When I set up my goals for this year, I stated that I was going to work on my photography. And as of 1/19, I hadn’t picked up my camera…..
So I played around a bit last night…..
When I set up my goals for this year, I stated that I was going to work on my photography. And as of 1/19, I hadn’t picked up my camera…..
So I played around a bit last night…..
My daughter wants to apply to “Highly Selective” colleges. For my purposes, I will define those as schools that accept less than 20% of the applicants that apply. They are four year universities that have instant name recognition, and can be found on lists of top schools in America. They are schools that some will be impressed when they hear that you attended, while others will think you are pretentious. Getting accepted at one of these colleges is my daughters goal.
Now to get into these schools, you need, at minimum, the following:
My kid is not a great standardized test taker. Now- this point could be debated. 97% of the kids in the country would like to have her PSAT score. I didn’t score that high on my SAT, back in the day (though we can’t compare- I was a lousy student). But it’s a brave new world now. A world where it’s 1500 + or bust.
So what do kids do now, to get those 1500 or better numbers? Well, first off, if you think a kid grabs two#2 pencils and races in the room to take a test- you are mistaken. Kids read test books. Kids take prep classes. Kids get tutors who specialize in how to take the test- they don’t teach algebra or English. They specifically tell you how to look for clues in the question to help you determine what the right answer is. I spoke to one of these type of tutors the other day.
Now, my kid is a high achiever. She studies a lot. She invests much time and energy into her extracurricular activities. I don’t think she has slept since 3rd grade. You get a picture of my kid? Now imagine that the tutor basically told me that my kid doesn’t work hard enough, and does not do the right things.
First off- he chastised me for having her prep so late for the test. She’s taking the test in March and then in August. He actually said that she is behind and that she will never catch up. Ok- how much do you think I liked this guy at this point?
Then, he told me that she should cut out all extracurricular that she has no chance of getting a scholarship in. What. The. *%^&. My daughter LOVES her extra choices. She loves law team, tech crew, tennis and school paper. Like, these are often the high point of her day. Give them up, so she can prep for a test, because they don’t “mean anything”? How about – they fulfill her. They give her something to dream about. They engage her mind and body in things other than academia? As her Mom- these things are important.
Then he told me she should apply to at least 20 schools, including the top 12. First off- applying to 10 schools is hard enough (10 is the number her school suggests) Secondly- she doesn’t want to go to a brand name school just because it’s a brand name school. She only wants to apply to 3 or 4 top 25 schools- the ones she really likes and knows would be a good fit for her. I don’t get applying to schools just to say you went to a top school. In my mind there is a difference.
He then told me we should hire someone to “work on” her essay with her. Now he said “work on” but what he means is write the essays for her. Now- what do you think I thought of that?
My kid is a humanities girl. Her school limits the amount of AP courses you are allowed to take, so she did a hard target and is only taking humanities AP this year, and then next year- meaning no AP science or math. He said she should take the science/math AP’s instead next year, because they look better. My kid does really well in science and math, but she doesn’t like them enough to take the more advanced classes. I agree with her.
He said some other things that I didn’t like, but at that point I had stopped listening. My mind was made up about halfway through the conversation. I did not want this guy anywhere near my daughter. We had philosophical differences.
He was a good prep coach. And my daughter needs a prep coach.
So I politely got off the phone, promising him that my daughter would consider his online workshop that he runs on Saturdays, 7-9 pm. (OK- for the record- my daughter is often studying on a Saturday night- but sometimes she is actually having fun. I know this guy doesn’t approve of fun- so we won’t even go there)
After I digested the conversation and told my husband that the guy was a lunatic (my Husband had gotten the number from a co-worker) I went to talk to my daughter. At the end of the day, it was her decision.
Remember what I said yesterday about bias? How it’s almost impossible for someone to relay a story without tipping the scales in their own favor? How do you think this tutor sounded when I talked to my daughter about him?
My daughter agreed that this wasn’t the right tutor for her. We would try someone our neighbor used.
