It’s nearly February, I still haven’t made any resolutions and Dry January ended up soaking wet. I’m nearly halfway through my sixties, and I am pretty stuck in my ways. It’s the middle of winter … who needs the stress of making changes? As women we are barraged with advice about aging, diet, exercise, beauty and health and I already know what I should be doing. That doesn’t mean I want to do it all. Social media is an especially dangerous place with ads and celebs, influencers and filters. With each swipe and scroll, I don’t feel motivated, I just feel like a slacker.
I thought middle school was hard on my confidence – who knew it would be even trickier in middle age? There’s so much pressure to stay fit and look youthful. I’m putting up a good fight, but I’m not sure this is one worth winning. So in 2023, I am resolving to let go of these impossibly high standards, and be more accepting of myself. I’m not saying I’m giving up coloring my hair, skipping the gym, or ditching my pricy dermatologist. I just want to lower my own impossibly high standards that I should look as smooth and shiny as a red carpet celeb. To achieve this, I am tossing my TO DO LIST. Instead, I have made a DON’T list. Here are my recommendations of 10 THINGS NOT TO DO to feel more content and confident this year.
DO NOT do downward dog or any other yoga or Pilates position wearing anything other than full-length spandex exercise attire. I learned this lesson looking down while wearing a loose T-shirt and shorts, with my face inches from my belly, as it was pulled by the forces of gravity. I was traumatized seeing my stomach looking like a tufted ottoman and my knees like a Shar Pei. Namaste.
DO NOT judge your appearance based on how you look in a Zoom meeting or FaceTime call. It’s horrifying. DO NOT neglect using a filter unless you have hired a professional team of lighting, makeup and hair people. Otherwise you will spend the entire 45 minutes noticing how much you look like your grandmother, envisioning a virtual visit with the plastic surgeon…or a therapist.
DO NOT attempt to paint your own toenails. I’ve always done my own nails, and I can still twist myself into a pretzel to reach my little pinkie toes however it no longer saves any time or money when I end up in PT afterwards. Spend the $30 on a pedicure, or you’ll be spending $300 on a Theragun or massage.
DO NOT use a mirror with magnification greater than 2x. It’s helpful to apply eye liner or tweeze a rogue brow hair, but I’ve made the mistake of using a 10X mirror while wearing 3X reading glasses and I saw the reflection of an elderly Yeti. I’m certain that makeup mirrors were the masterminds of dermatologists in order to drum up business.
DO NOT try on clothes after a big lunch and definitely not after 5 PM. It will not be a “Happy” hour. When you bring home a shopping bag excited to try on your new outfit or get the urge to organize your closet…ignore the temptation. Leave it untouched till the next morning. Wait for good lighting, a skinny mirror, an empty stomach and fresh lipstick before you judge or do a fashion show for your partner or friend. As for bathing suits – do a spray tan, dim the lights, repeat self-affirmations, and immediately put on a cover up.
DO NOT wear painful shoes. There’s a French saying that translates to “One must suffer for beauty”. I’m not French…and I have my Grandmother’s arthritic toes. If you can’t make it to the mirror in the shoe store without grimacing, throw them back in the box and run. The salesperson who tells you they will “wear in” is a con artist. No one looks sexy while limping, and torturous shoes can ruin a night… and except for formal events, sneakers are in!
DO NOT skip dessert. When I restrict sweets I just crave them more. If you eat a healthy diet, a small piece of chocolate or a scoop (or two) of ice cream is worth the calories. It’s not worth getting in a funk over a few pounds up or down. I consider my daily sea salt chocolate caramel medicinal.
DO NOT say yes to something when you really want to say no. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to. I never regret helping a friend in need, or going to a special event, but forcing yourself to do things that cost too much, involve too much travel time, or makes you spend time with people you don’t care about isn’t worth the trouble.
DO NOT live for your children. Remember the days when you couldn’t wait for them to grow up and give you some peace and quiet? That time is now. Cherish your kids (and grandkids if you’re lucky), and spend as much time with them as they tolerate, but use your days to do things you love and make room to see friends so you won’t be crushed when your grown up kids want some space. They’ll appreciate you more if you’re not smothering them.
DO NOT give up your dreams even if that means defying some rules. It’s never too late to try something new. If we’ve learned anything these last couple of years, there are no guarantees. Take risks …hopefully the kind that won’t involve breaking a hip! Go on a bucket list trip to the Maldives. Wear something sexy. Move to another state. Learn to paint, or bake or fly a plane. Or even go gray (even though I think I’d rather jump out of that plane.) And don’t feel guilty if you just feel like sitting in a chair with a book, scrolling through TikTok or bingeing a show. Taking time for your self and not doing much of anything can feel like doing something very worthwhile. We’ve earned it.