Making Changes at Mid Life

Last week I used the last shred of dough to hire a Health Coach.

Her fee was customary and not at all exorbitant for health coach services.

The coach quickly figured out that I needed to change up my eating plan:

I’m to cut out carbohydrates like any kind of grains. I’m to buy full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of 0 fat yogurt. I’m to add protein and healthy fat to my breakfast and lunch meals.

Out, out will go the granola, and the pasta of any kind except only rarely as a treat (once a season as opposed to weekly.)

Eggs are perfectly fine to have for breakfast. I buy the organic eggs and scramble them with organic mushrooms, diced peppers, and broccoli.

At mid-life I buy and cook mostly organic food. It tastes better. It doesn’t have cancer-causing pesticides. It’s cheaper than paying medical costs when you become ill.

Alas, lifestyle choices are often the culprit in ill health at mid-life and beyond.

I’m lucky that as a young kid I always detested cigarette smoking so didn’t take up this awful habit.

In my Flourish blog I’ve talked about how the food we eat can impact our mood.

Emotional distress can cause physical fatigue too according to a doctor.

At 50 and beyond–even starting at 40 and younger–it pays dividends to make your health a priority.

Living in health and harmony can enable you to live longer if you ask me.

I also think that making conscious choices at mid-life is the way to go. Instead of acting or reacting on autopilot not aware of what you’re thinking doing or saying.

At 50 and beyond there can be a lot of stress. Some of us might be acting as our parent’s caregiver.

It can also be quite a shock when we realize we need to make changes to sustain our health as we get older.

In the Flourish blog is where I will continue to talk in detail about fitness and nutrition.

In here I would like to talk about practical lifestyle changes.

The coming blog entry will be devoted to managing your wardrobe better to ameliorate your health.

Who really needs 100 sweaters?

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Viewing the World at 50

My newfound alarm at the hazardous conditions garment workers labor under has been part of a series of revelations I’ve come to post-50 years old.

Every week I log on to the Accidental Icon blog.

In one comment Lyn Slater wrote:

“Creativity can move one forward into doing what one really wants to do in life.”

Being resourceful. Veering off the beaten path. Deciding for your self how you want to live.

These things seem to have taken precedence in my life as I near another birthday.

When I turned 35 that was the start of realizing that living only for self-gain and making tons of money wasn’t such a great idea.

Fast-forward to 53: I don’t think anyone will get very far in life acting selfish and greedy and materialistic.

The point is that feeling good about ourselves and doing good is why we’re here on earth.

How old are you? If you’re not in your fifties yet what I’m writing will be a preview of the years to come.

At 53:

I’m done with the hate in the world.

I’m done with caring what people who sit in judgment of you think.

I’m done with fearing acting true to yourself because you worry people won’t approve of the Real You.

In your twenties and possibly going into your thirties you have different ideas about what’s important.

It’s later in life as the years roll along that I think:

Wasn’t it kind of entitled to be upset that your mother gave you a fluorescent green shirt as a Christmas present? (As recorded in my memoir.)

See what happens. You’ll turn 50 someday too. You hopefully won’t be the same person you were when you were 20. Or even when you were 40.

The famous boxer Muhammad Ali has a great quote I’ll end here with:

“A  man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Women: this applies to us too.

Conscious Chic

Merriam-Webster online defines the noun Chic as:

Smart elegance and sophistication especially of dress or manner.

As I roll into my mid-fifties the goal is to be conscious not live life on auto-pilot.

Reading We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now has been a wake-up call.

This has awakened in me the urge to speak out as a Rebel/Feminist.

At this point in my life living on the cusp of getting older I think each person should decide for themselves how they want to be, live, act, dress, and think.

To be a Feminist in today’s world was beautifully expressed by Gaia Repossi, an Italian Creative Director living in Paris:

“Since I am a creative person, my style is my language, a way in which I speak.

I would encourage you to “speak” freely as yourself, to be guided by your instinct, to be faithful to your heart and mind, to say something…Contemporary elegance, to me, is rooted in an enlightened feminism, in equality of genders and sexualities, and in freedom from gender.”

To embrace and honor your individuality–of gender yet also of personality–and that of others is the goal.

My agenda in advancing the ethic of Conscious Chic is precisely to liberate ourselves from the old-school patriarchy that has caused the hazardous working conditions in garment factories around the globe.

Being chained to a treadmill of buying and spending isn’t the way to live the rest of your life after you turn 50.

I say: be Chic by being You.

Acting as a conscious consumer can be a great way to manage your mental and physical health at mid-life.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about this in more detail via the concept of having a capsule wardrobe of 30 or so items.

Changing Yourself to Change the World

As I roll along in my fifties (with a birthday coming up) I would like to focus in this blog on hot topics that affect women going through “the change.”

I’ll be 54 soon. The Accidental Icon blogger Lyn Slater inspires me to no end. She’s easily 10 or 15 years older than me. She is a professor with a social work background who reinvented herself as a Fashionista later in life.

There’s something to be said about having the guts to act true to yourself without apologizing or having to justify or explain your choices.