I’m good at making decisions. I weigh out all the options, the pros and cons, and I come to a conclusion. My gut is telling me this guy is the wrong tutor. Fine. But what if the gist of what he is saying is right? What if she does need to spend a billion hours to move her scores up to 1500?
This is where I hate parenting. I feel that my daughter already spends too much time studying, but I balance it out with the fact that she has activities that she loves, and a great group of friends. I think she is as well rounded as someone of her personality type will ever be.
I also know how much she wants to go to some of these elite schools
I know that even with a 1500, her chance of getting into these schools is still really slim
See- I’m going back and forth. I don’t think his tutoring method is right for her, but maybe I don’t know everything. (I know, I know- of course I know everything….)
Did I manipulate the facts when I spoke to her so that she wouldn’t want to work with this guy?
Will this be a decision I regret, down the line?
Today. for something completely different, I’m going to talk to you about a fight/disagreement my Husband and I are having. This is not to be cruel to my Husband. This is not for you all to tell me I’m right and he’s an idiot (you can do that any day of the year). I’m writing to explain how in a disagreement, both parties are right and both parties are wrong. And different people are going to perceive the situation differently- some of you will side with me, others with my Husband, and most will just think we’re both nuts. I’m trying to show that an argument, no matter how petty, is still an argument. Call this a life lesson.
It’s hard to tell a story without bias. It’s out natural inclination to tell a story highlighting how great we are. You all know I’m not so great, so this might be easier than I thought.
On Sunday afternoon, my Husband and I will be attending a classical music concert. We actually both love classical, and we try to see a live performance a few times a year. The concert is at 2, ends about 4, and is probably a 20 minute subway ride from out house, meaning he’ll be home in time for much of the Sunday football line up. I will be home in time to do laundry. (see- bias. I can’t help it. I’m trying to make you feel for me)
My Husband said he was going to invite his Father over for the game. Fine. I said. I have laundry and house stuff, and I’m betting my homework for writing class will not be complete, so I can have a productive afternoon/evening.
Then he asked if he could invite his Aunt and Uncle to the game.
Now, I’m going to point out that “ask” means that the answer could be yes or no. When you ask a question, you have to know that each answer is a possibility.
I said “No”.
Here’s the thing. I have things to do on Sunday. I don’t want to entertain. I happen to like his Aunt and Uncle very much, but I don’t want to rush in the door and Voila, people arrive 10 minutes later. I don’t want to watch football. It’s also hard to talk to his Aunt if there is football on- our apartment is not that big. I have other things to do. 4:30 means we are going to need to supply a meal. There are all sorts of dietary issues, and most of them are not health related. Cooking is a pain for this group. Alas, ordering in food is no picnic either. These are things my Husband doesn’t think about/deal with. These are things I will need to contend with. I don’t want to contend with them.
Why does he want to invite them over? Well, obviously it’s a nice thing. His Uncle has Parkinson’s, and his situation is not getting better. I know my Husband would like to spend more time with him. I get that. My Husband feels very guilty about things with his family. I usually don’t feel guilty about things. To me, if you feel guilty you are doing something wrong. I usually feel good about my decisions. (be prepared though- there will be a guilt induced post soon)
I am not a “family gathering” type of person. My Husband is constantly trying to push this value system on me. I am not particularly close with my parents because there are just all sorts of issues and I feel keeping them at arms length is beneficial to my mental health and stability. Truth be told, my Husband would benefit from keeping his family at arms length, but that’s his cross to bare.
But, back to Sunday.
After I said I didn’t want to watch football/entertain on Sunday, he said “Didn’t I say I’d go to the concert with you?”
Now- this is where I got mad. First off- I don’t like tit for tat. I thought an afternoon date of something we both enjoy would be fun. I didn’t think it was a bargaining chip. I don’t think like that. I don’t do things just to score points.
Secondly- he asked a question. I gave an answer. Don’t ask a question if you aren’t prepared for the answer to be something you don’t want to hear.
