A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Leat-Her Wear it

I’m not a big fan of leather coats. They tend to be too bulky and too stiff. Even my fave – the biker jacket. But when I saw this coat in the Sundance catalog (Robert Redford’s company), I decided that I seriously needed it. So I searched up a coupon and then pressed the Order button.

I’m glad I pressed Send. This coat is like butter and it has enormous style, almost military/calvary in its cut. The buttons come to a V at the waist and then the remainder are hidden. Those couple are a little hard to button from the inside, but oh-so-cool. It’s great for a slightly warmer winter day in Denver.

I know that from a social viewpoint, leather and its sister, fur, get a bad rap. Along with eating their contents. I have no “beef” [pun intended] with anyone’s choice; it is all in how you grew up. I grew up on a self-sustaining farm in Iowa. We raised milk cows (my favorite, as previously written), stock cows, pigs and chickens. We grew corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. We planted a huge amount of potatoes and an average-sized garden. We ate what we grew and sold some for profit. That is what farming is all about. In the middle of an Iowa winter, having a freezer full of meat is a necessity. We had canned vegetables and potatoes in cold storage, but it is not enough to feed a family through those long cold months.

Pigs and cows were sold at the stockyards, which gave us money to live on. They, of course, generated meat, but the hides had to go somewhere. So, they became coats, shoes, belts, handbags and so on. A very practical use of all the parts. I abhor cruelty in any form, but it normally doesn’t exist in a family farm situation. All our animals, right down to the adorable baby ducks were well cared for.

So if you see someone walking down the street wearing something you don’t agree with, allow them their choice. They might be farm-raised like me. I’m sure no one will berate you for wearing broccoli on your pants.

So let her wear it.

A-Dior-able

images[5]On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior launched the “New Look” collection from his Paris couture house. The world was recovering from World War II, and its austere, masculine clothing. The New Look returned the feminine silhouette with a full bustline, tiny waist and curvy hips. I believe that it reminded the world that the feminine, nurturing energy was returning. It was criticized as being a wasteful luxury when times were still lean. Thus is the power of the feminine energy, to create, to nurture, to honor the need to pamper our souls.

Today, my Sweetie and I attended the Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The show is in its final tour, ending on March 17th. The exhibit included dozens of beautiful gowns and suits, beginning with the classic “Bar Suit” categorized by a creamy fitted jacket and a black, calf-length full skirt. Think Lucille Ball in her heyday. From the simple suit to fabulous gowns of detailed embroidery and gems, lean silhouettes to curvaceous sweeps, all stunning in this gorgeous collection.

 

I, myself, enjoyed the blatant outrageousness of John Galliano. Highly satirical, if you studied the garments closely. One fabulous gown, that I failed to take of photo of, (God knows why not), which I dubbed “Queen in Bondage”. Bejeweled red satin, the bodice was a tightly fitted corset style with the seeming intent to expose the breasts, although there was a bit a fabric tucked in to keep it decent. Or so I assume. The skirt flared out from the knees, mermaid style, looking almost impossible to move in. The entire garment was capped by an innocuous-appearing crown. Luxurious, over-the-top, this gown defined Galliano’s evil genius. Too bad he couldn’t limit his antics to design instead of running off at the mouth.

IMG_20190303_115107239 (1)Like all art, fashion is beauty in the eyes of the beholder. For women in general, it is the living expression of our soul. You can wake up in the morning ready to deal with what is likely going to be a sh*tty day, and instead, choose to arm yourself with a great outfit. Fake it ‘til you make it, or so they say. Dressing in your favorite outfit, because you know you look fabulous in it, will change the day into something great. And I hate to disappoint you guys, but women don’t usually dress for men unless they are hunting for a husband or boyfriend. As designer Betsey Johnson said “if girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times”. Just notice when you are in a public place, most of the women are looking at each other and often commenting about shoes and handbags.

Why? Because we are just f-ing adorable.

You-nique

img_0628Cleaning up your stuff and your life is getting rid of what does not serve you or doesn’t make you feel good.  Cleaning up means allowing your authentic self to come out.  If you can’t be you, who will?

Living a good life means being yourself.

Some people say that they don’t know who they are.  Well, if you have done the clean up work then you know who you aren’t.  What you are left with helps to define you.  Living your life as a lie can cause deep suffering within your body.  Trying to conform to other’s ideals of who you should be can actually cause cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Who wants that?  You can only live your life for yourself, because you must live within yourself.

Being authentic does not mean harming others or things.  It does not mean you get to be an a$$hole.  Being authentic is treasuring the uniqueness of you, the beautiful, spontaneous, quirky, creative, sparkly inner being that radiates with joy.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

 

Maybe you think you are weird.  So?  What is wrong with weird?  A lot of people are and like weird.  Find them and buddy up.  Maybe you are very traditional and old-fashioned.  Nothing wrong with that either.  Lots of alike-you’s out there.  Spirit wants to grow so therefore, interesting, unusual and quirky people were created.  Spirit loves this.  I think Spirit has a giant paintbrush and a bucket of colors and has an absolute riot dashing them on the canvas of life.  Now isn’t that just a beautiful thought?

