I like to think I’m like a fine wine — getting better with age.
I am quickly marching towards 50 and that means change, but I’m doing it my way — not how society seems to think I should change.
In some ways, I fit the mold of the suburban single mom (as I self-identify). I drive through Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, I drink wine when I watch “Game of Thrones” and I’m on the PTA at my kid’s elementary school. As for the rest of my life? I just don’t care to fit in with people’s expectations.
I’m a long hair person. I’ve had long hair most of my life, except when it was shoulder-length in my 30s when I was trying to figure out if I should start to comply with the “getting older” rules. Now that I’m 48, society says I’m supposed to cut my hair into something more “conservative” and “appropriate for my age.”
So I’m letting it grow. And it’s down to the middle of my back. Did I mention there are grays? Grays don’t come in gradually, from the top down. It’s more like SPROING! There’s a piece, fully formed and sticking out from all the others. There’s another! And another! Why did I not see these growing in?
As for styling, grays defy normal attempts to control your hair. Working with grays is like trying to flat iron stainless steel screws. I pull them out if they won’t play nice with the rest of my hair. They can grow back in, sure, and bring more, but I don’t care.
I’m not feeling oversized sweatshirts with airbrushed animal faces on them. If I don’t fit into the tribe, well, sorry, not sorry. And I just bought a couple of new pairs of jeans – from the junior department. They fit, and they make my ass look amazing. Before it slides, my ass needs all the help it can get.
I’m trying not to judge. Not judging is actually the point. If animal sweatshirts are your thing, LIVE IT UP. I support you, raccoon sweatshirt lady, but don’t give me side eye because I am wearing denim short-shorts to my kid’s race. I’m rocking stretch marks, broken veins and this sag-in-the-front, cheese-in-the-back skin like nobody’s business because I am proud of all my body has done for me, and it continues to do.
This includes buying more low-cut tops since my rack still looks pretty awesome for 48. With the appropriate propping up, in fact, I’ll build scaffolding under there if necessary to get those mamas up, because I’m flaunting what I’ve got.
I sleep with my makeup on. Pretty much every night. I have for decades. Another “not supposed to” that I ignore. Skin care companies have been selling us stuff for decades that’s supposed to make us look more socially acceptable (e.g., less wrinkly) for a longer period of time. None of it works. You cannot stop the aging process — I accept wrinkles. Besides, I look better in the morning with smudged eyeliner.
I decided to stop being so freaking HARD on myself and let go. My life is never going to be perfect. My body is never going to look, act or feel like it did in my 20s. So what? I am focusing more on living, being present every day and doing my best to find the balance that works for me. I am accepting myself.
If I go to the gym for two hours one Sunday, I might do a two-hour brunch with mimosas and the laughter of good friends the next. The balance is really where quality is found, and where that happy place we’re all seeking resides.
I’m doing what works for me and that makes me feel beautiful and happy. I’m living fully, baby, and it feels great. You should try it.