Beauty Fades, Awesome is Forever

On my last visit back to New York, I had a really great catch up dinner with a lifelong friend. I was getting out of her car after saying good night and heard her call out “You look like your mom!” I laughed and thanked her, knowing it was true. My mom is pretty awesome and I know that my friend meant it as a compliment…


My mom is in her seventies and now I’m in my forties and, for the first time in my life, I’m acutely aware that I’m aging and that my outer appearance might actually start to reflect this aging.

It starts with no longer being asked for ID and then men in their twenties start calling you “Ma’am”. People automatically assume you’re a Missus and not a Miss. Then you start to feel a bit invisible or disposable or not so important anymore. Maybe you don’t. Maybe I don’t really either, but I am aware that how I’m viewed has changed in the past few years, albeit subtly. I’m sad that this bothers me.

I wasn’t really ever the pretty one. I was the smart one or the funny one or the adventurous one. (And these are all good things!) But I never felt pretty. I don’t remember anyone really telling me I was pretty, least of all myself. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I tied an awful lot of my self-worth to whether or not my attractiveness could be confirmed by sources that mattered at the time. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that confirmation of my attractiveness seems to have mattered to me a fair amount.

It’s only in the past few years that I’ve loved myself enough to start to let that go and to revel in what I have, including my intelligence, my sense of humor, my personal style, and the opportunities I have to travel. I’ve also started to appreciate my physical attributes for what they are and try to practice being happy in my skin.

But that skin is changing…literally. A reminder that there are many phases and stops on this journey. Life is a process full of constant growth and change. It is also the beginning of the end from Day One and that’s a concept that I find strangely full of optimism.

Now I’m off to slather on some sunscreen, drink some water and hope for the best. I’m optimistic about that, too.

Comfortable Being Unconventional

I am comfortable being unconventional.

I’ve been using that as a mantra of sorts lately. Self reflection has taken me back in time and helped connect me to my present in some really fantastic ways. It’s led to a peace and acceptance that I’m reveling in.

I’ve always felt different, not like other people…like I move through the world in a way all my own. I’ve spent my life dancing to the music nobody likes. (Back in the day, when all my friends were into Madonna, I thought Neil Diamond was awesome.) I have never, ever felt “normal”. In part, this is because I’ve spent my life defining normal as being like every one else.

I recently read an interview in Darling magazine with musician Melissa Helser and a quote of hers stuck with me: “Give in to the significance of your normal.” Yes, MY normal. A normal just like me and just for me. The unique collection of thoughts, actions, qualities, and characteristics that make me, me. I was looking at normal the wrong way. Normal isn’t a broad definition. It’s not one size fits all. It’s individual and evolves, changes depending on where we are on our life path. We’re always normal. Every single one of us on this planet is normal. (Side note: normal does not equal morally upstanding or good.)

How much time and worry do we devote to living what we think normal should be? Over the course of a lifetime, how many days are spent comparing ourselves to someone else’s normal? How much significance do we give their normal while minimizing the importance of our own?

Maybe when we find ourselves unhappy, unsatisfied, unbalanced, it’s because we’re not letting our own normal hold its weight. Go ahead…take a deep breath…let go and give in. Make friends with your normal. Get to know it. Take it out for coffee or go for a hike. Feel how important it is for you to be your normal. Above all, delight in your normal. Find the joy in it. Let it make you smile.

Then take it one step further and let the world know how normal you are.