Fashion

Summer… Not So Sure The Living Is Easy!

It is harder to be fabulousover60 in the summer. Fabulous is all about serenity, generosity, friendship, peacefulness, calm waters and being focused on what is most important in one’s life. That of course and wearing great clothes and shoes. Looking fabulous on the beach is just not happening for most of us. And that is just the start of summer blues.

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No one likes politics before an actual election other than the real rabid “true believers”. With a 2016 presidential election coming up, this 2015 summer is filled with clutter, nonsense, and false crisis moments – not to mention Donald Trump. Current nastiness and ridiculousness ruins our sanity and sense of propriety. We likely are the last generation to feel any sense of propriety about anything. That is likely more than OK, but for now, we do find it irksome and insulting to our sense of what we feel is appropriate “presidential election politics” and civilized dialogue/debate.

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Climate change has messed with everything. Much hotter or colder days, more rain or no rain, drought or floods. Not to mention burned out barbecues and that good idea gone bad: constant outdoor eating – not on just gorgeous verandas with food appropriately covered and a lovely summer breeze, but anyplace anytime even if it is stifling – on a city street corner or a relative’s “deck” (or now outdoor kitchen/dining room) that really needs much more shade and a few more feet of space.

Too much sun is getting as scary as ice patches. We are now at the age where, though we may love boating or other summer sports, we know too many people (including ourselves) that are having this that or the other removed from our skin. Bill just had some cancer cells scraped off his head (and I see most of you nodding). We spend way too much on sunblock and other preventive measures and yet are not 100% comfortable in any intense sun situation. Then there is the non-fabulous/always unattractive look of people in protective hats.

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Finally there are the family vacations, weddings, beach events with children, and all that comes with no school, and today’s sense that every event needs to be a happy experience and as perfect as possible. In 1958 we grabbed our swim suits, shorts and a fly swatter and hit the cabin or the beach bungalow. We kids played in the lake or in the water/beach and otherwise solved giant puzzles or read books/played cards in or outside.

Today’s vacations and family get-togethers seem to require a Ph.D. in psychology plus a tolerance for near constant chaos. Today’s family outing includes 6 to 12+ people, all with personal phones and other devices, sophisticated sports equipment, dietary restrictions, elaborate safety equipment and different desires to fit in play dates, learning something new, spa time, yoga, swimming, meditating or whatever else is key to someone’s personal well-being and happiness.

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This current state of affairs is no one’s fault – just life in the 21st century. We can attempt to tap down extremes, but we will never go back to the summers where the most excitement was catching fireflies in jars with a small hole in the top and everyone eating whatever was served at the same time with zero commentary.

We don’t want or need the good old days. But we do need to relax and put our noses into our Kindles or books and read some great literature or serious non-fiction (consider anything from Lynn Olson). As well as take quiet (or strenuous) walks in shaded parks when we can – and plan some special time with our friends. Essentially we need to “stay on our own yoga mats” as a spiritual friend calls minding our own business. Detaching is often a struggle but key to our retaining some fabulous feelings about ourselves and others in the summer fun.

Hopefully we don’t start panicking about “the holidays” looming too soon. It is still summer. Pass the sun block and keep on your earplugs.

Patty

mature woman sitting on rock watching sunset over sea

 

A Perfectionist Tackles The “Game” of Golf

I never wanted to play golf.

No one in my immediate family played, or even mentioned golf when I was growing up. I didn’t have any friends in high school or college who played. I tried it once in my early 20’s and concluded that it took too long to play, I didn’t like men scowling at me on the course, and the clothes and shoes were not flattering.

And then one day a few years ago, as my husband and I were beginning to take more time off from the business and could envision the possibility of retirement at some point he said: Why don’t you take golf lessons so we can play together when we move to Asheville?

I told him I’d think about it and then promptly decided not to think about it. But a good friend, who is also a psychologist, told me that I might want to consider Ray’s suggestion in another way. How many men, he said, invite their spouses into their lives this way? I had to admit that I didn’t know many.

So, I decided to give it a try.

Did I mention that I’m a perfectionist?

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My first lesson on the driving range didn’t go well. I kept missing the ball, no matter how big the golf club head was. I was sure the guys around me were laughing and hoping they never had to play behind me on a course.

Keep your head down, the golf pro said. Down where? Keep your body still but twist your hips, he said. Huh?

Somehow, because of or despite those directions, I finally managed to hit the ball – or more accurately, I hit the ground behind the ball which caused the ball to dribble a few feet. By the end of the hour, I was hitting the ball about half the time and knocking it erratically but at least a little further.

