I’m not a big shopper, but I do like nice things and once and a while I treat myself to a pretty bag or a pair of designer sunglasses. I don’t like paying full price, so I shop sales and I get alerts from some great off-price websites. My favorite is RueLaLa. If you don’t know about RueLaLa, let me know and I will fill you in, but the short version is I will find beautiful, designer items at their two day boutiques that I can actually afford. (Two kids in college, need I say more) I love when Rue has a Vera Bradley boutique, or when Kate Spade comes up for sale and I’ve gotten my daughters some beautiful clothes.
However, today was an eye opener for me and a wake-up call that I was indeed getting older. Rue has an expensive skin care line in one of their boutiques today. You know, creams and lotions and cleansers. Anti-aging products and make-up designed to fix our flaws. It was all there. It was pricey stuff and I could get items at good prices. And I got excited. Really excited.
I got excited over moisturizer. Oh. My. God.
So the question is: why? Why am I excited at the prospect of getting some expensive remedy for my crow’s feet? And the answer is simple: I’m fighting the aging process with everything I have. I have no problem with getting older as long as I don’t look older. I sincerely doubt I’d have actual surgery, that’s just me, but I'm not above using other methods to keep my skin looking young.
What else am I doing? I’m going out in a little while to join a gym. I want to lose some weight and feel fit. I’m healthy and I want to stay that way. And if any of you actually believed all that, I have a bridge to sell. You want to know my biggest motivator? My 30th high school reunion is coming up this summer and while I have no delusions that I will be slipping into a single digit dress size any time soon, I would like to look better before I face these people. I’m vain. That’s it. The fitness and the health are nice side benefits, but I don’t want to be embarrassed. And the thing is, I don’t know why I care. I haven’t seen most of these people in thirty years. I have a long list of accomplishments, both personal and professional and that should tell people who I am. But yet I worry and I think so much of it is tied to the insecurity I felt when I was in high school. I wasn’t bold, I wasn’t brave and I worried all the time about what people thought.
We've forgetten how we felt when we were seventeen, but I have a feeling those memories are rushing back for a lot of people right now. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. If it gets me to exercise, I know I will feel better. I’ll be able to climb the hills where my daughter goes to college and not feel winded. My surgically repaired knee won’t give me trouble and guess what—I won’t just have to limit my purchases to bags and sunglasses and skin creams on my favorite sale sites. Maybe I could buy a dress, or a pretty sweater or a belt. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
It’s possible I could change how I look and still worry. Wrinkles, dress sizes? It might not matter. I might still be an insecure mess where high school is concerned. But for now, I'll let the insecurity motivate me. It’s not hurting anyone and in the long run it will help me.
What did I buy today? Make-up. It made me happy and it made me realize that some of the things we experience when we're young never go away. They go dormant and sneak up on us when we least expect it. I will never look seventeen again. I will never look like my yearbook picture, but then again neither will anyone else.
Maybe this all means that I'm still a work in progress. I'm not done growing or changing. So it's possible the insecurity I'm feeling is a good thing if it pushes me to better myself and deal with some of the demons. There are times in our lives that we have these personal epiphanies. Something triggers self-awareness. The birth of a child, the death of someone important or facing your past can bring on a sense of understanding about who you are and who you want to be.
For the most part, I'm happy with the person I am. I have a wonderful husband, great kids, good friends and I do good work that I care about. Not a bad lot in life, even with some extra pounds and wrinkles. The challenge now is to embrace how I got here and accept the fact that I still have a way to go. Don't we all?
I'm still joining the gym.