The Beauty of Aging.

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This week I went to the dermatologist for my annual skin cancer check (you all should as well) and when the doctor walked in she asked how I was feeling about my skin these days. “Older” I said, with a nervous laugh.

“Well, you are an excellent candidate for filler!  Slim women lose fat in their face first and it really would help contribute to a more youthful look.”

Well, shit.

I’ll admit that the wind was knocked out of my sails a little. I guess at 35, and with a history of rampant sun-bathing (again, skin cancer checks, people), I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear that little tidbit of advice.  When I look in the mirror in the morning I see the lines around my mouth getting deeper and the angry crease that has appeared between my eyebrows,  little scars courtesy of Father Time and my penchant for animated facial expressions. But should I be feeling “old”? Especially at 35? (I can hear my mom chiming in now- “Just wait until your 60, sweetie!”)

Small Town Charm

Andrew and I rang in 2015 quietly, just us and the dogs, at my parents beach house on the CT shore.  After a busy, crazy year it was exactly what I wanted for my last night of 2014.  On New Years Day we had no plans so I suggested we go walk around the nearby town of Essex, CT.  I hadn’t been there in probably a decade or more and I recalled my parents saying it was a lovely little town.

Man, were they right! As soon as we pulled down Main Street I was ready to jump out of the car, itching to take pictures.  The incredible old homes simply blew my mind, and since it was holiday time, the whole town was decorated perfectly- no inflatables or plastic- just lovely greenery, bows and lights.  Andrew said this town made him feel like skipping. I agreed!  I grew up driving around with my dad looking at houses in pretty towns (or “real estalking” as we call it now) and as an adult I find that I now do just that for fun too! So we did!

This little situation nearly had me in tears it’s so good. Those windows??
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Leaning Back…

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As I write this I am prepping to leave for a meeting in New York in the morning and coming off a long weekend trip to Texas to attend a conference, which capped off a week of lots of work, appointments, meetings, blogging and truly exhausting personal obligations. Oh yeah, and that whole “book” thing. I am bone tired; weary to the point of collapse and yet there is an voice in my head saying “You are not doing enough. Try harder.” Have you ever heard that voice? I bet you have.

As women I think we have it pretty tough.  I think we are fierce competitors, more-so then men in many ways, and we are easily and often overlooking our health in order to maintain crazy schedules, our families, friendships and bodies.  I feel there is this obtuse goal of becoming the impossibly perfect woman who has a demanding full time job, is a wonderfully engaged mother and wife, amazing cook (gluten/sugar/dairy free of course), attends five spin/barre/yoga/pilates classes a week, sleeps 8 hours, voluteers for the greater good  and is dressed to the nines and, while doing so, is perfectly relaxed. Namaste.

But no one can do all that (with out a team of full time personal assistants and nannies, at least).  In this Lean In era though, the pressure to do more and be more is everywhere.   I don’t even take time to draw in full breaths never mind meditate.  It’s not a sustainable pace of life and I am starting to feel like as a gender, we need to both lean in as well as know when to “lean back”.  I came across this article from the Washington Post about just this- the working woman (that includes you stay at home Moms) and her inability to stop and take in life’s true joys because we’re trying to do too much.  This quote in particular sums it up quite perfectly:

Americans work around the clock to be a success, wearing exhaustion like a badge of honor. In the process, they miss a lot of important stuff. Success is less about money and more about valuing wisdom and wonder, giving to others and well-being.

I’ve totally felt like there are other bloggers, writers and designers out there working until 1 a.m. and felt guilty when I turn in at 9:30 for bed.  I’ve berated myself for not more fiercely going after new, bigger business when I already have a wait list.  Just as I’m sure there are others who feel the need to stay in the office until 9pm and still get up for a 6 am run instead of sleeping in an extra hour, or moms who feel they need to produce some incredible Pinterest-sourced kids activities when really all they need is to put them in front of a Disney movie for a little and sit down with a magazine. There is this guilt associated with taking a break, this feeling that others aren’t and so you shouldn’t either. But in reality what we need to do is feel proud of what we’ve accomplished, keep working hard (of course) but also balance that work with more healthy behavior.  For example, I’ve stopped doing yoga in favor of working more.  I’m not taking that time to get myself off the grid anymore and it’s showing now. I feel out of shape,  sluggish and so much more stressed.  And while I know that my career and life are very blessed, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel broken from the pressure and pace sometimes.