This might be a luxury that only those of us in a well-off country like America have. Which is why in coming blog entries I also want to offer solutions that benefit the planet and other people living on it.

There has not ever been a better time to be an artist and act altruistic.

If you ask me dressing well is an art form. It does give us the power to reach for our dreams.

Yet we must keep in mind that other people don’t have it so easy.

Helping others lift themselves up is always in fashion.

As Michael Jackson sang in “Man in the Mirror” changing the world happens when you first change yourself.

54 is fast on my heels. I’m  a woman looking in the mirror. Do I like what I see?

I’ve become disenchanted with running on a treadmill of spending and consuming.

The arrival of a mysterious package on my doorstep prompted me to re-examine my buying habits.

Where did the package come from? Up next the moral of this postal story.

Clothes-Minded

I’ve been logging on to the Accidental Icon blog every week now.

Lyn Slater the blogger posted a response to one of her comments stating that how you dress impacts what you think and how you perform.

I was curious so Googled these research studies and here’s what I came up with:

Subjects dressed in formal business clothing as opposed to casual clothing had increased abstract thinking, a cognitive hallmark of creativity and long-term strategizing.

Subjects who wore a white lab coat clearly announced as being a doctor’s coat focused better and made half as many mistakes on an attention-demanding task.

In a twist, women who were told the expensive sunglasses they wore were counterfeit cheated more often on lab experiments with cash payouts. This behavior was thought to occur because wearing the counterfeit glasses made wearers feel less authentic.

An interview years ago in a magazine with Judith Hill a singer poised for stardom sums this all up in a down-to-earth way:

“I believe that playing the part on the outside affects how you feel on the inside…So even when I’m not feeling my best, I put on clothes that make me look confident.”

There’s something to be said for dressing the way you want to feel when you’re not feeling up to par.

I know that when I dress up I feel better.

Soon I turn 54. The focus of this blog in the coming months will be on what it’s like living through “the change.”

I would like to talk about the dual nature of fashion: the fashion a person wears and how she fashions her life as she gets older.

Lyn Slater has been a true inspiration to me.

I’m confident when I say that turning 50 heralds the advent of the best years of our lives.

Creating a Look Book

look book

I’ve figured out that creating a Look Book can help you figure out what pocketbook to choose and use with a particular outfit.

The photo album above holds 200 photos. I’ve also begun shooting photos of clothing items. You can use Pinterest on your cell phone or a device like an iPad instead if you’d like to create a Look Book.

I’m on the cusp of 54. A lot of woman at mid-life decide we want to do something new or at least change an aspect of our lives that we don’t like.

In this regard as I’m starting to reach the middle of my fifties I find that doing the things that give you joy can transform your confidence and give you self-esteem.

The point of creating a Look Book is that it can be fun to choose and use items in your wardrobe to make whatever statement you want to make on a particular day.

I would go so far as to say that style is the language of your soul transmitted sartorially.

Dressing well can spark joy in mid-life or at any time in your life.

Now that I’m leaving 50 in the dust and heading upward I can tell readers that you need all the help you can get when others in society–men and fashion editors alike–insinuate that a woman has an expiration date.

The goal is not to look like you’re 20 when you’re 50 or 60 or older.

The goal is to use your wardrobe to transmit to others that you like yourself and think you’re hot by your own standards.

Not by any other person’s view of what you look like.

I will end here by stating that creating a Look Book is therapist-approved. No kidding.

My Signature Wardrobe Piece

bandanna purple photo

The Accidental Icon blogger Lyn Slater talked about having a signature item in your wardrobe.

The photo above attests to what has become my signature item: a colorful bandanna.

The summer I turned 51 my hair start to frizz up and curl in different directions in rainy or humid weather.

I’d dry my hair straight. Going out the door in the rain or humid air I’d arrive at my destination with unruly hair. You can predict the weather by looking at my hair.

That summer I bough 5 different bandannas in a dollar store. (I”m not proud that they have a Made in China label.)

Since I can’t wear a hat on my job I was pleased to be able to get away with wearing a bandanna to staff the reference desk.

Isaac Mizrahi in his book How to Have Style recommended wearing bandannas to brighten your mood.

A woman featured in the Andrea Linett book The Cool Factor sported a bandanna as her trademark.

These two fashion guides inspired me to start wearing bandannas as a bad-hair day cover-up. My cover has been blown.

In New York City the Human Rights Commission has made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers because of their hairstyles.

I think I was able to get away with wearing bandannas at my job precisely because so many people wear different kinds of headscarves as a matter of course.

In fact: sometimes a hairstyle born out of a bad hair day can become a celebration of your individuality.

Taking away someone’s right to self-expression should be forbidden.

There are so many beautiful people walking around with hair that is a point of pride.

If the hair is not on your head you shouldn’t be concerned with what it looks like.

My unruly hair brings me no happiness.

The bandannas I wear bring other people joy. Walking down the street people stop me and comment on my choice of headscarf.

At midlife wearing a bandanna has become my signature.

In a coming blog entry I”m going to talk more about why uniformity and conformity should be illegal.