As a 50-something single woman with an empty nest, I have more “me” time than I have had in the past 30 years. Although I admit that I am still struggling with finding my new purpose apart from my children, I have stumbled across a piece of my personality I didn’t know existed, that is a new interest and love of fashion. You would have to know me to know why this is so surprising.
I was never a fashion maven. I never had the time or inclination to consider what I threw on my body, and I spent my whole youth and adulthood believing that none of it mattered because I never had the perfect body to begin with. And I loathed shopping. I traumatized my own children when we had to do their back-to-school shopping. It was always, “Hurry up!”
And here I am in my 50s actually having fun with clothes and accessories. There was the Saturday in late October when I went shopping for a new winter handbag in Kohl’s and an oversized cocktail ring made entirely of crystals caught my eye. I just had to have it, along with the new bag. The ring flashes and sparkles in the sunlight and, like a child who just bought herself new pair of roller skates with her allowance, I couldn’t stop trying it on.
Then yesterday I went out to buy my last two Christmas gifts, I stumbled across a pink oversized wristwatch rimmed in gold. It caught my eye, too, but I told myself, you don’t even wear pink. And besides, wouldn’t that look silly on a woman my age? But along with my last two gifts, the watch came home with me. What is wrong with me, I asked myself?
When I am not navel gazing over my wrinkles and overthinking why I have too much time on my hands, I am finding that I am actually having fun living alone and doing what I want. It’s like being a teenager again only now I have money and no mother yelling at me that it is time to get up on a Saturday morning.
Doing what I want has felt a little bit like diving off of a cliff, however. It takes courage to live a life with no limits. Case in point, after shopping yesterday and doing just a few household chores, I opened a bottle of wine at noon and watched Netflix all afternoon until I fell asleep at four in the afternoon. Who is this woman who has all of this leisure boozy time, I wondered.
When I woke up, I was starving. I had avoided carbs all week and now the only thing that would do was a juicy hamburger, so I threw on a hoodie and schlepped through a drive-thru. After a few more hours of really good bad television, which I normally never watch, and a few more glasses of wine, I dropped off to sleep again. It’s embarrassing, really.
But back to fashion. I have become addicted to blogs and pinterest sites featuring older women who also seem to be having a lot of fun with their personal style. And it makes me wonder, is it just because ladies of a certain age now have the time or is it because we have finally learned to accept and like ourselves?
I know for myself, it is because I really have learned to accept myself, wrinkles and rolls. When I look in the mirror, I don’t focus on the lines and sagging skin, but rather the woman I have become. Dressing this new face and body is a new challenge that I liken to those teenage years when you play with makeup and hairstyles trying to figure out what works.
You have to experiment to find what works on you now. Like shoes. Gone are the days when I pick out a pair of heels because they are trendy. I also have a bunion that was not there in my 40s. Now I spend literally days trying on shoes that are both comfortable and stylish and that fit my size 10 toes. It’s a challenge.
I also have to hunt for summer clothing that hides some of my more embarrassing attributes, like chicken wing arms or that won’t show my wide bra straps. Cute bras are a thing of the past as are anything that clings to the body like Saran Wrap.
So here’s to being a woman of a certain age and bad television and wine-soaked Saturdays. Go ahead and enjoy it because if maturity has taught me one thing it is this: everything changes.
Life really does roll on like a river and I am sure my dance card will one day again be full of busyness. But for now, I can’t wait to go shopping again. Maybe I will hit the stores after the holidays when the department stores are deep discounting what’s left in stock and treat myself to lunch with a friend. And I don’t care what the world has to say, I want to be a lady who lunches.