Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Take it Off!

Don't be alarmed or afraid to scroll down the page. There will be no "Magic Mike" type of taking it all off here. Heck, I haven't even tried on a bathing suit for over a year, and if I did there certainly wouldn't be any publicly-displayed pictures or description. Lol

But aging and appearance have been on my mind lately. I moved "back home" in early March and have had occasion to run into people I graduated with. Some of these folks have gotten old! lol  Others look better -- healthier and more radiant -- than they did in high school (and a stroll down Memory Lane via the color photos in my senior-year yearbook confirms that).

I'm no beauty and never have been; on the other hand, small children do not take one look and run shrieking to hid behind the safety of their mother's skirts, nor do the neighborhood dogs take one look at me, shrink back, and begin howling piteously. I've always been average, I think.

Of course, time has taken its inevitable toll. I also am firmly convinced that the the past almost-six years have done their part. Grieving the loss of my husband, 4 moves (from house to apartment to house to loft to house again), the stress of a new and quite stressful job, etc., have marked me, as have changes to my physical routine. I used to eat regularly and enjoy a fairly-decent diet (as in eating, not as in weight-loss) and active lifestyle. That changed significantly when my husband was diagnosed and even more so after his death. There were many days I barely had the energy to get out of bed, much less go on a walk or to the gym, and I won't admit how many nights my dinner has consisted of a large bowl of popcorn adorned with plenty of salt and melted butter. Comfort food, easy-to-prepare food has been my staple.

I look in the mirror now, and I see a tired, gray, dull woman looking back at me. And I don't like it.

I've already made some changes. I've been going to the gym every other day for 3 weeks now, and I'm convinced that my arms will eventually be without the batwings that having frozen shoulder for a year & not being able to work out resulted in. I'm also eating better -- most days -- and forcing myself to drink 64 oz of fluid, primarily water, every day.

After chatting with a few ladies who are my age and who look radiant, I've also decided to make two other pretty significant changes.

First, no more highlighting my hair. My hair has been color-enhanced for 30+ years now, since my once-blonde hair began it's shift to light brown somewhere around my senior year in high school. I don't like the expense or the upkeep that goes with highlighting, but I also don't like the mousy-brown color my hair has become as I've aged. I actually went color-free two years ago, and the color was so blah that I couldn't stand it. Now, though, I have some gray sprinkling here and there, and I really like how silver/gray hair looks on other women, so I'm going to try the no-color look again and see what I think.

I've found a wonderful, wonderful facebook group of women who embrace their own silver/gray hair, and I've enjoyed reading the posts from women who either stopped coloring years ago and love their natural color or who are currently transitioning from color to gray/silver. If you're interested and are a facebook member, check out the "GGG Going Gray Guide" group.

I'm also changing my make-up routine. In all fairness to you, I must confess that my haphazard (at best) make-up routine would be no doubt be considered a horrible disgrace by anyone in the cosmetic industry and even by anyone self-respecting make-up user. From the moment I was allowed to use makeup (entrance to junior high), I've only worn make-up to school/work, church, and out with friends. Also, I was not blessed with the "make-up gene" so my application methods were self-taught and not anything to emulate. Foundation applied with either my fingers or a sponge or a brush (depending on what phase I was in), blush, and for a night on the town, eye shadow, did me well for several decades. I recently found a lipstick/balm combo I absolutely love and wear both fairly frequently. That's it!

A year or so ago, I noticed that my skin looked dull and blah (how many times have I used those words today?) and tired, so I stepped up my skin-care routine from "when I remember it" to every day, hoping that (and drinking more fluids) would do the trick. I saw minimal change. Recently, though, I went out to eat with a former classmate whose skin looked radiant and fresh without looking overdone. While we were eating, our discussion turned to aging and change and lifestyle, and she mentioned that she had pretty much stopped using make-up. Thinking she was just one of those women who really knew how to apply cosmetic artfully, I was shocked and intrigued.

She told me she'd read numerous articles from reliable sources about how traditional make-up causes most more mature women to look even older, and I knew I'd read the same type of information. Then she explained that she had switched to a product line with only 3 products -- a moisturizer stick, a color stick, and an enhancer/glow stick, and that she also sometimes puts on a touch of mascara. I was intrigued, checked out the company website, and will be ordering the 3 products when my no-spending freeze ends on July 1. By the way, the products are very reasonably priced!!

Once I've received them and tried them out, I'll share a bit more about them.

Until then, I've put away my my make-up except for tinted moisturizer, mascara, and my newly-found and much-loved lipstick/balm. And I'm committed to using my skin-care products -- cleanse, tone, moisturize -- as advised.

I'm excited about shedding the hair color and the layers of cosmetics that, admittedly, I wore haphazardly at best. I'm invigorated by the elimination of stuff in this area of my life, and I'm ready to embrace who I am naturally.

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