and just like that…even our t.v. characters age…and all of our lives change as we age and that’s o.k.

This morning I had a giggle. Sex & The City started on HBO in June, 1998. Cable was ridiculously expensive and I remember hunting the various COMCAST “special deals” just so I could have HBO. Nope, no Manolo budget here. I was single, watching the ultimate single girl television show.

Ok yes, I have talked about this show before, but come on? The original was a big part of all of our lives. Kind of like Star Trek for some of the guys I know.

I loved the cast, part of which was New York City. The clothes and the shoes I could never afford unless they were dumped at Loehmann’s or Daffy’s or Century21. And I could never walk in the shoes. The shoes I left and still leave to my sister (and her fabulous shoe closet/racks.)

This morning I had a giggle because I realized that way back when I used to watch Sex & The City in bed like my big single girl not so secret, sometimes with a glass of wine. Now I watch And Just Like That on Thursday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee.

Yup the 50s. Struck me as so funny. I don’t know why. Well maybe because I watch the new show drinking my coffee and then I go and clean up the rest of the kitchen and sort the laundry. Back then, in the Sex & The City Days, yes I did laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. Just didn’t admit it out loud.

So now I am a few episodes into the new show. I like it. It’s getting a lot of flak like the actresses were supposed to have been cryovaced and opened as their 1990s selves once again. Well gee, that would be a neat trick. They have aged, pretty damn well if you ask me and you can see a little “work” but at least they don’t have frozen face syndrome. I have seen a lot less of that frozen face syndrome since COVID started, but still, it’s out there.

Probably I am an anomaly. I don’t do fillers or injectables. No plastic surgery, still on my original body parts. If liposuction didn’t look incredibly painful, maybe that would be an option (I am actually joking) but I think I will just try to exercise more and eat less? I am not a perfect 10 now, wasn’t back then. After breast cancer surgery, people kept telling me about their favorite plastic surgeons. Well once you have had a couple non-elective surgeries that kind of hurt and if you hate needles, that is not really an option. Besides, ask your radiology technician sometime what they have to do to get a mammogram on ladies with glorious fake breasts. One word: contortion. Two words: no thanks.

Things about the show that still crack me up is they all still breathe the rarified air. They are mixing in more everyday kind of available clothes, but still the wardrobes and where they live. Pretty fun and fantastical. But those are ladies in menopause and I envy them their lack of hot flashes. Or they could just be like my mother was back then and simply not acknowledge their existence.

The conversations have shifted some with them. The hair coloring vs. not coloring crack me up. Oh I have had those because once I started breast cancer treatment I stopped experimenting with color. It was never much to begin with, just the occasional semi permanent color job. Now a decade plus later, my hair still has a lot of my original dark. I will admit some days I freak myself out because when I look in the mirror I see my paternal grandmother Beatrice, but for me I made the right choice. And my hair actually looks and feels better.

I am aging. I will admit to taking collagen supplements, but with age comes dry skin. But when I look in the mirror, except for the occasional glimpse of Beatrice and wondering how almost 60 years of life seem gone in a blink, it’s ok.

Now these television characters and the actors which portray them have all aged. I kind of like that they have aged right along with me. I think I would have been upset if the re-boot occurred with a new young cast.

I often wonder what women think as they age. We all know quite a few who aren’t doing it quite gracefully. The still too short skirts, tight pants, and short shorts. Overly carefully lit selfies and professionally taken social media photos. Some of these ladies have amazing figures, others do not. It’s just about aging gracefully, perhaps with humor. I mean we do have options other than mom jeans, right? I will admit to missing my leather and sued pants, however, and being able to wear strapless gowns.

Back then when the original show aired, I was wondering what this current part of my life would be like. I had a bunch of friends who married young, and I couldn’t see myself in their lives then. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t about sowing the proverbial wild oats, never did so much of that, it was just about growing into myself I think. I wasn’t there yet. (However, I will tell you that back then, I still did cook, go antique and vintage treasure hunting, and garden.)

