Fashion, Fitness, get healthy, Turning Fifty

On Turning 50

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I’ve had a year to prepare.  Actually, I guess I’ve had forty-nine years to prepare.  But who can ever be adequately equipped to reach the age society refers to with such doom and gloom?  I mean, the latest studies agree.  By age fifty, we should drop flip flops, ditch denim, toss tanks, swap shorts for capris, and chop our hair into an age-appropriate bob or pixie.  And the latest trend?  Don’t even get me started.  “Just allow your hair to go graaaaay,” they say.  “Gray is the new black,” they say.  And my favorite:  “Gray is sexy!”  Hmmmmmm.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, a gray pixie cut is sexy.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, capri pants may even have a snow ball’s chance at looking hot.  But can we agree that she’s been an exception to a whole slew of rules for many many years?  Say this with me out loud:  “I, (insert your name here), am not Jamie Lee Curtis … and no matter how much ACTIVA I ingest, I will never ever ever be Jamie Lee Curtis.”

(Deep breath)  I’ve actually had well-meaning women tell me that I need to cut my hair and throw out my denim shorts because I’m “getting too old”.  Please, for the love of all things good and true, can we at least agree to give denim a break?  Denim has been with us through thick and thin … literally.  And has stood the test of time as much as we have.  Maybe more than we have.  If I can say anything here today about fashion, it would be that we should ALL own some denim.  Until. We. Die.

I’m sorry, but the thought of all the false fashion notions that are prevalent on the internet brings on a mild panic attack with me.  Even right now, my heart is in a rush as I picture myself being yanked away, kicking and screaming, from the gorgeous diva who colors my hair.  Can anyone else relate?  As long as my hair is perfect, I can take hold of satan himself by his pointy ears and firmly place him behind me.  In the south, after all, hair is everything.  Gray is not the new black.  It’s just not!

Let’s be real.  When a person reaches fifty or sixty or seventy … or even eighty … the last thing we should be discussing is age appropriate fashion and/or hairstyles.  That person has lived five or more decades of life, which these days, is a feat.  And because of their years on the planet, they’ve earned the right to look however they want to look.  I may be waging war against capri pants and pixie cuts for myself, but for whoever chooses them, I’ll give 100% support (as long as the pixie cut, gray hair, AND capri pants aren’t paired together — a fifty year old female can only be stretched so far.)  My gripe is when the fashion police puts us into a middle-aged box of do’s and don’ts when what should truly matter is the sum of our experiences.

For instance.

At age fifty,  I’ve experienced two marriages and divorce … healthy relationships and abuse … having a successful career and being a stay at home mom … raising typical kiddos and raising kiddos who are differently abled.  I know what it’s like to have a close knit family, but I also know what it feels like when the family unit crumbles with estrangement.  I’m the very proud momma of two adopted kiddos, and can tell you that my love for those two is the exact same as it is for the three I birthed.

I’ve weighed too much and too little, and now have determined the scale doesn’t matter near as much as choosing good health.  Reveling in the highest of highs one moment, I’ve also walked through the deepest valleys of depression the next.  I’ve written books and songs, have earned my place in 5k races, attended law school for two years, and ran for state senate as a write-in candidate to bring light to a law that would have been unfavorable to the special needs community.

I’ve been fortunate to have formed associations with individuals who, just by their very existence, make me dare to believe there is a God.  At the same time, though, I still wrestle with the heavy weight of disbelief.   I’ve mourned the loss of loved ones.  I fear for the future of my children who have Down syndrome.  What if I die first?  And as the former owner of a non-profit that provided free clothing to teenage girls who are fighting through the ravages of poverty, the foster care system, and an addiction to self harm, I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that “those kids” are amazing young women who are striving for a better future.  They cling to hope, as do I, for a society that will choose the attitude of love, peace, and charity over selfishness, fighting, and suffering.

These are the things that matter.

I get it.  I’m fifty.

And in the eyes of much of society, that means I’m now over the hill.

Regardless, my fifty years of life has mattered.

And your life matters too.

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Happy Birthday to me!!!!

~Mel

 

 

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Soak Your Troubles Away — Self Care

I’m turning fifty in April (insert a big gulp) … and like many of my best girlfriends, I’m refusing to grow old gracefully.  I mean, us gals could sit back and let age take over.  But why would we want to go and do a crazy thing like that?

Yes, I work out regularly, I eat healthy, and I step on the scale every single day.  But even more important, I pamper myself.  And no matter what stage of life you are in right now, you should too.

As a mom with four kiddos living at home, two who have special needs, it’s vitally important for me to stay as healthy and strong as I can.  That fact clicked with me a long time ago.  However, until fairly recently, I didn’t get the pampering part of the equation. As a result, I’m catching up on lost time.

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To put it plainly, pampering is equal to air.  Without it, we suffocate.  I didn’t even know I was suffocating until I started making self care a part of my daily ritual.  Now, I’d never go back.  I think of it this way.  If we don’t fill ourselves with love first, making sure to fill our tanks to the brim, how are we going to have enough love to give out to others?  So … with that in mind, here’s a quick tip:

One of the ways I show myself love is to soak in a hot tub WITH bath bombs and a 1980’s love song playlist (thank you Spotify!).

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Bath bombs can be found at most big retail chains for a variety of prices, but my favorite (so far) is the 100% Natural Bath Bombs from Natural Spa Bath.  They are made in the USA with premium sourced essential oils and use no synthetic dyes or preservatives, which is all a big plus.  They turn my bath time into sanctuary time and can be found on Amazon by clicking here .   If you haven’t tried bath bombs yet, by the way, you haven’t lived.

What about when you don’t have time to soak?  Do you skip the bath?  No, no, no.  Say these four words with me:  “Never forgo the bath.”  Seriously.  When I only have ten or fifteen minutes for a bath, I make sure I still pamper myself by using a body scrub and a bath brush.  Because bath time is self love time and plain water will never do:

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My favorite body scrub is the Ginger & Cardamom Olive Oil Body Scrub by Bath and Body Works.  The scent, for some reason, makes me feel like I’m Cleopatra in Egypt, and at only $6.00, it is an inexpensive extravagance.  (Cleopatra, by the way, believed herself to be a living Goddess … I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that she pampered the heck out of herself.)   To follow up, since I’ve exfoliated with a scrub, I nourish my body with 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Shea Moisture .  Rich in Vitamin E, the Coconut Oil has natural anti-aging properties.  As a bonus, it is also very good for people who battle chronic dry skin, psoriasis and/or eczema.  If you combine these two products, I promise, your body will be as soft as a buttery biscuit.  (You know, the inside, when you pull back the outer layers and it’s like a yummy cloud.)

And after my bath, I always pull on something super plush:

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When you go to the trouble to get your body all soft and smooth, you can’t just throw on something scratchy.  And not to digress too much, but speaking of smooth, ladies, can we all just agree to shave or wax our legs regularly?  I get the whole movement toward “it’s our right and our bodies, so we don’t have to conform to society’s expectations” … but by shaving our legs, we are making our legs more beautiful.  It’s a fact.  Hairy legs are not pretty.  I know I don’t want to feel prickles of hair against my jeggings or my leggings, do you?  Lord, no!  It takes five minutes to shave your legs.  Just do it.  Anyhow, this comfy sweater is from one of my favorite stores, American Eagle .

So, to wrap up.  Pamper yourself and soak those darned troubles away.

~Mel