Ten Things I Would Like to Tell Middle Aged Women
1.If you married that guy who looked down your shirt at your boobs and continues to look down every woman's shirt, getting a new set of boobs won't save your marriage. He'll keep looking at fresher, younger meat. If you have already divorced him, a new set of boobs will only get another guy just like him. Invest in a really good new bra every six months (stop wearing that gray thing that slides off of your shoulders) and use the rest of the money to DO something interesting (and in the midst of LIVING an interesting life, you may just meet an interesting man.)
2. Get out of the tanning bed. If you are going to get a tan, it should be the by-product of living. You have a choice: you can close your eyes and braise yourself evenly while you think about all of life's worries and try to ignore the smell of your own flesh burning, OR you can get a tan while you engage in real life, move your body, generate endorphins naturally and have an outlet for all of your worries and fears; there is no shame in uneven tan lines from swimming, running, biking, hiking, working in your garden, going to your kid's soccer game. LIVE your life in the sun instead of dying in the coffin of a tanning bed.
3.Own what you say. Apologize when necessary. Move on.
4. Drama happens all around you. Lots of people depend upon you to be sucked into drama. Be the one who stands apart from the drama. Be the calm in the storm. Keep your head.
5. Follow your heart? At this point in life, I'd say you should. Not to run away with your old high school boyfriend you reconnected with on Face Book, but to help you navigate the unpredictable world around you. Use it for a guide "If those words or actions would wound my heart, should I inflict them upon another? If it hurts my heart to be yelled at every day, maybe it hurts my teenage child's heart to be yelled at every day. If I crave the words 'I love you, I appreciate you,'maybe I should say them to someone else."
6.Never let a man (OR A WOMAN) make you feel weak or inferior. You probably have more interaction with women in your life on a daily basis. Dropping kids off at school, yoga class, PTA, shopping, the workplace. Really, when you got to the soccer game late and you had to walk around the edge of the field with all of the other moms sitting together watching you, you cringed at the thought of what they might be saying to one another. Likewise, when you get to work and walk past the water cooler, the men may be gawking, but most likely they are ignoring you if you are middle age. The women, however have assessed your clothes, hair,makeup, teeth, shape and smell before you can say "good morning." You have two choices: Learn to look them in the eye, smile, walk on past and not give a shit about what they say. OR befriend them, be good to them and (it is harder to do this with friends than with enemies) NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT THEY SAY.
7. Smoking is not sexy. But it is an appetite killer. So is coffee, diet soda, diet pills, meth, binging and purging and fasting for great lengths. We tell our daughters to be heathy, but then we practice all sorts of unhealthy behaviors out of vanity. You wouldn't smoke in front of your daughters--why would you abuse your body in so many other ways. Live beautifully, eat healthy food, exercise, practice faith. You will be sexy.
8.I don't care what anyone thinks of me. At this point in life, you shouldn't care. That is one of the benefits of middle age...but you should be wise enough to know the difference between reckless living and a healthy sense of self. If you don't--then read Madame Bovary.
9.Don't play stupid even if you are. Inform yourself. Read. Ask questions. Debate. Don't buy into wholesale pitches about getting rich quick, solving all of life's problems with a pill, trusting one political party entirely. Life has taught you a few things by now. Ineptitude might have gained you some points when you were a young hot thing with potential and a hope of learning something. Now it just makes you inept.
10. You are beautiful. You are enough.You will never look like a 20 year old again. You might, with a lot of "work" look like a 40 year old woman who has an incredible fear of aging and who has gone to great lengths to look 20 from a distance (only to disappoint and sometimes scare upon closer inspection.) live a beautiful life and you will be beautiful. Take care of your body and soul and you will BE beautiful. Obsess over trying to fool people into thinking you are still young and you only deceive yourself. You are beautiful. You are enough. (PS, let your daughters dress like the teenagers they are--you, on the other hand, need to get your own damn grown up clothes.)