I had a lot of time two nights ago to contemplate the last topic on YesFive. My son wanted to party all night. After listening to him scream for his brother to wake up for 1/2 hour, I knew from experience, it would be easier to give in and get him out of his prison cell. After all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. While I am not overly sympathetic to skinned knees and loose teeth, I can appreciate the pain of wanting the fun to continue – even on a Tuesday night at 2am. After the third episode of the Fresh Beat Band, I let my mind wander, and as it often will, it wandered right into that dark place where I think about my age, where I feel my mortality. I wish I was better equipped to embrace the signs of aging. I wish I could look at sagging jaw lines and deepening crow’s feet and see the beauty of a life well-lived. But, I am a woman living in this society – one where youth and appearances are held in the highest regard. I am the product of generations of kind, intelligent women who worried about their waistlines, their wrinkles and their wardrobe. My grandmother, at 94 years old, still asks me what she can do about the lines on her face. It is hard to fight against the tide. Admittedly, I don’t try. I don’t know if spending time and money on your looks will make you happy. I am as superficial as the next girl but there are a few things I have learned about looks. After writing about anti-aging and costly procedures for a few days, I’d like to remind myself of the following, free, painless techniques:
1. Smiling will cost you nothing and instantly makes you more attractive. Try it even when you are having a bad day – you’ll feel better. Frowning makes you look like the grumpy old troll. For instance, it makes me so sad that most of my allusions stem from Noggin and Nick Jr. and yet, I can still smile. Happy and stupid has to be better than grouchy and stupid.
2. Confidence is better than make-up. Pull you shoulders back and stand up straight. I am a chronic sloucher and have to work on this constantly.
3. Be kind. Notice how people’s appearances change as you get to know them? That woman who you thought was so beautiful turns out to be less than nice and suddenly, even the flawless skin and perfect outfit can do little to hide the ugliness. The guy who didn’t get the second look, gets all the laughs and like magic, he becomes eye candy. What good is being attractive if no one wants to you around?
4. Look people in the eye. It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul. I am fairly certain that your soul does not age.
5. Live and let live. A sure way to invite others to scrutinize your appearance is to be judgmental of the way others look. I am not above an unkind word, but when I think about it, I know my criticisms about others stem from my own insecurities.
When, on the rare occasion, I find a dress that fits great, suits me and hides my post-baby beer belly, I receive the most compliments. This has little to do with the way I look and everything to do with the way I feel. Being comfortable in your clothes shows. The trick, and I know this is difficult, is to find a way to be that kind of comfortable in your skin. Oh, and drink a lot of water.