One of the best things for women about these shows is showing the relationships between the women and their partners, and the dating then and now. I was never much of a dater although I did it. I always found recreational dating much like the job interviews for the jobs I didn’t want.

But the characters the women’s characters dated in the original series? Cracked me up. I could see them in so many people my friends had dated and even I dated. Like Mr. Big. We all had one of those, I think. But we didn’t marry them, so it’s kind of no wonder they made her a widow. But I do know some young widows, so on the other hand I actually get that (and wish it on no one.)

And the Samanthas. We all had them, even if their clothes weren’t as good. But they grew up too, and not all friendships transcend the test of time. So no matter why that character is gone, I get it. I have a lot of my core friends, but I am exceptionally lucky. Some of the other friendships didn’t make it but it kind of falls into that saying about friendships being reason, season, or lifetime.

Truthfully I am glad to be me now, and that I am not dating in my 50s. I am grateful for my life and marriage. I know who I am, I know who he is. We aren’t ever perfect, but I know what it is to love and be loved, and there comes a point where that is just right and very lovely. Now granted, I know I am a very lucky woman, and I never take that for granted (or try not to.) However, I will completely admit it’s a little annoying that he can still imitate my high school self walking down the halls at Shipley carrying my book bag. So no, I do not get away with much, ladies.

Another thing I admire about the new series are the people they have around them. It’s not just bars and cosmopolitans. It’s the bitchy women’s committees and PTA savages. It’s the reinventing yourself when you thought you were all set, including sometimes starting over.

We can all relate. After all, I still remember the first time I did a car rider line, didn’t know where to go, and got in the wrong part of the line. I was literally surrounded by mini vans and had moms and dads who got out of their vehicles to SCREAM at me. Oh and the teachers and school personnel watched from the sidelines like it was a spectator sport.

And then there were the moms who wanted their high school kids to slow dance at their dances like “the holy spirit was in between them.” Had to bite my tongue with that one because did they actually know what their teenagers were up to and it certainly didn’t involve the holy spirit. But hey, whatever gets you through the day.

And now today add to the average and annoying PTA moms we have the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, conservative beacons of light who will save all of us from ourselves while searching for that perfect hair color shade. The new Stepford Wives.

And then you have the not Stepford Wives who are just amusing. Self-described social media experts because they have a few Facebook group pages. And they still copy their material from everyone else and don’t have an original bone in their bodies. And they still want you to think certain communities adjacent to the Main Line are the Main Line, and why? Is the Main Line all that and a bag of chips? No sadly, and hasn’t been in years, just like there is no real “society” left to photograph.

Thanks but no, I will take me, lumps and all. It’s ok to age. We have much better shoes to choose from these days, and you only have to have a rocking chair on your front porch if you want one.

Thanks for stopping by.

what is beauty?

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What is beauty? When it comes to nature as in flora and fauna, it’s easy to point out a beautiful bird or a flower. But when it comes to humans, can it be said it is not only more subjective, but societally subjective?

Yes this may indeed be a post that some consider a flowing stream of female consciousness and that’s ok. No one is after all, holding a gun to their heads and say read this, right? And yes, it is all the chatter about actress Renée Zellweger which made me think about this.

I will start with this article I read this morning:

Are we hypocrites over Renee Zellweger? By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014

(CNN) — Renee Zellweger looks different than she did 10 years ago.
Big deal—who doesn’t?
Maybe she had plastic surgery. Maybe a little lipo, too. Or maybe her new look, at 45, is truly courtesy of her living a healthier, happier life away from the constant media glare, as she reportedly told People Magazine.

Considering how mean-spirited some of the response has been since Zellweger showed up at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards much slimmer than we remembered, who could question the effect time away from the vitriol can have on a person?

….The face and body we associated with her for all these years was, in her words, a byproduct of having “a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself.” Makes sense to me. I can’t tell you how many former NFL players I have come across who look nothing like the men I saw on the field—significant weight loss, clean-shaven, hell, just being clean for a change. And dare I say healthier.