My second lesson was better. I seemed to be getting the “swing” of it and I actually hit the ball 50 yards or so a couple of times.

Ray thought I was ready to play. On a real course.

Will there be any players behind us, I asked. Yes, that’s the way it works, he said. Men? He gave me one of those “of course, darling” looks. But don’t worry, he continued encouragingly, we’ll just pick up your ball and move it along with us on the cart, OK?

Riding around in the cart with my ball – that sounded like something fun to do for 4 hours.

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Let me digress a little. Ray played on a college golf team, but only played occasionally throughout his business career. He once lived on a golf course, though, so I figured he knew everything there was to know about golf and that he had learned everything needed to pick up the game where he left off.

During our first game together, I moved my ball along many, many times in the cart, lost at least 5 balls in the woods or the water, scowled back at the guys behind us and kept tugging on my ridiculous golf “skort” – an item of clothing that should never be sold in any size over 4.

Ray seemed to be playing well, although I was a little surprised that some of his shots weren’t all that straight and some didn’t go very far. Was I interfering with his game, I wondered?

And then he hit an incredible drive. It sailed through the air, maybe 200 yards, perfectly straight – a thing of beauty! And, before I could censor myself, I said…

Why don’t you hit it like that every time?

I knew right away that this was not an appropriate response to his great shot. He scowled in silence. But then he seemed to realize that I had actually made this remark in total sincerity. I really thought that once you learned the game of golf, you would be able to hit the ball well – every time!

Cathy, he said, if I hit the ball like that consistently, our lives would be much different. I would be on the road with the Senior PGA Championship Tour and we would be friends with people like Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer! (I had actually heard of some of those guys).

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Point well taken.

I have now been “playing” this game of golf for a few years. Not often and not well. I threaten to quit every third time I play. I have learned not to make remarks about others’ shots. I occasionally still miss the ball, but if I can get away with it, I pretend it was a practice shot.

I’ve taken many more lessons from many more pros: Keep your head down; keep your head still; place the ball closer to your left foot; twist your body; make sure your belly-button ends up where you want the ball to go; use your shoulders when you putt; chip without bending your wrists; keep your arm straight on the backswing; follow-through; keep your weight on your left foot; don’t sway; lead with your left hand… and on and on and on. I write everything down and usually forget what it means.

But occasionally, just occasionally, I hit a shot that is incredible, if I have to say so myself. The club hits the ball with a solid “thwack”, it soars through the air and lands perfectly in the middle of the fairway and I am close enough to the green that I might actually feel good enough about this hole to put a score on the scorecard. I’ve even been known to pump my arm like Tiger Woods. And, when I make one of those shots, I’m hooked enough to schedule another round with Ray.

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I can’t say I’ve learned to love golf, but the perfectionist in me continues to think that it will “click” one of these days. Who knows? Maybe it will. Most likely, it won’t.

And the clothes? I still don’t like them.

Cathy

p.s. The other day, Ray and I attended a woman’s professional golf tour. As one of the golfers walked up to the tee, Ray whispered … you would look good in that skirt. I stared at him. Did he really mean the silky, form-fitting, short, pink polka-dot golf skirt that was being worn by a tall, thin and athletic 21-year old? He smiled at me and I realized he meant it! I decided to keep my mouth shut. It’s nice to know that he thinks it could be true.

Cathy - May 2015

Cathy – May 2015


It’s OK Not To Look Our Best!

Remember our mothers telling us this one?

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Fabulousover60s have spent inordinate amounts of time trying to live up to a standard of “looking our best”. When we were growing up and going anywhere significant (which included nearly everywhere – the diner, school, church, doctor, synagogue, the store or Aunt Mary’s house) we needed to look our best – always combed hair and neat, clean clothes. Attending a party or family function of any type called for even more careful thought and execution. If pictures were going to be involved (not always a given, and when they were, often poorly executed) we tried even harder to have it “all together” with our hair in “place” and “done”, and clothes “appropriate”, cleaned, or washed and ironed.

These “long gone taboos and must-dos” related to personal grooming and looking our best are behind us. Likely we too have succumbed to a much lower standard – for anyplace but perhaps the Vatican or the White House or our own surprise parties which thankfully rarely are. 2015 grooming rule: wear anything not in the laundry basket – unless everything is in there. Then, pick the least dirty or torn – that second rule would be for us – under 60s often just wear “whatever”. But still, some of us, including me, still worry – do we look our best especially when traveling, dining out, or attending a family or close friends’ event?

