Getting Over Getting Older
I love being in my (early) to mid thirties! Welllllll, most of the time. Aging is complex.
Can I get an amen?!!?!
Inside, I still feel like a twenty-something! Actually, when I am truly being my goofy self I still feel like a teenager!! And then there are the days when I feel overwhelmed at all I have to manage [with grace, style and pizazz]: having a teenager of my own, running multiple businesses, caring for/ and loving a husband, homes to manage, dogs who deserve attention/time/energy, travel, aging parents, my own hobbies (reading, skiing, writing, watching sports, baking, taking LAZY baths) complex familial relationships, donating my time to charities/volunteering, spending time with my real life and internet friends & dealing with the foe, trying to eat healthy/work out, being fiscally responsible etc. etc. AND THEN?!?! Well, then I actually still feel like I am in my own version of 13 (and gangly AF) Going on 30!
I recently saw a glimpse of my hands in a photo and was horrified. Are my hands that dry, wrinkly, scary!? Sometimes when I try clothes on in a mirror, or see myself (sans filter) in photos I am genuinely surprised by the woman looking back at me! I’ve made peace with the big stuff… I will probably always struggle with acne, 11’s between my eyebrows, eczema, a nose that has been made better but not grrrrrreat by birth and a subsequent surgery, and lots of lines around my (too small IMO) eyes. Buuuuuuut is making peace enough?
Although it is WAY easier said than done, there is really no point in having any angst whatsoever in aging. I will get older. Every minute actually. Since starting writing this post. My weight will fluctuate, my flaws have good days and my fine features bad days. Some days I will look radiant, well rested and maybe even pretty (in the eye of the right beholder) and other days I will look *ahem* not so.
I love this from New Passages by Gail Sheehy:
“Our concern with how we look as we age may be superficial, but it’s natural. We shouldn't be ashamed of obsessing about it from time to time. After all, this is one aspect of the passage to the Age of Mastery that all of us face. It’s about finding a new version of attractiveness. It’s making the most of whatever external beauty we have, but also activiating sources of internal value. Once we begin to accept and enjoy the roundness and normal weight gain, the wrinkles and sags that come with maturity, we become grounded. And being grounded, we can build on the two pillars that makes the new older woman such good value; her complexity and her uniqueness.”
No woman can stop or reverse the aging process (other than maybe a few grande dames - Jane Fonda I am looking at you) no matter how well they take care of themselves, or what they do. No matter how much exercise, sleep, health foods, supplements, expensive creams or home remedies there are out there; you and I are still aging. As you read this in fact you are getting older. Sorry, sorry, I’ll stop scaring you.
I, and you, don’t have best-before dates, and we shouldn’t be made to feel that way by any advertisement, comparison on social media, or societal norm.
I have decided that for me personally some cosmetic helpers are appropriate. I have my own rules about what and how often I will do things (more on that below) and am happy and comfortable with the face I present to the world each day. I hope as I expand below on what I have done and tried, that others will feel my transparency and honesty is a support to them, not a call to action. We should each do or not do whatever makes us feel our best self. I just share my list in an effort to be real about the fact that I most often DID NOT wake up this way!
I like me, I have a happy life, and while I have changes and areas I hope to grow and better myself in, I have figured out who and what I want to be as I continue to grow up. There is still so much more to do!
“We have to value ourselves not for what we look like or the things we possess but for the women we are.” -Maya Angelou
I haven’t figured everything out though, and I can't wait to learn more the older I get. After all, thus far my life has blessed me with so many experiences, memories and even scars to draw upon. I take comfort in knowing some of the best days of my life are still ahead of me!
I hope we each find the wisdom to reflect upon what we have experienced, to love our pasts, and all of the shapes and ways we’ve looked before, and have sorted out what is truly important to us moving forward… things like staying creative and productive, seeing new places, finding joy, living authentically, constantly learning and passing along what I have learned to those within my circle of influence.
There is a lot about aging that scares me, I don’t pretend otherwise. Yet, if we frame things in a positive way; aging can be about growth and possibility, not decline.
I do know and can attest that when I feel my personal best I feel powerful. Hence, why I feel so strongly about finding a style that exudes who you are, and supports what you do everyday. Because when I feel my best, and I feel powerful: I believe in myself and choose to embrace whatever comes my way, day to day. The challenging times, the mundane things that must be done, all the way to the incredible opportunities and excitement that lays ahead. I am better able to be myself: a wife, sister, daughter, mother, co worker, friend, neighbor, community member and jokester.
So, join me, not on a vanity crisis, but on embracing the next cycle of life, no matter your age. Choose to love yourself today, and whatever tomorrow is.
Ok, phew, that is all well and kumbaya and happy… now let’s talk nitty gritty about my personal beauty and aesthetics!
I have tried:
hair extensions (I have tried sewn in, clip in and bonded… currently am extension free and it is hard not to miss the fullness I get from them!)
teeth caps (I have actual caps on my two upper front teeth to even out my smile, I am scared to go full shaved down teeth/veneers)
LED facials/Gylcolic Peels, Lasers
body wraps, skin creams, and rollers, patches etc.
and every diet under the sun
I draw the line at lip fillers (mostly because I am scared), major surgery (breast augmentation, face lift etc.) and full on veneers.