So I’m asking you if you have felt this pressure and what you’ve done to try to get off the hamster wheel?  For those working busy jobs, how do you give yourself permission to check out? And of course when you’re a Mom there are no breaks until the kids are asleep or the babysitter shows up (this video perfectly explains that), but perhaps there’s a technique you’ve developed that helps you relax a little?  I’d love to hear what YOU do to give yourself a break and enjoy your life’s little details more and turn this comments section into a little tip list for all those reading.  Or perhaps a forum to vent, because sometimes a nice little venting session is the best gift you can give yourself. :)

 

2013 // 2014

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(calendar via Note to Self)

2013 was an incredible year for me. Not only did I produce and write a book ( a f@#king book, you guys! A real one!) I also saw my little company grow by leaps and bounds, bought and renovated a house of my very own and got to meet Oprah and shake her hand. OPRAH.  It was a year of milestones. One for the books, if you will.  But I have found that the more success I achieve, the harder I am on myself to do MORE. Reaching goals once thought unattainable fuel the fire of my imagination and confidence, leaving me overwhelmed with ideas about what else I might be able to do if I work hard enough.  Because it’s all possible with hard work and a little luck. ALL OF IT.  Andrew is probably rolling his eyes at this rarely heard positivity from me, but it’s true. I never in a million years thought any of the above was possible. And look what happened.  So I have some goals for 2014 that are a little less on the “bucket list” side and a more on the “tweaking my life to make it more enjoyable” side.

1. A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO THIS BLOG

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I’ve been committed for sure, taking a few days off for the holidays nearly killed me with anxiety and guilt. But I want to bring fresher, exciting , unique content to this site in 2014.  It’s given me everything I have (business-wise) so I want to respect that and never phone it in.  But one person can only do so much- I toy with bringing on a person or two to post also…. what are your thoughts on that?  What else might you want to see?

2. SPEND MORE TIME OUTSIDE

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I love being outside, but I don’t try hard enough to spend quality, active time outside. Sitting on the patio drinking wine does not make me “outdoorsy”. I want to hike more. Investigate this amazing part of the country I live in.  And other parts too- I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon for example! I want to go! I want to ride horses in Montana on a dude ranch!  I want to see New Orleans! Ok, maybe I’ll start with a simple hike….

3. GET BACK INTO YOGA (AND FINALLY START TAKING BARRE CLASSES!)

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I used to be a die hard yogi. As I got busier I let my commitment slip. I have taken to half-assed treadmill and weight workouts at the gym instead.  But I never feel better then when I get to a couple yoga classes a week and really wring all my tension out.  I need to get back into that (especially since Andrew got me that coveted yoga mat for Xmas!)  I also want to start taking barre classes, I have a great studio LITERALLY two blocks from my house and a 10 pack of classes waiting for me. JUST GO ERIN! I fear people will laugh me out of the studio, and I need to get over that. I’ll just be all “Go ahead and laugh at my tuck, I’ve met Oprah”.

4. BE MORE CREATIVE FOR CREATIVITY’S SAKE

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I love to paint. I’ve painted a few things for my own home that people have asked to buy. I want to make time to paint more. It’s so relaxing (unless I’m hating how it’s coming out and then it’s all curse words and ferocious brush swatting). I want to take my time and work on things slowly. And maybe sell them. But mostly do it for myself. I did get a bachelors degree in it, after all.

5. SPEND MORE TIME BY THE OCEAN

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This one should be easy-peasy with the new beach house my parents built this year!  But beyond that, I happen to live on the coast of an awesome part of America. I want to drive up to Maine and walk the beach, or just to Rockport and have lunch on the water. It’s rejuvenating and healing and I can think of no place I am happier than by the water. Ok, maybe cuddling in Ryan Goslings arms as we watch The Notebook. Just kidding honey. (Not really).

