I recently grabbed six images I love from pinterest and put them on an evernote board I would see every day. Images that represent places and environments I love – snow covered cabins-, people and personal style I admire, and one really awesome closet.
And I noticed this thing: the women I look at regarding personal style are older. Coco Chanel, in her fifties and above. Michelle Lamy. Age unknown.
It’s nice to be in this in-between age of 35. I’m confident, in my mind and body. Women write about this all the time, but I really am so much happier and more confident about how I look and feel than I was at 22.
One might think, being in fashion, that the eternal culture of youth-beauty would be, at least, a point of pressure, but it’s not. I think I felt that more at 22 than now.
So, this isn’t intended to actual be a fluffy piece about how we don’t need to feel bad about getting older. And of course, I realize, in most industries outside of entertainment, one’s career hasn’t really begun to take root until 35 and above. Daniel was, affectionately, referred to as “still a pup” by someone only twenty years older. But, the difference in sophistication and experience between 35 and 55 is great. Remember how innocent 15 felt, when you are 35? So there’s that.
People will bring up the trope of the middle-aged man who leaves his wife for a 22 year old. Or the perpetual bachelor who always has a girlfriend 20 or 25 years younger than him. But: that’s just evidence of some type of emotional immaturity. You know, when I was 22, 23, 24- I dated men who were much older than me- so I know that of which I speak. By the time each relationship ended, I was sure I was more emotionally mature and aware than the man nearly twice my age. Don’t know if that says more about me or them.
I’ve been thinking about this as I was sick in bed with a cold all weekend. I hate being sick, and luckily don’t feel this way often. I don’t like the forced time off one bit thankyouverymuch. And, perhaps since I tend to believe all my illness is psychosomatic, I feel bad and insecure about being sick in the first place. (and, since I believe my illness is psychosomatic, you can overlay a placebo effect…) The last time I even had a cold was summer of 2013 and it was because I was so very pissed off about a business deal gone wrong.
So I’ve been lying here asking myself as my ears are all clogged up: “ok, is that the left side of my head that’s clogged? Does’t that mean something right brained? Well, what could that mean? Creativity?”
Shortly after that, my dad offered me his stash of sudafed.
Dad, I said. Sudafed only used to work in the old days, before they took the speed out of it.
Oh, this is the real stuff, I had to sign for it, he said.
I found his refrigerated box of generic allergy medicine (made in india!) and swallowed one, thinking that there’s a time for dogma about health choices, and there’s a time to just take generic speed made in india. (Under normal thinking patterns, I take no drugs, legal, prescribed, or otherwise. Except coffee.)
Back to creativity. Back to health. Back to age. There’s a connection here, I promise.
Rather than working on creative writing, as I had promised myself I would permit every morning for 5 or 6 hours, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working on a new business plan. Rather, a plan for my current business, but a new version of the plan. Other rather, a plan at all. This was, I think, the culmination of my various essays and thinking about goal setting. (To summarize: where I ended up was – I think goals are good. Goal setting is good. Being active and willful is good, better than being passive and calling it ‘living intuitively’….for me.)
Now, I love writing business plans. I love designing complicated systems that require lots of spreadsheets and interrelated cells and numbers and stuff like that. It’s fascinating, fun, and acts a bit like a drug. I just think it’s not really that great for my health. Numbers particularly, I find. Super effective, obviously, and useful, but quantitative rather than qualitative. We use quantitative means to achieve qualitative aims.
And personality-wise, I get really wrapped up in numbers. Numbers of calories (ancient history, but a big one). Numbers on the measuring tape. Numbers of customers. Numbers of new customers. Sales numbers, profit numbers. Inventory numbers. Numbers of miles, numbers of minutes. Views, hits, likes. Years.
And honestly, the two primary evolving “goals” I have set for myself are goals with numbers. Quantifiable goals, because those sorts of goals are measurable. While there are lifestyle, un-numberable types of goals one might set, I don’t currently have any pending. Lifestyle-wise, I couldn’t be happier, but like the good squirrel who intends to prepare well for winter, I’m always cautiously optimistic and interested in saving acorns.
Because where we live, winter is always coming. ;)
I see fashion and style as communication. That was the primary reason I learned to sew as a teenager- I couldn’t figure out how to communicate who I was, or wanted to be, using clothes from the store. And I always notice, with appreciation, when I see women of older years who are still embracing this form of communication. It’s extremely effective communication and everyone who interacts with you notices it.
And it takes many forms. Daniel, like many people who have worked in fashion for a long time, choose uniform. (his: APC jeans and a white button shirt. Blazer in the summer and a sweater in the winter.) His uniform is designed to communicate: I’m serious, I take myself seriously, and my clothes are chosen to be a mostly- neutral palette against which I will convince you of my abilities using words and language.
My uniform of this winter: black jeans, short bean boots, a sweater over a button shirt. A braid or three. Gold rings. A man’s 1950s carter coat (literally, the warmest coat I’ve ever had, even though it has no more buttons. It also weighs about 7 pounds. They don’t make ’em like they used to, huh?) Designed to communicate: practicality, taken-ness, luxury in comfort.
And so, when I think about our lives as we age, I like to think about the different costumes we’ll use to communicate those decades or changes.
By the time I’m eighty I intend to be covered in gold jewelry. Maybe I’ll start getting tattoos then too.
(Language aside of the day: In Arabic, one does not say older or younger when referring to a person. One says bigger or smaller. So, the phrase for “old woman” and “old building” actually use different adjectives- becoming “big woman” and “old building.” There doesn’t seem to be an equivalent for “young building” -which, as you can see, doesn’t sound right in english either. “Recent building” or “more recent” is correct. To describe someone as small, meaning petite, needs to be qualified like “She is small in size”; because “she is small” means “she is young.” )