Mother’s Day is always a time for me to reflect on my life. 13 years ago, I became a Mom to a seven year old girl and an eight year old boy. Time flies. I’ve joked for too long that I gained more weight thru adopting than any of my friends did in pregnancy. This year, I’ve begun the necessary work to reclaim my body and reinvent my style. Not Mom style. Not make-do style. My style. At least my style for my empty nest. Or my want-it-to-be-empty-nest. My sometimes-empty nest. I’m sure you can relate to that one, if you are woman of a certain age like me.
How I see myself is huge–huge as in weight. Two digits with a “P” at the end. Short and stumpy. Short and portly. Wide load. Over the past month I’ve blogged about my body image here and here–no knuckle- biting angst, just realism.
One of the greatest tools for staying motivated on this journey is social media. Each Monday on Facebook I post a gratitude post to start the week on an up note and I post an Inspiration Outfit to get me back to the gym, back to being aware of when I am full and when I am hungry so I can eat like the skinny French lady I’ll never, ever be mistaken for! (More on that in a future post). Here are my most recent inspiration outfits, found, where else? on Pinterest.
I’m a child of the 1970’s–I love jeans and t-shirts. But I hate frump. I’ve been stuck in frump since I grew out of the career clothes I was wearing at the time of my kids’ adoption. Remember that graduation book–Oh! The Places You’ll Go!? Well, my body has gone there, come back and outgrown the t-shirt it got.You try looking glamorous in pants that have a two-digit size and (how ironic) petite length. And fyi–I’m talking upper two-digits, not a slim, svelte size 10 here.
B.K. [before kids] I was a law firm librarian running up and down 4 flights of stairs in watered-silk pumps. I also went running along the canal at least every-other day. At one glorious point in time I was able to wear a pair of pants with Size 6 on the label. It was a mistake–all the others in my closet said 9, 10 or 12, but hey! Life’s too short to quivel! The tag says 6–I’m wearin’ a 6. Here’s a few of me, back in that day–I cleaned up pretty well back then with a lot of help from Dress Barn for suits and Lancome for make-up. Ok, I’d never match my one-time model grandmother, or my model-wanna-be cousin, or my should-be-a-model daughter, but I looked good. And, not just at work, either.
Back to my current life. My Inspiration Outfits keep me focused on what matters–getting back to the real me, albeit the real me at age 54. A size 6 may not happen–I won’t ever again be a slave to the gym and my knees can no longer take running. But my sensible French eating combined with appropriate weight-training and walking or other simple cardio are a lifestyle change–not a prelude to the Olympics. The Inspiration Outfits pictured above are not necessarily ones I could afford, nor would they really do me the justice I’d like, but they are cute, mostly age appropriate, and are wearable for my work or social life, so I think, “Yeah, I want to wear this…” and post it. Sorry, but at home I live in jeans and a t-shirt, although even those, too, are ready for a stylish update.
Using social media to stay focused on goals is a great strategy. If I don’t post my status as at the gym a few times a week, friends get on me. If I don’t post an Inspiration Outfit, friends message or text me to make sure I haven’t given up. In middle age this is crucial. In mid-life we woman can feel invisible–we aren’t young, but heck we aren’t that old, right? But no one sees us. No one hears us. The only demographic less represented in the media is women even older than us!
Social media lets us build our own support groups. We can give and receive those crucial that-a-girls, those virtual pats on the back. We can share our triumphs whether at the gym, in starting a new career or in dealing with the empty nest that doesn’t stay empty. To me the very best part of this is reciprocating by helping my friends stay focused on their own goals and by congratulating them on their accomplishments. Especially when a crucial someone, say a husband, never says a word–or worse, is critical. Encouragement is what makes ladies soar. We ladies of a certain age must band together and support each other.
What about you? Are you struggling to find your real style, or your real career or your real…you again? What steps are you taking? Do you have a support network? No, not the dog, though I’m sure he means well. Do you use social media for this purpose? Do you get inspiration from a class or women’s group or some other place that helps you stay motivated. Leave me a comment-I’d love to hear what you do.