So. we’re at a stalemate. I’ve made him sad. He doesn’t like my disregard for family. That’s fair. But this is one of those things- it’s who I am. I am not the type of person who wants to be surrounded by family.
We’re speaking and all, but it’s an overly polite sort of thing. And eventually we’re going to have a big discussion. But the problem is- he is never going to be happy about the situation, because there’s a quality in me that he doesn’t like. He sees me as cold, and frankly, I am a little cold and detached. That’s my defense mechanism. But I won’t apologize for it. It’s who I am.
So there you have it. The story of a fight. I hope I was able to give fairness to both sides. Disagreements are never easy- figuring out how to get past them is even harder. I think the true test of a relationship is not what we fight about- it’s how we get past the fight.
Thanks for listening!
My Husband got tickets to a hockey game. Now you know I love going to a live event, so this should be a good thing, but….well….things happen.
First off, let me start off with the fact that it was the Rangers vs Islanders. These are both New York teams. There has been a heated rivalry between these two since hockey expanded and the Isles began playing in Nassau County. My Husband and Daughter, both born in the city (albeit different boroughs) are rabid Ranger fans. Growing up 10 miles from the Nassau Coliseum, I grew up a fan of the Islanders. I remember when Islander fans would taunt the opposition with “1940” because the Rangers had a long draught before winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. The Ranger fans would yell back “Potvin Sucks” , a taunt on the star defense player in the Isles heyday in the 80’s. Though I no longer actively watch hockey, there was no way I could actually root for the Rangers. Hmmm. I was going to be sitting in between two people wearing Ranger Blue…..
Then the Facebook post. I took a cute shot of my daughter in her Ranger jersey and posted it. Boy, the grief I got from my Mother and Sister and one of my hockey friends from back in the day……I actually had to explain the fact that yes, my daughter was a fan of the Rangers.
Next drama. The week before the game, a friend of my Husband was supposed to be having a birthday party for his girlfriend. Due to a plumbing emergency, the party got postponed to the same time and day as out hockey game. My husband told his friend that we couldn’t go to the party- we had game tickets. The guy was actually mad that we chose the game over the birthday party. Now some might disagree with me- but I don’t ever make people feel bad if they can’t do something I invited them to.
Now to the last drama, which is why I am glad I am not a teenage girl. We had one extra ticket and we told my daughter to invite a friend. Now by the unwritten rules of being a girl in high school in 2018 in NYC, apparently, my daughter is only “allowed” to invite her BFF since 5th grade, or her BF from 7th grade. When neither of these girls were able to make the game, my daughter “couldn’t” invite anyone else. Could not invite anyone else, cause apparently, everyone else is a package deal of sorts. If she invites S, N will get mad. If she invites N, S will get mad. If she invites M, both N and S will get mad. And so on. And so on. And so on. Being a teen is tiring. How do you remember all your assignments and the rules of civility regarding the teenage social infrastructure? How do spend your time worrying about whose feelings are likely to be hurt in any given scenario and study for the physics mid term?
And at the end of the day, my Husband invited one of his friends to the game. the Islanders crushed the Rangers, I think 7-2. I believe my Husband’s friend has forgiven him. Social order in the teenage realm is status quo.
But boy, was there a lot of angst in my household over one hockey game.
This idea has been stewing in my “Blog Ideas” folder for awhile, cause I wasn’t sure if it was something I could accurately write about, but I’m going to try.
Why do some people still think that women should have boyfriends/be married/have a significant other?
Why do some people still wonder what is wrong with a woman who does not have a partner of some sort?
Let’s bring in the personal anecdote. My daughter is in High School. She has no interest in dating. None. Reasons don’t matter. It’s just not on her very long to do list.
Personally, I don’t care. It’s her decision as to what she wants to do with her free time.
But other people…..I’ve heard some the following:
“She would make time for dating if it was important.” It’s not important to her
“Why doesn’t she want to date? It doesn’t seem normal?” Define normal
“But she’s so pretty. Pretty girls have no problem getting boyfriends.” WTF?
