When I was a kid, growing up seemed like the best thing in the world. Adults, it seemed, could do as they liked. Growing up offered the freedom I craved to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with whom I wanted.
Today, a wise young young lady made me revisit my youthful self (as she often does), with a post on her blog. She wrote about a favourite pair of teeny tiny shorts. You can read the post here.
Reading her words made me chuckle, as I had experienced the same feelings when I tried to ditch a very small bikini in the months following the birth of my son. I acknowledged that, even though my body had returned to its former shape, the teeny bikini was a now a piece of my past. Yes, I acknowledged it, but I could not bring myself to toss that bikini into the bin. It finally went out after my daughter was born ten years later.
These days my biggest challenge with the whole ageing process is acknowledging the disconnect between the way I feel on the inside and the way I look on the outside.
I still feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 29. Looking in the mirror reminds me, however, that I am way past 29. Sometimes it comes as quite a surprise. I can be walking past a store, see a woman reflected in the glass of the windows and think “Who is that?” and it can be several moments before I realise, “Oh, it’s me”.
Where is the bright-eyed, lively, eager for life young woman that was the 29 year old me?
She is still there when I look closely. The eyes are still bright. I am still eager for life, although maybe just a shade less lively. I am just as creative and keen to learn. My brain is still as sharp as ever. I am still funny (I think so anyway) and I still dance in the supermarket aisles when good songs come over the in-store radio…and, yes, it still embarrasses my children when I do that if I happen to be shopping with them.
I still make an effort with my appearance. It annoys me that the clothes I like are often not appropriate for a lady of my vintage. It annoys me even more when I see young ladies, who should be wearing those lovely stylish things, dressing like bricklayers. I am disappointed with the range of clothing available for ladies ‘of a certain age’. It seems that, once you are no longer in the first flush of youth, you should dress in baggy, unflattering, garishly floral outfits until you die…and you should only wear trainers or flat shoes.
I do not want to wear loud florals.
I do not want to wear baggy pants or shapeless shirts.
I do not want to wear sleeveless tops.
I do want well cut clothes that take into account my changed shape. I do not want to have everything altered.
(Image saved from myownfashionblog.com)
As the years have marched on, so has my waist measurement. My hips have stayed the same size. So when I try to buy trousers I have a problem. If I find a pair that fits my hips, I can’t button them at the waist. If I find a pair to fit my waist, they are like parachutes around my hips and thighs. I do not want to wear Nanna Pants with elastic waistbands!! Please, designers, notice what the wonderful people at Not Your Daughters Jeans have done and reconsider the waist/hip ratio.
(Image from stylish wife.com)
When I look at myself in the mirror, I see the woman who has lived/is living a wonderful, eventful life. I see the woman who has made glaring mistakes and who has taken many years to forgive herself for those mistakes. I see the woman who has raised two terrific kids into two terrific adults. I see the woman who has, through a long teaching career, watched countless children grow into their potential. I see the woman who has achieved far more than she ever thought she would. I see my father’s eyes and my mother’s grin. I see the lines around my eyes caused by laughter and I know that the twenty-nine year me is still in there somewhere.
And so is the skinny little, red haired girl who was always asking questions and creating mischief.
Thank Goodness I remember them both.