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This is (almost) 50

On the near-eve of my 49th birthday, it is nearly impossible to escape The Big 5-0 looming ahead. I think I started telling people I was “almost 50” when I was 46. To which they’d often respond “but you don’t look 50”. That’s because I wasn’t. Then.

But with the year-long countdown about to begin I have been reflecting on turning almost-50. And not just the “do I want a party to celebrate” kind of reflecting. (The answer, for those wondering is: no, I do not.)

The other big question I imagine most of us hitting any kind of milestone birthday ask is: Am I where I thought I’d be?

Not exactly.

I was speaking to my mother, reminiscing about when she turned 50. I told her she seemed way ahead of where I’m at. To me it seemed like she was able to do pretty much whatever she wanted. Her children were older, she traveled a ton, her home was beautifully appointed and cared for meticulously, as was her cottage. For milestone birthdays she and her friends would make glamorous parties for each other – at home and away, involving costumes, themes, personalized T-shirts and surprise guests. My mom, at 50, was a free-wheeling, seemingly financially secure grown up. A real “adult” yet with a fun and youthful joie de vivre.

Me? Not so much.

I have 3 kids under 14. Our house lands somewhere on the scale between falling down and being torn up. I have several different freelance careers, and  I alternately love and/or loathe them all. My husband works his ass off day and night, coaches all 3 kids on and off the field/ice/pitch. Financial freedom is a dream we may never see realized. Leaving the house (sans children) – let alone the country – requires a shitload of organization and planning and is often not even possible. In fact, I still feel like a kid. A somewhat haggard and often exhausted kid.

I even have some of the same hang-ups from my youth including, sadly, “does my ass look fat?” And, ridiculously, “does he still like me?” You’d think I would move on from these teenage girl concerns. But you’d be wrong. On the flip side, and yes, there is a flip side burning bright,  I also have the knowledge and confidence that being older brings. Beauty absolutely fades and is a commodity I didn’t realize I used to have in spades. Now it’s more about looking good…. considering…. The insecurity within my own relationship? Now we make jokes about it – and blame my father. I can wear the same things day after day and have (almost) no qualms about walking out of the house “looking like that”. I’m not afraid to start up – and finish – a conversation. Or to speak my mind. Best of all I’m not overly concerned with judgements and opinions. Most of the time. I  know that I’m a damn good wife/mother/daughter/friend.   At this stage, the only one I tend to disappoint most is myself. Even my imposter-syndrome is only visible to those who know me very well. Fake it ’til you make it, Baby!

And yet, talking to my mom and telling her she really seemed to have it together, her one comment was that I was exactly where I should be. That I was the one who has it together with my 3 fabulous kids and a healthy marriage. She, on the other hand, had been divorced.

I couldn’t believe it. On paper, she had it all. And the only thing she could mention was that she was divorced? This from a woman who has been together with her husband for nearly 40 years (35 married) and still going strong. To me that’s an amazingly successful marriage. An accomplishment. But in her eyes, despite emerging from a broken marriage stronger, wiser and a mom of two, she still felt “less than” sixteen years later at age 50. If only we could see the positive things about ourselves through the eyes of others… I would argue that one of the best things that could’ve happened to my brother and I was being raised by a mother who was in a happy and healthy relationship.

50 and 23 in 1991.

So now, a month shy of 49, the question really is not “am I where I thought I would be” but, rather, “am I where I want to be?”

In so many ways, I think I am. I’m lucky enough to remember the dreams I had, acknowledge the ones I’ve lost, and be open to discovering new ones. Some dreams may stay dreams and that’s OK. Most of the time.  I am well aware that age is just a number, and all the other clichés that come with long days and short years. But with each birthday it becomes impossible not to reflect on the dreams that change along with the bodies – and the eyesight. New dreams emerge with the wrinkles, the readers, the grey hairs. The important thing is to be willing – and very able –  to deal with it all. Having an incredible cohort to join your journey (and a fabulous colorist) doesn’t hurt either.

Too much? Too personal? Too bad. I’m (almost) 50.

 

 

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April 27, 2017   2 Comments

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The Eyes Have It

Jeepers creepers….where’d you get those peepers?

‘Tis the question…..

When I was a little kid I had showstoppers. Crazy eyes. Big, blue and beautiful. As I grew older, they got greener. Still my best feature – or so I thought. Yet, with each blue-eyed baby I birthed I’d hear it over and over: where did they get those eyes? I’d open up big and doe-like and pretend I didn’t understand the question. Because I kinda didn’t. Hellooo?!? Green eyed lady, ocean lady???

How could this be??? Bodies come and go and stretch and shrink….but eyes? The windows to the soul? I owned eyes. They were my parts. The ones. IT.

Or were they?

Apparently, it was time for maaaaaaake-up. I’d never worn make-up. Looked like a tranny – or a granny. Specifically, my friend G’s granny who was known for her baby blue… eyelids. That said, they kinda worked for her. For me? Erm….no.

I’m just not a make-up person. Products? Yes. Potions, lotions, tonics and tinctures? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But now that tans are verboten, the wrinkles are creepin’ in, and my eyes have apparently turned to mud, I knew the time had come.

First stop was the eyelash lady for extensions.

Two hours and $200 later I looked like Carol Channing. Crazy, right? But they were a gift. One that kept on giving because they all fell off after 4 days. Correction: they all fell off of ONE EYE after four days. Hello Clockwork Orange!!

Luckily, I have a couple of make-up artists as pals and they, together with the lovely and talented Katie at Laura Mercier, sent me in the right direction…I soon found salvation in a handful of tubes, bottles and palettes. And if I, who hail from the Crayola School of Makeup, can apply, so my friends, can you. Here goes:

Step One: Primer. Laura Mercier Primer.

