles, the age spots, and the receding hairline. I look at them as scars of my struggles and marks of my collective experiences, good and bad. I wear them with pride as if they were medals of battle. What I regretted was how I neglected giving my body the care it deserved. Ageing is perfectly fine — it is physical neglect that made me feel most remorseful.

Being the best you can be is not about looking young or being handsome or beautiful. Rather, it is about being healthy and making the most of what you have.

In my life as a businessman, I often interact with government officials, diplomats and corporate executives. I noticed that those who are well but put together, those who are well groomed and those who take care of themselves are given more respect. They wield more gravitas and are looked upon with greater esteem. In contrast, those who have no restraint in the dining table, those ungroomed and those sloppily dressed are often looked upon with trepidation. It is human nature. Intelligent beings gravitate towards those who appear more disciplined, more organized and more responsible. We are repelled by disorder, chaos and sloppiness. One’s appearance sends clear signals of who you are.

After years of physical neglect, I decided to get my act together. I resolved to be the best I can be notwithstanding my age and circumstances. My journey started with a physical check-up to determine if all my vitals were in good order. Apart from high blood pressure, I am generally healthy, thank God! I then started to play tennis more often and eat healthier. More greens and less wine.

I will be honest — I also sought physical enhancements. After much research, I came across Dr. Cyril Mitchel Agan, a product of the UP College of Medicine with extensive experience in pharmacovigilance at Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Agan is a specialist in the male anatomy and an expert in non-surgical physical enhancements. Seventy percent of Dr. Agan’s clients are male, many of whom are leaders in the fields of finance, technology, the creative industries, and government. Specializing in male professionals was intentional, a niche pursued by Jan Conadera, who heads Dr. Agan’s business affairs. Their clinic is called Lift Aesthetic Clinic, located in BGC.

I visited Dr. Agan and had a chat about what he could do for me. The young doctor was quick to stress that his procedures are not meant to artificially alter one’s features, but to enhance them. The good thing about men is that we can look better as we age, said Dr. Agan. Enhancements are all about heightening one’s masculine features and making one appear robust and dignified in maturity.

To this, Dr. Agan focuses on certain critical facets — making the jawline stronger, making the cheeks more angular and making the eyes appear fresher.

A strong jawline and chin speaks of military discipline, fortitude and strength. Angular cheekbones are indicative of courage and determination. A fresher eye area exudes good health and virility.

I opted for the jawline enhancement since it is the area that I felt would have the most impact on my features. The procedure involved injecting a filler called Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA is a chemical that our bodies naturally produces. It is not foreign to the body and will naturally melt away in about two years. It adheres to the skin in a manner that it preserves one’s facial expressions.

HA fillers were developed in Switzerland and manufactured by a company called Teoxane. It is considered the gold standard as far as facial fillers go. This is what Dr. Agan used to shape my jaw.

I arrived at the clinic at 2 p.m. and was out by 3:15, just in time for my 4 p.m. meeting. The procedure itself took less than an hour and involved injecting HA fillers in strategic areas. Dr. Agan is arguably the country’s best in as far as contouring the male face. There was a bit of pain but not enough to merit anesthesia. Light bruising lasted for three days.

The results were immediate and I was extremely happy by them. My jawline became defined and angular — the difference is obvious. It made my features sharper and most importantly, it made me feel good about myself.

The operative word here is “feel.” At the end of the day, procedures like these are about making you feel good. These good feelings translate to confidence and enhanced wellbeing.

There is no shame in self care. In fact, I highly recommend it for men in their senior years like me. Those who l care for themselves will live longer, be happier, and enjoy more fulfillment.


Andrew J. Masigan is an economist