I try and be 80% healthy with a 20% room to enjoy food… but up until recently it was way more 20%-80%! I don’t feel my best when I eat a lot of dairy and I have noticed really having a reaction to gluten (unfortunately). I don’t avoid them entirely, but try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and to make as much as I can at home from scratch (even though cooking doesn’t come naturally to me) so I am more conscious of what I am putting in my body (and my family’s). I get too dizzy and crabby and tend to lose weight too quickly on juice cleanses, and travel too much to stick to meal delivery services (though when I have done Sakara meals in the past I. HAVE. LOVED. THEM). I read The Medical Medium recently and loved the advice in it. I don’t do the celery juice in the AM that everyone else raves about but the parts of each chapter that discussed the spirit of different foods really resonated with me. I try to be super mindful about what I am putting in my body, why, and how. This is new and challenging for me, but I DEF notice an improvement in almost every aspect of “feeling well” when I do, even when eating non healthy foods. Allowing myself to enjoy food, no matter what it is, and connect with what it can do for my body (energy, healing, vitality or just good taste) makes it all worthwhile.
I have had awful acne since I became a teenager. It is something I am beyond self conscious about, and have tried everything for. I never felt good on hard prescriptions such as Accutane, although they did make an improvement in my skin. I am now just on a really regimented routine with a line of skincare by a dermatologist I adore. I go to great lengths to ensure I always have my wash, acid and moisturizer with me as often as we travel, because my sensitive skin acts up on planes, different sheets, waters etc. when I stay in hotels. I also try and take a vitamin blend as often as I remember (!) that helps with skin. I drink lemon water as much as I can, change my pillow cases, towels etc. super often and try and avoid touching my face ever. I haven’t had amazing luck with facials in terms of seeing an improvement in my skin, or feeling clearer after, but I do love the occasional peel and laser for hyperpigmentation and cell turnover.
Currently I ski, run through airports and am trying to get back into yoga. In the past I have had bouts of being totally sedentary and also times where I have run marathons, done hot yoga everyday, danced and cheered professionally etc.. Personally, exercise is only enjoyable and maint-able when my mind set is that my body is capable of so much, and exercising is a joy and a blessing to be able to do and have that movement - doing it to lose weight etc. just isn’t the right frame of mind for me and feels punishing and like a chore.
I have had Botox in my forehead and between my eyebrows four times over the past three years. I love the outcome! I have very defined 11’s between my brows, and wrinkles on my forehead. Currently the amount and placement that my conservative Botox providers thus far has injected has made a noticeable and amazing difference while still remaining natural and allowing me to move my face! I have had rhinoplasty done to my nose. I had a crushed septum that needed repair and after a 20-25 year long hatred of my nose I decided to have some cosmetic touches done too. The surgery was much less intense than I expected, but the outcome wasn't as fabulous as I had hoped and dreamed. I would still love to have the tip shortened and lifted one more time, but not sure I will elect to do so as it seems superfluous. My recommendation is to always be sure that you have a good idea of what the outcome will be, as much as possible, and to weigh that against the drama of surgery! I go back and forth on the ideas of augmenting my chest. I have always had a small one, and know it would drastically alter how my body looks. I think I would love the result. However, I don’t “need” it done, and don’t notice it on a regular basis they way I despised my nose in every mirror and picture before surgery, and still most days, and the surgery seems intense. Also, I get away with wearing quite a lot of OTT or more low cut pieces because I have no chest, and am not sure I want to totally eliminate those options for myself. I made an appointment years ago for lip fillers and freaked out before the injections began. I know some people love them, and look amazing, but for me, right now, they are a no.
Living your life online can bring so many amazing rewards; I have made epic friendships, learned so much about myself and tried so many new things; just to name a few. It has also brought me, my body and my appearance to the screens of many who have not always been kind, or gentle in their responses. It took a long time ( and I still work at it!!) for me to learn to process that scrutiny into two categories. Does it bother me because it is true? And if so, do I want to do something to correct that, and what is it? And two; does it bother me because it is untrue? If so, do I want to correct the misunderstanding, or sit with the knowledge that I have to allow others their own opinions, even when they hurt, or are not what I would want them to be. I think as we all are on social media so much more it is easy to compare or have access to others whose highlight reels make us feel inadequate. I try and remind myself when I am feeling that way, that I am only in competition with myself; who I used to be, am today and want to be tomorrow. Cheesy, but what works for me.
Younger Isn’t Always Better….
Now, please enjoy this walk down memory lane… some baby PANP pics, some cringe worthy snaps from my very first fashion blog over ten years ago, and then even some photos from within the past few years I can't believe… because really, we all romanticize being younger… but I am certainly glad I have learned and evolved and moved on from lots of the below phases. Wrong haircuts, crazy CRAZY eyebrows, bad ensembles, and trends that were never for moi. Older is truly wiser!
My Original Blog
Every stage of your life is beautiful!
So of these pictures I look back on and see better skin days, or a more effortlessly shapely body, some pictures I know I looked great because I was truly happy, or felt so proud of my outfit. It is easy to critique the past, just the way it is so easy to sit now with myself and find fault, if I allow myself too. I remember the days I didn’t have such bad eczema, or before I knew what the miracle of hair extensions could due to the volume and feel of your hair… but I also remember the days that I prayed and hoped and worked for what I have now, and try to truly embrace the past and present as fully as possible.