I still don’t know what this is or how it works. All’s I DO know is that a little shmear of this topped with a couple o’dots of Origins “Sunny Disposition” and you’ve got a mini face lift. Whether you thought you needed one or not. Looks awesome. Smooth, glowing skin.

Step Two: Concealer. Nars Concealer.

As I said, Crayola School of Macquillage. Which is why this concealer, in a little lipstick tube, works every time. No fuss, no muss, no f&ck ups. Whether you’re over-forty or just over-tired, there’s really no excuse for not using this. Even on the weekends.

Step Three: Invisible Eyeliner. Laura Mercier Again.

This stuff is the coolest. Looks like a small pot of dried up paint. Add a few drops of water, swirl with your handy eyeliner brush and apply UNDER the upper lid. Sounds weird. Looks great. This is where the magic happens, ladies and Lamberts. Once you get the hang of it, this stuff doesn’t come off – ever. But in a good way.

Step Four: Mascara. Any kind, any time.

Of course you can keep on keeping on. Blush, lids, liners, and lips. But I can’t. The tranny thing. Plus, after so many years of living au naturel I was loath to commit to a daily regimen. And I’d hate to go to bed as one woman and wake up as another… Trippy and kinky as that may sound, the only thing less appealing than morning breath is morning face.

Laura Mercier Primer: $40
Nars Concealer: $22
“Invisible” Eyeliner and brush: $50

Looking like a million bucks having only spent $122 plus tax: Priceless.

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

Donna Mills

2:09 PM

laviandbelle said…

Good tips!! Lord knows I can use all the help I can get these days….

2:40 PM

Anonymous said…

The eyes do have it. As your sister in non-makeup I have to say, makeup really makes a difference, who knew ?

4:24 PM

Anonymous said…

American Idol, please.

January 28, 2010   No Comments

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Beauty is in The Eye of The Beholder

A few weeks ago, my eldest son looked up at me and told me I was ugly.

Suddenly I flashed back 30 years, when I met my father’s then-girlfriend for the first time. I came home and told my mom all about her, stressing that while the girlfriend was much prettier, my mom was much nicer. As if that were a god thing! How could I have been so dense? And so blind? As it was, this chick wasn’t nearly as attractive as my mom. And I’m not just saying that in hindsight. (Or because she’s my mom. And there’s a family resemblance.) No, I’m saying it now because it’s true. The girlfriend’s long gone now, but memories of her tiny mouse-like face and curling-ironed hair still remain…

As does the fact that my 5-and-a-half year old thinks I’m ugly. UGLY!!!!!! I may not be a supermodel but I’ve been known to turn a head or two. And with 3 babes and 40 years under my belt I may not be at my peak but I can say with certainty that I am not, I repeat, NOT ugly.

Or at least I wasn’t…..

Maybe this is some kind of intergenerational, cosmic payback. According to my eldest, I’m a hag. What the f&ck?!?!?!?! Aren’t your children supposed to see you as the epitome of all that is good and beautiful in the whole wide world? When my second son socked him for insulting me (yeah, he does that), my bigger boy explained through his tears that I looked ugly because my skin looked a little bit green. Green!

Now I know I’m coming out of a pasty-faced winter, but I tend to be more peaches and cream…OK, white… rather than green. Hence the sunburns. If I were green…olive… I’d bronze like a goddess. Or my husband. But no, according to my five and a half year old, I was green. Ish. That said, he did watch the Wizard of Oz recently….

Coincidence?

Perhaps. Or not. Maybe I am green. Maybe I do look the wicked witch of the west. Or maybe I’m just, gulp, getting old?

There’s been a lot of talk about aging lately. “Lately” meaning I’m the one talking about it with my people. Is that what happens when you enter your 40’s? Suddenly, I find myself checking out the surgercized chicks with more wonder than cynicism. I’ve been contemplating growing out my bangs but think that maybe now’s the time to keep ’em. That or botox. I’ve become invisible at the cheap ‘n trendy shops, yet a star in the pricey ones. All these older women keep checking me out. Or are they older at all?!? I notice that I don’t often spot people my own age in the streets and on the town….because maybe, just maybe, all those oldsters ARE my own age?

YIKES!

But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

Right?!

Luckily for me, my second son thinks I am all that. He likes my toes – painted or plain. Doesn’t mind me in glasses, and likes pony tails. And when I wear red. Which I never ever do, but that’s what he says. I’m thinking it’s ‘cuz Elmo is red, but I’ll take it. Anyhoo, he tells me I’m beautiful. Daily. And that he’s going to marry me when he grows up. OK, so maybe he’s the kinky one, but still. They all seem to know what they like. Or like what they know. Whatever. My biggest boy cried when I got my hair cut (“you don’t look like my mommy anymore!”) My middle one likes jewellery. The more the better. Even my 9-month baby seems to have a fetish for high heels. Literally. He sits in my cupboard and sucks on them. So the particulars and preferences obviously start young. And they tell it like it is.

Which can be a god thing too…Because I got all spiffed to go out the other night and both of my big boys looked at me like I was a movie star. They actually gasped. Told me I looked nice. Reeeeeally nice. A princess-y dress would be better, but in bad-guy, Darth Vader black, I was beautiful. It made my night. Even coming from the under-6 crowd, hearing you look good never gets old.

Unlike the rest of me….

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

The boys told me the other day I looked like a boy. I said, why because my hair is short and I don’t wear dresses? They said yah! Then we talked about all the girlsthey like – and well, none of them wore dresses or were girlie girls. I guess that’s something, but ihit me wear it hurts. I have always secretly thought I looked like a boy!!!

7:19 PM

Anonymous said…

time does wonders for the mind…
fantasticasalways

April 18, 2008   No Comments

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