I then read something on someone’s Facebook page (also this morning):

Can we leave Renee Zellweger alone, please? As a woman, I’m offended by the criticism she has received for doing something personal and private. Do the talking heads have nothing better to discuss? And seriously, if we should fault anyone, shouldn’t it be the entertainment and fashion industries for harping on their own standards of beauty? Sorry, I don’t usually take public stands, but this issue hits home.

So this is true…..but I am tired of what the media and Hollywood puts out there as far as women and aging, aren’t you? Renée Zellweger is a victim of that cycle I believe, but unfortunately she is also in the public eye. Why are people talking about Renée Zellweger? Because she did the all-American mid-life woman thing and apparently got some nipping and tucking and filling.

Why do women have such a hard time aging? Or admitting they are getting older?

Maybe we all play a part in this?

As women, we need to stand up for what the definition of beauty actually is. I don’t know a single female from 15 to 70 plus who doesn’t fight with self body image at times. And how many women just want people to notice sometimes when they look nice and not that they have a few more wrinkles than last year?

As a 50-year-old breast cancer survivor who did not have breast reconstruction when I look in the mirror I often only see a lopsided me. I have to remind myself how blessed I am to be alive. But how hyper-focused are we often as a society and the concept of the perfect female form and does that perfection even exist naturally?

In that vein, after seven weeks of radiation coursing through my body there were a lot of things about chemicals that I decided to shed from my life. That included hair coloring. I decided I was going to let my hair color change naturally to what it was meant to be, versus trying to cover it up every few weeks.

Truthfully I am very slow to gray up and in three years there is little difference. Yet if you look around all you see is advertising aimed at women which subliminally tells us day after day that aging naturally is BAD. We are bombarded with hair color and cosmetics ads, ads for injectibles like Botox and Juvaderm, ads for plastic surgeons, commentary on what unnaturally thin actress with unnaturally large and upstanding boobs are wearing.

And of course there are our more local influences. Our mothers, siblings, friends, spouses, and so on. For example, I adore my mother but you can ask anyone and they will tell you she is obsessed with appearance. The flip side is that is probably why she looks so good for her age, but you can’t wear sweat pants and a t-shirt around her! However, in her defense, as opposed to many of her contemporaries and my own contemporaries she is not someone who has been nipped, tucked, or injected. Which I am glad about because there have been some older ladies I have seen in society photos recently who look downright scary they have had so much work done. They don’t look attractive, they look freakish.

Most of the time I am good with me at 50, but there are days where I look in the mirror and wonder where I’ve gone. And then I have to remind myself that I’m not 24 anymore I’m 50 and that’s ok.

But societally in this country it seems to be the exception rather than the rule as far as aging naturally versus not aging naturally. The funny thing is when I was about 22 I wasn’t sure if I was going to like myself as a 50 year old. But that was a 22 year old looking at what was then, older than dirt.

Now that I am 50, it doesn’t seem so bad or so old. Yet because of what I see put out there some days I struggle. But when I lay it all out I would truly rather be a more authentic me and I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be that woman….and that is what women forget.

Women forget that we do have the right to be whomever it is we want to be. Societally we are often judged if we don’t wear makeup, don’t color out hair, haven’t been augmented and injected, and wear more age appropriate clothes rather than looking like the teenage daughter’s closet was raided.

Can it be said the obsession with appearance versus the inability to deal with aging is pervasive and damaging? And have you ever noticed the men who will sit and judge a woman like she is someone’s prize cow? My ex was one of those kinds of men and I think individuals like this need to take a long, hard look in the mirror before they judge another human being. Yet, it is often through eyes like those that women judge themselves. And yes, we are our own harshest critics

Getting older is a challenge. Of course it is. But it is part of the cycle of life, right? So what if societally we were a little more accepting?

Thanks for stopping by today.

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