 

We just finished some of our decorating projects.  It was a joy for me, because I allowed my artistic side to come out.  I went for bold, with a little bit of quirky humor and that suits my Sweetie too.  It turned out fab, if I say so myself.  I’m sharing a few of the pics with the hopes that you’ll be inspired to allow your inner delight to come out.img_0629

You do you.

Keep Calm and Clutter Down

pillow-650243_1920So hopefully by now you have cleaned out your closets, cabinets and the dreaded garage.  Did some soul work and let go of old issues.  Unfriended your unfriendly friends and put some effort into your romantic relationship.  Maybe you followed the feng shui lessons and amped up the living areas in your home to bring in more of what you need.

Now it’s time to settle in and enjoy your rejuvenated space and self. 

Don’t fall back into those old habits of tossing your dirty clothes on the floor.  Don’t junk up the kitchen counters with dirty dishes.  And for God’s Sakes, do not pile boxes and a bunch of other sh*t in your garage!  (I can’t let go of the garage thing.  My sweetie works out of our garage and it is in a constant state of change.)

Clutter got you into the emotional mess you just cleaned up, and, like the awful relationship you just ditched, don’t go there again.

Practice being organized, by starting with your closet.  If you read the Mari Kondo book, you will know that she recommends sorting your closet by color, then light to dark.  I did this and there many advantages to it.  First, you’ll really know what colors you like because you’ll see you have a lot of certain ones.  That’s good, you won’t buy the ones that don’t look good on you.  Secondly, it makes it easier to get dressed in the morning, because all you have to do is reach for your favorite color and have several styles to chose from.  Once you have taken something out of your closet to wear, put the hangar back in the same place you took it from.  Then you can put the garment back on the same hangar and you’ll be just as organized as when you started.

Follow this simple practice with all your newly organized things: after use, put it back in the same place you took it from.  You will always know where it is and you won’t create new clutter.  Life will run much smoother by following this simple step.  Sure you might annoy the other people in your household, but they are not you.  And who knows, they might follow your lead and suddenly the entire house will be like this Zen peaceful place.

You might feel so calm you’ll have time to sit down and read all those books I’ve recommended.

Oz-tober

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Photo: Pixabay, Efraimstochter

Last night, Ozzy Osbourne played at the Denver Pepsi Center.  I didn’t go because it was a work night and I just can’t stay up that late anymore.

Ozzie and many other musicians have been out on epic tours, some for several years.  Why the significance as that is no different than any other year?  Because most of them are over the age of 60.  They are still out there rockin’ it and kickin’ a$$ long after the rest of us are snoring in our beds.

Some ask “why?”  “Do they need more money; don’t they have enough?”  “That’s old news.”  “Sick of that music.”  (Seriously?!)  Or “they are too old to be doing that”.  The reality is that they are out there doin’ it because they LOVE it.  Music is their passion, their reason for living.  They live to make music, play music and perform music.  And why not?

I recently saw a photo of Klaus Meine of the Scorpions that said “this is what 70 looks like”.  If that’s 70, then everyone should aspire to that.  70 is no longer seen as the bent-over, shuffling wrinkled person with overgrown nose hairs.  Check out Ari Seth Cohen’s “Advanced Style” and you will see photos of [yes, real] kick-a$$ older people living life to the fullest.  “Old is the New Black” is the motto.

Older people have had enough of being pushed aside, told what they can or cannot wear, think, do or anything else a bunch of under-experienced brats have decided.  Older people live, love, wear purple hair and have sex on a regular basis.

We are not dead yet.

It is a time to embrace your passions, to do the things that you barely had the time for when you were younger, to play, to have a loving relationship, to think, to feel, to honor yourself and speak out for what you believe in.

Or rock it at an Ozzy concert.  Just remember to wear your ear plugs.

So Shoe Me

IMG_0117I love shoes.  I’ve written about them many times, probably more than anything else.  I guess I can’t help it.  I just love them.

I probably have too many.  Big Deal.

No one is starving because of my obsession with shoes.  If anything, the person who makes them is likely feeding their family from the proceeds.  I would like to think I am helping the economy.

The economy is like energy, there has to be a give and take flow in order for it to work.  When you buy shoes, or food, or cars, or homes or even just a pack of gum you are contributing to the flow.  When you go to work and create or support or provide service you are contributing to the flow.money-2159310_1920

Not doing any of those things merely stops up the energy like a two-year-old tossing a plastic dinosaur into the toilet.  I suppose that, too, contributes since you have to call a plumber to come dig Dino from the sewer.  Plumbers eat well because of two-year-olds and toys.