6. NURTURE MYSELF MORE

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When your super, duper busy as I was this year taking care of yourself seems to fall by the wayside. I’ve been drinking too much wine. And not eating the best food I can (I was introduced to the McDonald’s Snack Wrap this year and HOT DAMN.) I can feel knots in my shoulders and my skin looks sallow. No matter how busy 2014 is I want to take better care of myself. Cook better food, take the time to pamper myself a little, and drink less wine ( but French women drinks lots of wine and they look good so do I really have to?)

7. GO TO ITALY WITH ANDREW

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We’ve been talking about this for months, and I want to just BOOK a trip to Italy with Andrew for the spring. We deserve it. He is so awesome to travel with (me- not so much- I pretty much turn into Linda Blair if faced with a plane delay). I have amassed a ton of Amex points and we just need to DO IT.  The last time I was in Italy I was 16 with my all girls boarding school peers and it was the most magical trip ever- I can’t imagine how fabulous it would be now! The question is- Rome and Florence? Florance and Tuscany? Rome and Poisitano?

8. INVEST MORE IN MY BUSINESS

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(print via The Eveverygirl)

I may talk the talk, but I’m not walking the walk as fully as I could be. I’m financially really conservative most of the time and spending money scares me.  But I need to BELIEVE in what I’m doing and INVEST in it. This year might be tough as I also plan on investing in my house and starting that addition renovation we so desperately need (one full bathroom is not working), but I can do more for my business and NEED to.  Investing in myself and my business is a vote of confidence in myself I need to cast.

Thank you all for such an amazing year, all your support, comments, letters and hellos when we cross paths out in the world. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Getting Older is Not For Wimps.

The other day I was at the mall looking for something smashing to wear to a VERY cool, amazing event I’m going to this weekend (of course I found nothing, NOTHING!) and I caught myself saying the following things:

1) “Why is the music so damn loud in here???”

2) “What, is this dress cut for toddlers??”

3) “This needs to be looser”

It used to be the case that these are the phrases that I would only hear when out shopping with my mother– from my mother.  But now all of the sudden I am saying them!

THEN  I was backing out of my driveway the other day and almost ran over an entire family when I caught the sight of, like, 30 new grey hairs sprouting out of my head. Evil, wiggly things! GAH!

And finally I went to the doctor and was smacked upside the head by the knowledge that I am 1/2″ shorter than I thought (am I shrinking??) and 8 pounds heavier!  Could my metabolism be shutting down at 33??? No more mindless hummus and chips???

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No, seriously, what is happening?  I feel like the aging process went from 0 to 60 in a matter of 6 months and now all I want for my impending birthday is to have a bunch of lasers pointed at my face to help erase all these ridiculous sun spots that are multiplying like friggin’ rabbits despite the SPF 2,500 I wear now.  I am pretty sure my mom warned me about this when I was a 16 year old lifeguard slathering on OIL and baking in the sun 8 hours a day. Why didn’t I listen????

It’s so strange to watch yourself change in this way, and I know this is child’s play compared to what’s to come, but you also couldn’t PAY me to be 21 again.  No thank you. I was one of those weird people who did not like college and felt kind of lost and tortured in my early 20’s.  Although I still feel unsure of a lot of things, time and life has given me a more solid ground to stand on and understanding of myself.  I can only assume (and hope) that that only grows with age along with a greater acceptance of one’s self.  Like Sally O’Malley. She’s my role model.

This whole recognition of getting older thing just means it’s time to be more diligent about taking care of myself and knowing that confidence and happiness is the best beauty treatment there is (#besideslasers). Because no cream is gonna do it. And fighting it tooth and nail is like trying to staple jello to the ceiling. Pointless. I’m a little less scared of cutting my hair for fear that men only like long hair (I got a man and he better like my hair whichever way) and a little MORE scared of everyone’s health and making sure I do something important and real in this life. It’s a re-balancing of concerns and desires, I suppose.

How about all of you??? Anyone else feeling like they have entered a long term relationship with Father Time?