Creating Yourself at 50 and Beyond

I find myself wanting to talk about fashion more often in here. To talk about topics central to being a woman in today’s world apart from fashion too.

I will recommend again the book Nothing to Wear? A 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet. In it Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo walk women through the steps of discovering our style and dressing in a harmonious way.

Julie Morgenstern is quoted in the book after the two consultants gave her a makeover:

“Wearing clothes that nurture and embrace me is a way to love and care for my body.”

I couldn’t have said this better.

I checked this book out of the library and have been reading it over and over for its sage advice. At some point I’m going to buy a copy of the book.

At 53 I reckon with not wanting to wearing stilettos and a cleavage-bearing mini skirt.

In the September issue of Bazaar jeweler Gaia Repossi talks about gender fluidity and fashion choices.

Perhaps you can relate to thinking that you fall down in terms of what is accepted in the mainstream?

Using Nothing to Wear? to find your style and having the courage to flaunt it could be the antidote to feeling sub-par in mid-life.

I say too: having the courage to flout convention in a sartorial or other way shouldn’t be frowned on.

Am I the only woman who has hit mid-life with the sudden desire to remodel her self and her life and her clothes?

I want to talk more about mid-life matters in the coming blog entries.

Cleaning out your closet and restocking it with a few stylish pieces could be the start of feeling better.

This is not frivolous. It’s also not the only worthy goal at mid-life.

Coming up I’ll talk about other things I think might strike a cord in readers.

 

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Fresh Lipstick

In extolling fashion and beauty in this blog it’s not my intention to dwell on fluff and not substance.

In my Visionary way I simply wanted to branch out from the typical standard mental health reportage because there’s so much more to life than the pain a person can be in.

If dressing up and wearing makeup is going to make a person feel better I’m all for this. It’s precisely when we’re in pain that we should do what gives us joy.

From my view today I understand what it’s like to be going through “the Change” or menopause.

Our bodies and our looks are evolving. Some of us don’t like that the direction everything’s going in is south.

There are genetic wonders among us who have creamy flawless skin and look good without makeup.

There are other women who simply choose not to wear makeup at all.

I honestly believe that everyone living on earth is beautiful.

I admire women who can rock their natural face and look good without makeup.

I say: to hell with what other people think of you, your body, or your face.

Living in menopause is precisely the time to tell our critics: “I’m hot. Are you blind? Can’t you see I’m hot.”

We need to look in the mirror and like what we see by the time we hit mid-life. If we agonize over our looks or our bodies now it’s only going to be worse when we turn 60 or older.

I’m a 53-year old woman. I don’t feel so hot going out without wearing lipstick. My new favorite tube cost more than I care to admit.

This week I checked out of the library Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism.

The book flap inside Fresh Lipstick:

“Argues that wearing high heels and using hair curlers does not deny you the right to seek advancement, empowerment, and equality.”

In here I will argue too that dressing in your own authentic way and taking pride in your beauty can empower you to take risks to achieve other goals you have in life.

It’s a double-edge: looking good to feel good and feeling good to look good.

Let’s face it: post-50 most of us aren’t going to have bodies that are Thin AF.

This is precisely the era in our lives when we should think about remodeling ourselves from the inside.

We benefit from asking ourselves now:

Where do I want to be tomorrow? What can I do today to get closer to that goal?

Is there a habit holding you back? Are there negative thoughts persisting in your head?

Changing what we’re able to and accepting what we can’t change–the Serenity Prayer–is a good solution.

At 40, at 53, at however old you are, this isn’t the time to give up on yourself.

I say: make your own happiness a priority at mid-life. Do what gives you joy.

If that’s swiping on fresh lipstick or putting on your dancing shoes, by all means go for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highway To You

At 53, I’ve become more obsessed with fashion than I ever have.

I’ve bought five fashion books either print copies or e-books.

I find myself at odds with the target market of forty and older women profiled in a book like The Women’s Wake-up.

That book should be titled Howdy, Dowdy.

I don’t think those drab-color clothes and suited attire are becoming. At least, I wouldn’t be caught dead in those outfits.

The women profiled in these kinds of books are Baby Boomers. I’m not dissing the women themselves. I’m simply astounded that there’s a dichotomy between how I dress and how most older women dress.

It’s most likely because I was born in 1965–the first year of the Generation X cohort.

What a difference one year makes. I align with the Gen X ethic.

This must be why I abhor acting, thinking, dressing, and living in a one-size-fits-all monochromatic fashion.

My kind of mid-life crisis has involved going shopping: for clothes and a man.

I browse the J.Crew and Banana Republic websites because they have Petite clothes. I look for coupon codes or items sold at a reduced price.

Each of us has the right to do what gives us joy. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or ashamed for liking whatever gives us joy.

Do men who blather on about their cars or gym routines get the kind of grief women are given for expressing our love of fashion?

At mid-life women shouldn’t give up on ourselves. We should embrace our individuality. We should live and think outside the book.

We should honor the unique facets of our personality, which experts now think isn’t fixed and can change over the years.