“I’m telling you she has a boyfriend. She’s just sneaking around.” Then she’d honestly be a magician cause I have no idea how she would fit one into her schedule without me knowing about it
“She must be a lesbian?’ Really, based on the fact that she doesn’t want to date at all?
“She’s lying to you. That’s bad. You have to figure out why she is lying to you?” WTF?
“Have you taken her to a therapist? She must have issues?” Really? Her not wanting to date means she has issues that require a therapist?
“She must like bad boys.” ?
“I know a nice boy for her. She should have a boyfriend.” OMG she’s 15.
And so on.
These are quotes from “well meaning” friends and family who are “trying to look out for the best interest of my daughter” because “we are not paying enough attention to her.”
It’s 2018. We are supposed to be empowering women. Yet the first thing we think about when we see an unattached woman is that they need a partner in their life? How there is something wrong with a woman who does not have anyone in their life?
I have a acquaintance who has a daughter in her late 20’s. The daughter has had a series of crap boyfriends over the years and the Mother is happy with that because the daughter is “not alone and she has someone to protect her”.
Someone else I know said of their daughter “She should marry the guy she’s dating. Who else is going to want her when she has two little kids in tow. How many guys want to be a stepfather?”
What is the number one reason women who are single don’t want to go to family functions? They don’t want to be asked about their love life. There was even a commercial about a girl asking the rental car agent to pose as her boyfriend. Commercials go through focus groups and testing. People thought that was a good idea.
Why do people think that everyone should be paired up?
Why do some women feel ashamed if they don’t have a partner?
Why does a woman have to explain why she doesn’t have/want a partner?
What do you all think? Do you ever look at a single woman and wonder why she is single?
I was talking to my friend SF the other day about things we say to our kids. One of my favorites is “90% of success is showing up.” I honestly don’t know who said this first, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is, it’s a pretty accurate statement. But what does it mean?
Obviously, the literal meaning is true. If you want to do/win something, you must be physically present where the event is taking place. You can’t win a tennis match if you’re home watching TV- you need to be on the court. (yes- I realize that thanks to the internet you can be at home and win/participate in things, but you’re still “virtually present.” The internet does allow a little leeway on what constitutes as physical. You still need to “show up” to whatever internet portal is necessary)
So, however you look at it, you must be somewhere to even have the chance at success.
The most important part of showing up though, is the mentally showing up. What does that mean? It means giving your attention and focus to whatever you’re trying to do. If you are in class, you need to pay attention to what the teacher is saying. You need to do the homework. You need to study the material. Sure, you can show up every day, be physically present, but if you just lean back in your chair and draw doodles on the side on your notebook (like we did in the seventies) or play on your phone, you’re probably not going to do well.
Engagement. If you want to do well at something, if you want to succeed, you must be engaged in the activity at hand.
Now, apply this to your resolutions/goals if you made any. I’m assuming if you made one or more of these, your goal is to succeed.
Are you present?
Are you engaged?
Let’s use weight loss as an example. If your goal is to lose weight:
All of the above, as well as a host of others, are ways of engaging yourself in your weight loss journey. You are becoming an active participant in weight loss, you are showing up mentally to succeed at your goal of losing weight. If you focus your energy and attention, you will lose weight.
How do you show up?
Success isn’t easy. That’s sort of why we applaud people who succeed at something, because we know it takes hard work and determination. But it all starts with showing up. You won’t succeed if you don’t show up.
My daughter has a vanity in her room. The physical kind, a table with a mirror, where you sit and primp yourself. She had a vanity stool, but alas, it broke so we needed to replace it. Enter assemble it yourself furniture.
She thoroughly exhausted the BBB website and found one that met her standards and was reasonably priced and qualified for free shipping. Score! Ordered and received.
Now we just had to put it together.
My daughter and I opened the box. That took about thirty minutes. I beleive opening packaging is a true test of character. You want to know who someone really is- give them a package to open. Once we got in, we realized the chair was a fairly simple thing- I believe there were 7 pieces and 1000 screws. The screws were where we started to have issues.
