Wednesday, June 6, 2018

When to Say When


    In keeping with my last lengthy "musings" post called Keep Trying, I thought I'd bring some balance to it with this post about knowing when to quit.  I think W.C. Fields said it best when he said "If at first you don't succeed, trytry again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."    It's important to keep trying, but it's also perfectly healthy to say enough is enough.

    I don't often take outfit photos at the end of the day...or early in the morning.  I'm tired and it shows.  Even if I redo my make-up.  I feel a bit like these years of grief have gotten to me...or maybe I'm just starting to show my age.  It's caused more than a little insecurity and the other day, I'm a little ashamed to admit, I made an impulse buy on some very expensive and supposedly miraculous skin care products.  They haven't arrived yet, but I'm already feeling the buyer's remorse.  I've been using the same skin care line from Mary Kay since I was 23 years old and it's never steered me wrong.  It's pricey, but I always bargain shopped it and saved some off the retail, plus it seemed like it was working so, I figured it was worth it.  Now the lines are deeper and the under eye puffiness isn't just from a long sleepless night and doesn't go away as the day progresses.  I used to be so secure with myself, inside and out.  Now, not so much.  Life sucker punched me, then kicked me a few times while I was down and I'm still feeling the after effects in so many areas of my life that I never dreamed would be shaken this way.

    I picked up a copy of French Women Don't Get Facelifts by Mireille Guiliano from my library this week to help me mentally fight against some of what I'm feeling.  I've been to France multiple times and I used to live in a french culture, so I already have a healthy relationship with and a deep appreciation for food and family.  But, as I'm reading the pages of this book, I'm afraid that it may not be of much help.  French culture is not American culture and the views on women, sex, and attractiveness are perhaps some of the more marked differences between us.  While I can certainly work on regaining my positive attitude toward aging, I will have the rest of my culture to contend with and quite frankly, the rest of my culture seems to views a woman as worthy and attractive only from ages 18-34. That's it.  We see it in Hollywood all the time.  Once an actress hits 35, she disappears until she's old enough to come back and play someone's mother or grandmother.  And by then she's often had her face plumped and pulled into something that barely resembles the woman we knew before.   Celebrities aren't the only ones giving in to the cosmetic surgery craze.  I know a handful of women who are toting plastic parts and they all acquired them around the same age--40.  In our hormone-sodden, hook-up based, sex-obsessed land of plenty, what's a middle-aged, wanting-to-age-gracefully-and-naturally-kind-of girl to do?
    Well, I can't change the culture, not single-handedly anyway.  But, here's what I can do: relax and enjoy as much as possible.  Mireille's advice in a nutshell is what I loved and miss most about French culture, the love of life.  I need to make time for my children, my friends, my family.  I need to sit down and enjoy good, rich meals over good, rich conversation at least once a week.  I need to focus on staying fit and healthy for my own benefit while simultaneously bowing out of the fashion/beauty race.  I've contemplated whether or not that means closing down my blog.   A friend of mine advised against it.  "Maybe you need to keep doing this because you're older.  There aren't that many women your age who are out there saying, 'hey, this is our style, and this is our time.'"  Maybe she's right.
    On the other hand, I remember when I was in school and Clueless came out.  Of course all the girls loved it and the school was full of those plaid skirts, knee socks and cute tee combos that Cher and Dee rocked so hard.  But then a couple of our teachers started wearing it too....Now, compared to all the other teachers at school at the time, these women were the prettiest.  No questions there.  And in spite of having had multiple children, they both had great little figures.  They were just too old to wear that look, that short.  Even if I hadn't reached that conclusion on my own, (and I mean the instant I saw them wearing those outfits, I thought, Ooooohhh, nooooo) I heard other teachers and quite a few moms clucking about the inappropriateness of it all.  It is perhaps the golden rule of fashion that just because you can wear something doesn't mean you should.  It's possible that all those gossipy women were just jealous.  Possible, but it's more probable that those dear little teachers in question, who were in fact the age that I am now, could have and should have spent a little more time taking that teenage look and turning it into some more befitting a 35-42 year old confident professional woman.  I think it could have been done back then and I know it can be done now, and if you don't believe it, then maybe I should be using my blog to show you how.

    Sometimes, when I'm really bottoming out in depression and grief, I think it would be nice to buzz all my hair off, let it grow out naturally in all its salt and pepper glory, put on my old farm clothes, work hard all day, spend my evenings with a good meal, a nice glass of muscato, and some lovely conversation with loved ones and never have another photo taken again.   I could just sit back and let the world be the world without me.   Deep down, I know that's not the right frame of mind in which to make big decisions, so I try to refrain.  All this is supposed to be just for fun anyway, so I'm trying not to take it so seriously.  I don't plan on running a fashion blog when I'm 60.  Actually, I didn't think I'd be running one for more than a year or two.  Now it's going strong and I don't know what happens next. 

    Maybe my days at this are numbered and maybe I'm the only one numbering them because I've believed all the things my culture has told me for so long even though I know they're not true.  So, while I don't know if it's time to quit fashion and photos just yet, I'm beginning to wonder if it is time start transitioning out of some of my more youthful prints and skirt lengths and into a more mature style. I'm almost 40 after all.  And, yeah, the day may come eventually when I need to hang up my blog and leave all this fashion stuff to the youngsters, and I hope that when it does I'll handle it gracefully and know when to say when. 

2 comments

  1. As someone who is over 30, I say don't quit just yet. I understand where you are coming from - but we can and will age gracefully if we try :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm around your age and I love your blog, so please dont call it quits just because of your age! I like seeing people around my age still dressing fun but not childish, you do this very well and I wish there were more bloggers like you.

    ReplyDelete

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