Lucinda Chambers is quoted in  Know Your Style:  “I think great style is individuality with confidence.” I recommend you buy this book. It’s a treasure trove of information.

In the next blog entry I’m going to give a list of beauty and fashion books that have been like bibles to me at this time in my older life.

I’m 53 and have become a rebel in my older years. A rebel who dresses in chic clothes.

Perhaps you understand what it’s like to live your life left of the dial?

Do you also fear living a monochromatic life?

Yes I say: wear an olive suit if that’s your thing. Wear beige if that would make you happy.

I simply need color. I don’t look alive out there in an ivory sweater.

I don’t follow rules that don’t make sense.

Women, start your engines: today is the day to live boldly.

The highway of life is calling.

Burn rubber, because the past has ended.

Listen to the Paula Cole song “The Road to Me” from the 1990s.

The open road beckons at mid-life.

Remodeling Your Self At Mid-Life

The book The Happiness Curve talks about the myth of having a mid-life crisis. Apparently, people are happier in their fifties sixties and beyond. There’s an uptick in joy in our later years.

We have the balls or breasts to defy other people’s expectations:

We go back to school, remodel our kitchen, get a divorce or do any number of new things when we’ve had enough of life as it’s always been.

Today I reckon with this new requirement to stop caring what other people think.

It’s true no one’s going to like you or approve of you for speaking out, for having a diagnosis, or whatever you do or have that they can’t wrap their head around.

Only here’s the truth:

No one changed the world for the better (or even just their world for the better) by sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be called into the game.

Readers, mid-life is our game to play. We own this particular playing field at forty and beyond.

Only you have to be okay with your newfound bravado.

The secret to success at mid-life is indeed doing what gives you joy that comes easy to you. Other people might be envious that you’re happy. That shouldn’t concern you.

The older we get our time here becomes shorter. To steal the Maxwell House Coffee advertisement from the 1980s, we need to make each moment: “Good to the last drop.”

At 40, at 53, at however old you are, it’s time to pay attention.

Life will tell you what to do, if only you stop to listen.

So, remodel your kitchen or your self. It’s all good.

Well

I’ve been blogging for over 11 years so far.

At the start in the original incarnation of the blog I stated that if you have your diagnosis going against you, you might not want to dye your hair green and look weird.

Today I recant that assertion.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the tragedy that is conformity.

You can’t repress your soul and expect to be well.

You shouldn’t hide your life or your light.

Trying to change who you are so that other people will accept you or approve of you is a losing battle. Doing so will cause ill health.

Be not afraid to “Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be.”

Today I abide by this refrigerator magnet quote as the one true livable maxim at mid-life.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk about how things often pan out in our older years.

Living life whole and well is predicated on embracing and expressing our individuality without fear of reprisal.

The Child-Free Road Taken

I’m 53.

I’ve been trying to convince others that free choice is a right that shouldn’t be taken away.

Only by framing it in the context of reproductive health choices I don’t think a lot of people will ever buy what I’m selling.

Only I know this much is true:

Ever since I was 15 or 16 years old I didn’t want to get married and raise a family.

Since I didn’t want to be forced to choose to get an abortion I used birth control.

This is the road taken in my life: to remain child-free.

In 1987 when I was 22 my life changed forever on a single night.

Having a breakdown is like a right of passage for some women.

This sealed the deal for me: I didn’t want to bring into the world a kid who could have a chronic unremitting illness.

A kid who might not be given mental health treatment as soon as they need it.

A kid who could become an adult who thus wouldn’t recover because they didn’t get treatment.

Most of all I didn’t want to have to discontinue medication to be able to carry a baby to term.

Doing so would put my life at risk.

When I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral mental health website I wrote in a news article:

I’d rather be dead than psychotic.

Fighting words yet oh so true.

Another Year Older

2018 sephora

I’m 53 now and I’m still here.

Contrary to the myth that everyone with SZ dies 25 years earlier.

Do I look like I’m ready to kick the bucket?

Going to Sicily is on my bucket list of things to do before my hair turns totally silver.

I’ve decided to get a Sephora makeover once a year at this time.

I was told I have a heart-shape face. So if your face is like mine you might have a heart shape face too: wide forehead and prominent cheekbones and narrow chin.

The rocker chick bangs haircut is courtesy of my new hairdresser: an old school Italian lady. I stopped going to my old hair stylist I’d seen for about nine years.

One day last summer I woke up and couldn’t take how my hair had been cut. I tried to wear a hat to my job because it was August.

“No hat indoors. It’s a sign of disrespect.” The supervisor put an end to my bad hair day cover-up.

Every day was a bad hair day. I just refused to get it cut again until the fall.

On the day after Columbus Day I went to the new hairdresser a Sicilian woman told me about. Finally: a great haircut.

This isn’t a matter of world peace or any other kind of injustice in terms of the significance of having had a bad haircut.

Yet I think all women have been there really not liking how their hair stylist has been going cutting their hair at some point.

Plus my haircut is now thirty dollars cheaper.

Paying too much to look like a bald falcon? I think not. Get yourself to a new hairdresser right away if it’s time for a change.