But it makes me wonder, why the hell do we keep doing this to ourselves? Particularly when it comes to beauty?
I am the total lazy girl’s beauty junkie, which means I tend to buy a lot of products, even if I only use about four of them, and fall asleep half the time (OK 90 percent of the time) with my makeup on. I only grew my hair long so I don’t have to deal with it, and I refuse any “routine” that takes longer than 20 minutes.
Once I stopped being a tomboy, I began to learn some beauty necessities of life. For most women this happens somewhere around puberty; my graduation into girlhood was around my late 20s.
One of my more famous beauty tricks - and story my friends like to re-tell - happened when I lived in Washington, DC as a 20-something. My friends and I had decided to go out dancing. Suddenly and out of nowhere a giant pimple made an appearance on my face. In a move I thought of as sheer brilliance at the time, I took out a brown eyeliner and turned the monster into a mole. I thought it was a stroke of genius – a la Cindy Crawford. (Author's note: it was SO not Cindy Crawford.) That is until later that night when a guy I had been dancing with commented, “You’re cute. But, your mole is melting.”
In more ways than one, I am glad to be in my 40s -- particularly from a beauty perspective. I don’t have the time, inclination or desire to try a slew of new beauty tricks, or tons of products. Women in their 40s are much more confident in their own skin, and it’s skin for the most part we accept – lines, pimples, real moles and all.
We no longer have guilt over our pasta addiction because we realize that’s what a real woman looks like. And personally, I’d much rather eat a great steak and have a glass (or two) of good red wine or a nice scotch, with great friends, than double chew some shitty salad. There’s no reason to cover anything up anymore. If you want to go out dancing, you just go. And while I’ll never give up my fabulous, and ludicrously high heels, I don’t wear them for anyone else. But unlike my 20s, I actually know how to walk in them now.
Sure we’d still like to have poreless skin (who wouldn’t?), but we know -- and have learned – that the truly most beautiful people are the most interesting, the kindest, and the most secure. The ones who have traveled, who have an opinion. The ones who see and seek beauty in the world and in other people. The ones who can laugh with abandon, especially at themselves. The ones who know that true beauty is not based on an external attraction from others, but an internal acceptance of oneself.
I was reminded of this watching several of my 40-something female friends at a recent party. As one would expect, marriages, divorces, kids, aging parents, jobs, and all of what life is, had brought extreme joy and pain to each one of them. But as the saying goes, “They danced like no one was watching”. And if anyone was watching, they really didn’t care. Truly beautiful.
This seemed to be in stark contrast to a group of presumably much younger women standing nervously in the corner sipping some house brand of bad white wine. The younger women were pretty – very pretty. But I couldn’t get past the fact that there wasn’t a scant smile among them. It was as if they were posing for a magazine shoot.
And that’s the thing about life: It’s not a magazine. It’s so much better. And far more beautiful.
Happy New Year!