If you take something without an exchange or create harm, you might have to pay a fine, go to jail, or get sued.  All of which also stop the flow of energy.

By keeping the energy flowing, you create room in your life for more abundance, prosperity, success and just plain joy.  Allow yourself to receive and it will be easier to give.

Or just go buy a pair of shoes so someone can have a nice dinner with their family.

Forever 21

Yes, I know it is a clothing store.  And No, I do not shop there.  Would I want to be 21 again?  Oh, Hell No!  Too much work, too much silliness, too much learning to do all over again.  Even if I knew then what I know now, I would not want a do-over.  I would not be the woman I am now if it were not for the stupidity of my younger self.  Stupidity might be too strong a word.

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 Twenty-one is a time for learning.  Twenty-one is a time to do crazy, but hopefully not detrimental, things with all the joy and exuberance of youth.  It is best at any age to try to act in a safe manner just so as not to leave this life too early.  But where would you be today if not for some drunken night with your besties?  I so do not miss those days.

 I think the only thing I miss about being 21 is just the physical aspect of it – not waking up stiff and sore, the strength and resilience of your body.  But would I do anything different physically if I had that body or would my wisdom tell me that I really do not need to be different?

 You cannot go back to your youth and you really should not dwell on those times.  Doing so causes you to miss out on all the beauty and wonder of the present moment.  Love the self you are now, love your body, love your wisdom and love your sh*t. 

 And do not try to replay those drunken nights.  It is bad for your skin.  And you will smell like the cat box.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Recently, at work, the subject of dress code has surfaced again.  We have a new director, and he is getting his feet wet in all areas of the business.  After initiating the topic of shoes, he wisely turned the dress code idea over to a team of women.  Women police each other, after all.

59745-2001_CEREZA[1]Many a man, to his everlasting regret, has ventured in to the female shoe closet thinking to discuss the quantity, cost, necessity, appropriateness and style of female footwear.  Many of them wisely retreated when they notice the squinty eyeball staring back at them.  A brave few thought to continue the topic, and then determined that there is a fine line between brave and dumb.  Some hearty souls continued on, and were grateful that the living room sofa was a comfortable place to sleep.  And some were never heard from again.

The only men who can safely traverse the domain of the female shoe are those of a “different persuasion”, or the Great Oz of Shoes himself: Mr. Manolo Blahnik.  Should Mr. Blahnik ever appear in a woman’s shoe closet, especially if he were bearing gifts, she could succumb to a heart attack at that very moment and consider her life complete.

51g35jLUYvL._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Shoes represent the Holy Grail to women.  They are the ultimate form of self-expression.  We willingly spend thousands of dollars for coveted pairs, suffer untold agony and blisters for a few hours of wearing a spindly high needle for the praise of a friend or stranger.  Women have made new friends over a pair of shoes.

A beautiful pair of shoes can brighten a woman’s day.  Knowing that pain could come later, she will still step out proudly and with confidence that she can kick a$$.  An ugly pair. . .well, can make a woman feel ugly.  They are the equivalent of Superman’s kryptonite.  A necessity, if you will.

Oh and if you are available, Mr. Blahnik, my closet is open. . . size 7, if you please.

Bon Voyage and Godspeed, Dear Kate

41OLqVyQ+iL._AC_US327_QL65_I, like many people, was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Kate Spade. Kate, as we know, was the brilliant mind behind cute, quirky and beautiful handbags, shoes, clothing and housewares. I own 2 pairs of shoes and 5 of her fabulous bags and would love to have a collection. I bet they will be hard to find now.

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What really saddens me is her method. The report is of suicide. Darling Kate, what could have been so awful in your life for this to happen? Most anything can be fixed or replaced with something better. The only thing that would warrant a suicide is a painful, terminal illness and even then, don’t go it alone. There are doctors to help with that sort of thing.

We see this played out often in daily life. Someone with mental illness, severe depression, addictions, or severe pain – all truly a crisis. But there is always help. We get too far mired down in our own muck and we somehow can’t believe that there is anyone out there who cares or will help. We have distanced ourselves with too much technology and social media and forget how to reach out and hold someone’s hand. We don’t talk – we text. I read that you can even have Alexa or somesuch read your child a bedtime story. WTF.

Mental illness typically has roots in a chemical imbalance in the brain. We know that there are plenty of chemicals out there to balance them. However, some of the most simple things can change your brain chemicals. And one of them is human touch. A hug. A hand to hold. Tears to share. Laughter to lighten up. A kiss goodnight. Even petting your cat or dog will stir up the good chemicals. Do YOU do any of these things? There is ALWAYS someone out there who will hold your hand when you most need it. A nurse in the hospital. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them, the chemicals will activate. Human beings are not meant to be alone so don’t suffer alone. Find someone to talk to if you find yourself sinking into a dark place. There is always another path for you.

Rest In Peace, Kate Spade, and thank you for bringing something for us all to smile about.