I never liked the summer as much as the school year. As a little girl who loved school and often found it more comforting than home, “summer fun”: soda, hot dogs, backyard barbecues and fire flies plus the whole experience of being hot and sticky while chubby – ruled out summer as my favorite season. Going to the beach with 15 or so relative’s post Sunday Mass was another long day of sand and heat to me – never got into the supposed joy of sunbathing, but did like walking on the beach by myself – and still do. I plan to do that next month when we are at the beach.
Now, at 66, my summers are as close to childhood summers as one can get. My part time work continues but slows, we travel a great deal, and there is more heat, downtime, and “summer fun” activities especially when I am closer geographically to my granddaughters. Then of course this year we have the “election stuff” – which most of us are finding sad, aggravating if not frightening. Am finding it tougher to look and feel fabulous in the heat of this tense summer, so I have managed to find a few secrets to “staying cool” to share.
- Think about basics! We over-60s look good in basics. Wear simple sleeveless or short-sleeved dresses and sandals or flats that have a bit of style without too much glitz. Glitz is getting very old isn’t it? Light is the feeling of summer – too much glitz on the shoes, one’s top and/or nails looks HOT – and you know I don’t mean SEXY HOT just plain hot.
- Take less with you – anywhere and everywhere. Once again promise to buy or just keep the very few things that look truly sensational on you and skip everything else. That leaves 3 or 4 outfits. Limit technology to those you LOVE and MUST have and limit social media to MUSTS – consider dumping the rest. Get a tote bag that is classy and smart – and use it. Dump dump dump or tidy as we now say.
- Act with positive intention. Who cares, much less benefits, surrounded by people acting like they are on a reality show except people who are too dumb to know better? Successful, fabulous people are open and authentic, but also self-regulated and in control. They are too busy learning and doing something about issues (even in summer) that matter rather than blabbing about the idiots/liars/you name the insult about those they do not agree with or they are NOT voting for.
- Take the fabulous summer pledge. “All people are worthy of respect (repeat till believed). My job this summer as a fabulous woman is making sure everyone understands what that means by my consistent modeling of respectful behavior.” Go out of your way to be someone who is utterly charming to be around. Sounds a bit old fashioned, but nothing is more modern and fresh than a sophisticated strong confident woman who asks questions, listens to other’s needs or who can tell a fun rather than vicious story. Moods are contagious – take responsibility to keep things positive.
- Be quieter. Let’s bring some hushed voices back. The other night an otherwise potentially fabulous woman wasn’t when she spent the dinner talking and laughing so loudly I wondered if it were her first night out in over a year and she felt she needed to be heard. While “be a lady” is dead as a concept, with overtones of “ladies (like children) should be seen and not heard” which of course should be dead; doesn’t mean there is not a grain of truth. Modulation is seriously underrated – aren’t we all sick to death of ‘LOUD’??
- Get reading! And make it grown-up, interesting and challenging. Remember reading lists over summer breaks? Bring that back – do some browsing online or in an actual bookstore, and read some books worth your valuable time. Let your family and friends make note of it – not to impress – but to casually hint that they might want to spend time reading something valuable. Staying cool reading something deeply interesting while sipping something cool – now that is summer heaven.
- Finally, try gaining some different perspective. The world is so harsh right now – make room this summer to do something you rarely do with the intention of getting a new or different take on some minor aspect of life. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Today I did something – DIFFERENT. I went to a Laundromat – something I haven’t done in 40 years. Long story short, the rental I am in doesn’t have a washer/dryer and rather than just pay someone to do my laundry I decided to do it myself and maybe get a new insight. It was fun actually – and easier than it was 40 years ago. Met some relaxed and open people including the manager of the place who I had a few laughs with “woman to woman”. And it did give me a fresh perspective. Think I learned you can go to a laundromat and still be fabulous – all about the way you look at things and how open you are to the good that happens when your nose isn’t up in the air.
Let’s take a deep breath everyone and think COOL!