First off- they wanted me to use an actual Philips head screw driver for some of the things. There was the little L shaped Allen wrench, but also, Required: Philips Head Screw Driver. What? They want me to get an actual tool? Like, actual work?
“Attach post c to post b using screw 2.” OK I ask my daughter to hand me required pieces.
First thing I realized: I’m not that strong anymore. I was having trouble actually screwing the pieces together. Time for the electric drill. Which of course has no charge. My daughter looked very bored.
Two hours later, charged drill in hand, I taught my daughter how to use the drill. Now using a drill on cheap furniture is a tricky matter- you have to be gentle. You have to drill just enough so you can take over and manually screw it in. I showed her how to angle it, the amount of pressure to use, etc. After not too much sweat and tears, we did it.
After we finished, she asked the question “Who taught you how to do this? Who taught you how to use the drill?”
To which I replied “I taught myself. I can’t build much, but I know the basics.”
“When I get older, I’m going to pay someone to do this stuff.” she said
I started banging my head against the newly assembled vanity seat.
“You can’t always pay for someone to do stuff for you.” I finally said.
“Why not? You have the handyman do stuff for you.” she countered.
She had me there. I had recently paid the handyman to put up a new coat rack because i knew how much weight the rack would need to hold and I felt more confident with him doing it.
“There’s nothing wrong with getting expert advice, or paying for someone to do something for you. But, there is also nothing wrong with having some basic skills. Isn’t it nice to know that you can do something if you wanted to?” I said.
“But isn’t it better to know some things really well, like be an expert, and not worry about other stuff?” she asked.
Now she was giving me the “jack of all trades, master of none” mentality. What do I say? Part of me is thinking I’ve raised an over privileged child who has no practical knowledge, and part of me is excited because I can see her future career as a lawyer coming to fruition.
OK. I needed some sort of Momlogic. What do I say? Is she right? What’s the lesson and who is teaching it?
“Here’s the deal.” I said. “You should be an expert on certain things. Like, whatever you’re passionate about, and your career. Clearly, spend your time and mental energy on these things. But, there is nothing wrong with a smattering of knowledge. There is nothing wrong with having basic survival skills under your belt, like sewing a button, making a meal, putting furniture together. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it’s good to know some of these things, to be able to do something yourself. It makes you feel good about yourself. It gives you confidence in your innate abilities. It makes you know you can survive anything.”
Ok- I know I was stretching it. Personally even though I can sew a button, cook a meal and use a screwdriver there is no way I’m surviving on a deserted island Gilligan’s Island style. I could not make a phone out of a coconut. Would she buy it?
“I don’t think I feel any more confident in my abilities now that you’ve showed me how to use a drill.” she said.
I hate parenting.
I showed her the stool. “Look at this.” I said. “A few hours ago this was a bunch of pieces and screws. Now is a usable item. You can sit on this and it won’t break. Doesn’t it feel good to know you did that? That you can put together something useful? That you had the ability to read the instructions, figure out what needed to be done, and do it? You accomplished something. Can everyone say that? You know your Father would have thrown this down the garbage chute by now.” His frustration level is very very low. Putting new batteries in the TV remote could send him into a tizzy. “You Father could not have put this together. Doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit good that you could?”
She looked at the vanity. Her mouth curled into the shape it gets when she’s about to be snarky.
“Yeah. I guess that’s true. I did do it. And you’re right- and besides Grandpa (my father) no one else in our family could.”
“But this doesn’t mean I want to spend weekends building things.” she added.
“Fine.” I said. Do you really think that’s something I wanted to do, spend weekends building furniture? “And now you have an idea how to use a drill. And this is about the fifth thing you’ve helped me build. So be proud.”
She picked up the vanity chair and brought it to her bedroom. As she walked away she quietly said “Can you make me hot chocolate? You do it so much better than I do.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I bought a blanket yesterday. A throw actually, you know, it’s the kind of thing that sits on the edge of you bed or you couch, and you pull it over yourself as you sip your tea and read your book, maybe nibble on a cookie. A soft, comfy blanket.
