In my 20s, I told myself I'd never get fillers and botulinum toxin injections. I worried about becoming addicted to aesthetic treatments, the possible pain, and that I wasn't accepting what nature had given me.
I found myself wondering about my own definition of ageing "gracefully".
I believe grace is the ability to think independently, even if it goes against the status quo. Which is more graceful?
Remaining open to life's changes, or simply avoiding (or resisting) aesthetic treatments for the sake of it?
I've done fillers in my nose bridge, chin, lips and under-eye area, botulinum toxin injections around my eyes and brow bones, and am open to plastic surgery in future.
Does that make me less of a person? I do not think so, even if society judges me for it.
Let's talk about pain. Why put myself through it - especially when a treatment involves multiple injections over a small area?
Getting fillers in my lips, with its many nerve endings, was the most painful experience by far, even though numbing cream was applied.
On other areas of my face, the pain feels like pinches.
I'll always remember my first filler session - the moment my doctor, Dr Melvin Tan of Epion Clinic, finished the series of 12 injections on my thin lips.
Skin smarting and eyes brimming, I asked him: "Why would anyone put themselves through this?"
His response was to pass me a mirror. Looking at my newly filled-out lips, I understood.
"I get it now. I'd do it again in a heartbeat."
The cost works out too.
A full syringe of fillers costs about $900 and is enough for both the lips and under-eye area.
Those 12 jabs lasted six months.
My second lip filler procedure needed only four jabs. It's been seven months since, and my lips still look as good.
It's also been a year since I got my first undereye filler treatment - three injections on each side. And it's not all unbearable pain.
For my botulinum toxin session, numbing cream was first applied to the area, and as the doctor injects the neurotoxin into my face, there is a slight biting sensation as it enters the epidermis, but it only lasts one or two seconds.
While the swelling from my nose fillers settled after five days, the other areas had little downtime.
When I met my husband an hour after my lip and under-eye fillers, he didn't notice much difference.
On the contrary, he told me I "seemed a bit more smiley and rested".
The results of my fillers aren't monetarily tangible.
My favourite eye cream costs $85 and lasts three months. But as there isn't a skincare product that makes me look "more smiley" - there's really no comparison.
I still think I'm ageing gracefully. I'm evolving from the declarations I made as a young woman, like not getting tattoos and not marrying a divorcee with kids, to making grownup choices in my 30s.
Growth involves learning new things and unlearning old ones. And that includes redefining what ageing gracefully means.
This article was first published in Her World Online.