Good morning, Wednesday. Beautiful one in NYC today. Have a million errands to do today but at least the sun will be shining through the tedium.
So as you all by now know, I've been thinking much about this thing called midlife.
What does it mean? How do I navigate? What's in store?
Besides an inevitable fear of hot flashes, I'm committed to living my most authentic life. And what that means is only saying "yes" to things I truly want to do. I recently wrote some copy for a shoe brand and found it so effortless and lovely because I was allowed to use my voice. It's true the brand is slightly different than my aesthetic, but it was so much fun to write it didn't even feel like work. I'm amazed every day how this writing career has completely shifted the way I think about work in general. Part of me kicks myself for not pursuing this more full tilt when I was young. But then I'm grateful for finding it at a point i my life when I really needed to pivot.
Another thing I've been thinking about is how women are depicted over 40. On the one hand, we have the Norwegian looking long, flowing grey haired goddess, makeup free type- who is most likely a vegan and practices yoga every day and wears primarily white and though sensationally beautiful, I'm not her.
I'm also not quite as wacky (though this one is admittedly closer) as that kooky older women archetype a la Iris Apfel or Linda Rodin we see everywhere. I relate a bit more here, but not quite. Also I'm not that old yet. So for me, that just doesn't feel right, even though they too are amazing. It ain't me, babe. (PS love the woman in the track suit. Ah-mazing).
There's also the more "lean in" archetype- of women running the show in business a la Sheryl Sandberg. I have never, ever had the need to wear anything resembling a suit to work, so for me, that whole pencil skirt thing is not really a thing. Not my tempo.
Recently I cut my hair off again. It's super short and I'm happy with it. To me, having short hair is a bit of a middle finger to traditional feminine ideals, but strangely enough, I feel more womanly with my hair short than not. And I'm keeping it bright copper red because red hair just makes me feel like me, even though I'm far from a natural redhead. I identify as a redhead and that's the truth- it suits me. I'm obsessed with women like Stella Tennant and a bit more of a tomboy look. Here she is above from a Zara campaign last year. I have always, always loved her look and love how she's getting older right along with me, even if I'm not ten feet tall or an English aristocrat. She's fantastic. #goals.
If anything, I feel more aligned with women like Winona Ryder, Sofia Coppola, and former Sassy mag editors cum bloggers Andrea Linnett and Kim France. They're still cool, and I imagine they still blast Sonic Youth and have a youthfulness and cred I really connect to. It will be interesting to attend that 50th birthday weekend in Vegas and chat a bit about what it means to be 50 or on the verge. I can't tell you how much I'm loving this part of life and figuring out who I am. Finally. The strong sense of self is worth the price of admission.
And what's great about all the women above is they are all authentic and true to who they are, and that's fabulous. And there's no need to put yourself under pressure to see where you fit in- because maybe you just don't and that's amazing too. But despite all the options, we still have work to do when it come to confidence at midlife and beyond.
Check it- I found a great article in Time about how the whole notion of body positivity leaves out women over 40. if we are learning to embrace body types that are not traditionally ideal, we should think about how to embrace what is considered beautiful and sexy, spider veins and all. From the piece is an interesting statistic from 2018:
"Currently, there are approximately 14,520 posts with the hashtag #agepo or #agepositive, versus 8.3 million posts with the hashtag #bodypositivity or #bodypositive. A scroll through the latter indeed reveals women who appear to be mostly in their 20s".
And from the same piece, with Gen X representing about a fifth of the overall population and with about 30 percent of the spending power, "Xers drop almost double what millennials do on “apparel and services”; we also purchase more products from brands we follow on social media than millennials".
There's a big opportunity for brands to engage with X, yet they don't. I'm hoping to help break ground on real talk about aging, particularly in my crowd and demographic. Because reality doesn't have to bite. But it doesn't have to be invisible either. And like the sentiment at the top of the post, being authentic and just being you requires bravery. And to find out who you are and want to be is pure joy. Trust.
Cause that's what's up this authentic Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in breaking molds and being true. XO