I know you’re now thinking, OMG, is she going to write a blog about buying a blanket?
Yes, I am.
I am a somewhat frugal person. I try not to spend money unnecessarily. I also don’t like buying things on principal- I have a small apartment with very little storage space. I’m pretty Kondo in that if I don’t love it I don’t buy it. So I carefully weigh every purchase before I take out the plastic.
Now I have a throw that resides on my couch. It’s a bit old, and a bit beat up, but it’s still functional. Technically, I didn’t need a new one. Technically. But we had a run of below freezing temperatures. I’d read a book about Hygge…..
Hygge. Do you know about it? It’s the Danish concept of warm and comfy. They espouse scented candles, game nights, fireplaces, hot beverages, comfy clothes, and soft luxurious throws. Yes. A lifestyle philosophy that is all about comfort. Sign me up.
So when I was shopping for practical things (my neck needed a new pillow badly) I managed to wander over to the blanket section. It was like 15 degrees out, and I sat there rubbing my hands over all these blankets. It would have been erotic if not for the fact I was in a large, florescent lit store, and the blankets were housed in industrial shelving.
But I didn’t buy the blanket. I walked out of the store with my pillow but nothing else.
I dreamt about the blanket. Seriously. I woke up with visions of velvety soft blankets running through my head. The good angel on one shoulder said “You don’t need the blanket. Save the 24.99 minus the 20% off coupon. That can be used for something else.” Other shoulder, bad angel said “Oh just buy the freaking blanket. It’s a blanket. It’s practical.”
Yesterday, I caved. I walked to the store. You can actually blame that on the above freezing temperatures- I was thinking of it as exercise cause it takes 15 minutes to walk to the store. I went to the lower level (see- you can make any sort of analogy you want about me having to descend to get the blanket). I grabbed the blanket after I found the most luxurious one and sprinted up the escalator to the registers. I was buying it before I changed my mind.
I walked home with a big smile on my face.
And last night, I cut open the packaging, took the cardboard stays out, and just pushed my face into it. Oh, the soft velvety feel on my face. I put on my pajamas, brewed a pot of tea, grabbed my e reader and curled up on the couch. I pulled the blanket over me.
Sometimes you have to do something for yourself. Sometimes you have to get exactly what you want. I don’t mean shopping as therapy- I don’t believe in that. But every now and them you’re allowed to have a treat. My treat was this soft, luxurious wonderful blanket. It just made me feel good. And tonight, it will make me feel good. And tomorrow…..
You get the idea.
Last week I wrote about adapting, how we must keep learning and changing in order to survive. The comments were amazing, prompting me to continue thinking about the subject. So here’s some new thoughts on the subject of adapt or die.
We’re going to start with an anecdote. When my Husband was about 40, he decided he wanted to be promoted to the next level at his job. After speaking with his boss, he was told that he needed to have an MS in Tax. Without this piece of paper, there would be no more promotions. He already had an MBA, so this would be a second advanced degree. He already worked a lot of hours. We had a young daughter. He asked me what I thought. I told him to go for it- get the degree. And he did. Three years of going to school at night, after a 10 hour day…he completed his course of action. He didn’t love sitting in a classroom again. He didn’t love studying on weekends when he would rather have done other things. A few people actually mocked him- asked him why he was bothering, at his age. At his age, they said, he should be teaching a class, not enrolling in one. But he adapted to his environment, his reality. If you want something you do what it takes.
40 is not old, yet people told him he was too old to go to school.
Which brings us to the next point: is being old, or older a reason not to change?
There were some comments last week about being tolerant of older people who may not like using the internet, that maybe there was no reason why these people should change/adapt. Here’s my thoughts:
We should be tolerant of everyone, regardless of the situation. I ask for tolerance every day, because WordPress and I have a love/hate relationship. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time. I learn what I can, and hope that no one notices the obvious gaffes. I get frustrated and I muddle through. There are times I’m doing something technical, and I’m on with customer support, and I will say “Talk to me as if I know nothing. Explain it to me in baby steps.” I hope that I get help from someone who understands that it takes me five minutes to find the backslash key on my computer, and that I still refer to “hashtag” as “number sign”. So yes, tolerance to all those who are not as savvy, whatever the situation may be.
