January is my birthday month and last month I turned 44.
Frankly, I think that 44 is a lucky number...double 4s, a "hard 8" for those of you like to gamble. I've always won money when I played a hard 8 so I look at all of that as very positive. After all, 44 is still really young!
But this birthday, when I looked in the mirror, I realized I was one of those women whose friends should write to a makeover show and say "Please, take her...". I say that only because I've gotten a bit stuck...a bit "behind the times"...and it surprised me a little bit.
My hair has no special cut and I'm forever putting it into a ponytail before it even dries. I spend less than 10 minutes getting ready in the morning. Since I stopped working a few years ago, I've found myself spending most of my days in my workout clothes -- dress to walk or run and then just stay in those clothes all day long. I've also been plagued with adult acne in my forties which is a big pain since it covers not just my face but my arms, chest and back. So sleeveless tops or anything which reveals any skin makes me self-conscious. Even though it's a bother, I'd much rather have acne now than when I was a teenager. Don't worry, I'm really not a "Woe is Me" character and I tell you all this as background for my January Bead Journal piece.
All that being said, this birthday I felt, for the first time ever, like my days of looking Heidi Klum-esque were numbered. Now, don't get me wrong, I've never been one to like it when women be-moan their birthdays and complain about getting older. I have always viewed aging as a badge of honor to be embraced and worn proudly.
But, back in my head somewhere, I always felt like I had time... I had time to lose those extra pounds, to find the right shades of makup and buy JUST THE RIGHT DRESS...and I could still be a knockout. I mean, it's possible that I could still pull it off. I hadn't yet crossed it off my beautiful long list of possiblities...I mean, I would have LOVED to be Halle Berry the night she won the Oscar and she wore that beautiful dress so beautifully and looked so beautiful in it. Wow. It's just a fabulous site to behold when it all comes together like that.
I've always loved fashion and the red carpet and clothes but I've rarely indulged in them myself. It's not that I didn't want to...I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. But now I'm thinking that, even though I may still get a chance to wear that Red-Carpet dress, my days of having it look like a stunner are severely limited, if not gone. I've passed into the "She looks good for her age." or "She doesn't look so good for her age." And given my past love affair with the sun and no sunscreen, you can guess my fate...
I really am very happy in this place but I think it's fair to mourn a dream for yourself that you know won't come true. So, there you have it. My January BJP is an homage to the dream of the beautiful dress that every woman would love to wear and very few get to.
The irony is that back in the day when I really could have worn a beautiful dress...I wouldn't have chosen to wear one if my life depended on it. I was a tom boy; I was athletic; and, I thought dresses and skirts were impractical.
Now that I'm older, I find that I am smitten with the elegance, the beauty and the grace of The Dress. Movies with great dresses have a new allure; Project Runway is my favorite show and I'll watch re-run after re-run. And, it's true, I'm ashamed to admit it but People Magazine's Best and Worst Dressed issue is one I actually pay money for now...
What happened? Why now?
I can't answer that for you but I can tell you this. I'm not throwing in the towel. This year, I will give myself my own makeover. I will cut my hair in a modern style and I will find a dress that looks beautiful on me and I will wear it down the stairs of my home and my husband will turn to look over his shoulder, get a glimpse of me, and think I'm stunning.
See, I'm blessed to have married a man who already sees me in the dress. And I know that it's not the fabric and the style that he sees when he looks at me -- and I am so very grateful for that.
I know that what makes someone irresistible as they age is not how they look but how they act. Life coach Martha Beck says that, in all the small choices you make every day, choose the ones that make you feel warmer and more alive.
If I choose love, kindness and generosity... If I smile and meet my fellow man with true joy...If I give of myself without reservation...If I choose light over dark...then I know, I will be radiant. I will be dressed to the nines and it won't matter a lick what I'm wearing. Can you imagine the reporter: "And who are you wearing this evening, Susan?" And I would reply, "I'm wearing Radiance." And the the whole world would want to wear it too and the world would be a better place...
OK, sorry, I'm awake now. And, here you have it...
Radiance will be my new birthday dress and I will do my best to wear it well.
Thursday, February 5, 2009