Age should never be used as an excuse.
Now I admit, I sometimes use age as an excuse. This is usually when I’m trying to do something that requires an iota of flexibility. This is when I feel my knees give out. Then I blame age. But honestly, I shouldn’t. I should be doing things to increase my flexibility. I should be doing things to ease my achy joints. I have no right to use age as an excuse.
Age should never be an excuse for not learning something. If you don’t want to learn something, that’s fine- but don’t use age as an excuse.
See, the problem with using age as an excuse is that it can backfire. If people use age as an excuse to not learn something new, this could lead to ramifications in the workplace. Like, why should we hire someone of a certain age, because they’re not going to want to learn something new- they’re not going to want to learn that new program. Not wanting to learn or change because of age sets a bad precedent. And what age is the right age to not want to learn something new? 80? 65? 57? 40?
Using anything as an excuse is ridiculous. My friend had an employee say that they couldn’t do something at work because of menopause issues. Really? You couldn’t sit at a desk and use a computer because you had menopause issues? Does that mean that women can’t do work because of menopause? Bad precedent.
If you don’t want to do something, learn something new, adapt- that’s fine. But own it. Say I don’t want to learn how to use the internet because I think it’s a stupid waste of time. Don’t say I’m too old. Because you’re not too old. You just don’t want to. And that’s a big difference.
Don’t use age as an excuse. It’s not fair to the rest of us who want to get up and get on.
Last week I talked about vanity. As it’s still on my mind (which is probably some sort of vanity itself) I felt I needed to talk about it again.
I met up with my writing group yesterday, two women who were in my fiction class with me. As you may recall, I was vexed by a comment calling one of my characters vain. My friends totally disagreed with the comment, given it’s place in the book and what it was signifying, so I was glad that others shared my opinion. But they enlightened me to something else. We sometimes spend more time on ourselves as we get older.
I freely admit, it takes me longer to get ready now, than it did years ago. To be fair, I’m not the sort of person who takes an inordinate amount of time- I’m pretty much a wash and wear sort of girl. But now, I need an hour to get ready if I need to shower, 25 minutes if not. My Husband doesn’t get this at all, FYI. After 16 years of marriage he still thinks I can be ready in 5. It takes me longer than that to put my moisturizer on.
See, that’s the thing. Make up doesn’t take me a long time. Hair doesn’t take me a long time. It’s the other prep work- the moisture part. As I’ve gotten older, my skin, my hair, my everything has gotten dryer. I have separate lotions for every part of my body. I start with an eye cream, then a face serum, then a moisturizer- and that’s just my face. Heavier cream for my elbows and knees, cream with sunscreen for my hands, foot cream with vitamin E….I even put a few drops of oil in my hair….
This isn’t vanity. This is just so my skin won’t crack and fall off. This is now routine maintenance. Without these creams and potions I would crinkle when I walk. Seriously- it adds a whole new dimension to the term dust to dust….
I admit I stare at my reflection a little harder now. My eyelashes are a little more sparse (I think there is a gel you can put on them to make them more luxurious. the fact that I know this scares me a little). My skin is a little less taut. My undereye bags can now be considered a distinct part of my face. It is hard to look at myself and not see the younger version of me, because in my mind I am still that younger woman. In my mind I am still the woman who was just attractive because there is an attractiveness in youth. Alas, none of us realize that when we are young- we’re to busy trying to grow up. We take for granted the tight skin, the lack of spots and other weird things that eventually creep up on us.
Does this additional self reflection make me vain?
I don’t think so. Maybe it makes me a bit wistful, makes me think of the past. Maybe it forces me to think about choices I’ve made, for better or worse. Sometimes you have to take a long hard look in the mirror, to both remember who you were, to see who you are, and to consider who you will be.