On April 7th I developed a stye in my left eye. Feeling healthy and youthful as I still do, I figured it would go away in a few days.  Hmm… another lesson on being fabulous over 60: you can’t assume that anything wrong with you – headache, sore arm, stye, bruise, “minor” surgery will heal/go away in “a few days”.  Assume it will take twice as long as it used to for the same item 20 years ago.

On April 11th I left with Bill and friends Debra and Howard for a few day joint vacation. The stye was worse than ever and in the days together going out to dinner, hiking, and celebrating in some style, I looked rather odd with a drooping red eye, no eye makeup and studious glasses that I almost never wear. Needless to say I avoided cameras all together. And kept hoping at some point I could look my best. It didn’t happen – I hugged Debra and Howard goodbye looking less than ideal.

Shortly after, my sister Wendy and I spent the weekend in Chicago — a long-planned family trip with she, her daughter and husband and two granddaughters – one having a 5th birthday and the other a first communion. During the entire weekend my stye-caused red eye looked as bad as ever. Added to this less than glamorous look there was Wendy (66) only wearing one shoe because she needed to have surgery on her foot weeks ago and believed (as I had with my stye) that her foot would heal prior to the trip and the awkward “boot” would be gone. She limped slightly and wore pants but the boot didn’t flatter her look.

I hated not looking my best – especially with photos and big parties – but Wendy seemed barely worried that photos would show her shoeless in Chicago. Or, to put it another way, Wendy was acting a good deal more well-adjusted about not looking her best than I was.

I left Chicago with my glasses on but realized everyone had a ball and no one had even noticed my glasses and lack of eye makeup. While I had a dress and heels on for the communion/birthday event and party, most of the other guests wore things as varied as jeans – and though 30 years my junior, no perceptible eye makeup.

Maybe everyone is on to something. Being your best, participating fully, and having fun are all more important than looking “perfectly groomed”. As for photos – who cares? When we were 30 and looking back on our childhood photos there were just a few – a few holiday photos, a few school and vacation photos and no more. Not sure we looked our best – but we looked recognizable and able to provide moments of memories. At the family weekend there were dozens of photos taken. Somehow I think that I will be recognizable – even if not my best.

Hmm… let’s not totally eliminate staged and planned photos where we look our best. It is wonderful to look at our earlier selves looking good, healthy and yes, “put together”. But let’s remember too – as fabulous as we are, we can’t and likely won’t look as great as we wished we did in many future friend and family photos. If it isn’t a stye or bunion surgery there will likely be one or another issue that doesn’t flatter. The good news is that we don’t have to feel we let our moms down – the likelihood of meeting anyone while not dressed our best is consistently decreasing every year.

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Patty Gill Webber

Putting on my face…

As I was applying makeup last evening to go out to dinner, I thought of the old expression “putting on my face“.

I remember as a little girl watching my mom putting on her face on the rare occasions when she was going to a party. It was magical! A little mascara, some red lipstick, face powder … and voila! She was transformed into an exciting, elegant woman instead of just mom!

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So, I have now been putting on my face – in many different ways and with many different products … for over 50 years. But I realized as I was getting ready to go out last night that I have developed “degrees” of make-up application. Let me explain.

On a scale of 1 (I’m in hospice and don’t need makeup) to 10 (I’m getting ready to meet Pierce Brosnan for cocktails), I decided I was on my way to about a “7” last night. We were meeting good friends at a local restaurant – nothing too fancy. If they were new friends, if one of them was a younger female, and if we were going to a new hot spot in town, I might have tried a little harder and shot for an “8”.

In my 20’s and 30’s, I wouldn’t have settled for anything less than a “9” at ANY restaurant with ANY friends. In my 40’s and early 50’s, that might have slipped to an 8.5.

But once I hit my late 50’s and now into my 60’s, I’ll work like hell to achieve a “9” for a black tie holiday or New Year’s Eve party. Other than that, I’ll live with a “7” for a nice evening out. The women at the local CVS are likely to see me as a “3” and Ray, poor guy, get’s a “1” in the morning at breakfast and about a “5” when we go out to lunch.

Putting on a face to any degree over a “3”, of course, takes time and involves a wide array of makeup products and application instruments.

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Here’s what I used last night just to accomplish my “7”:

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Eye lid foundation
  • 2 shades of eye shadow
  • Brow shaping pencil (and powder)
  • Eye liner
  • Mascara
  • Eyelash curler
  • Facial primer
  • Facial foundation
  • Bronzing powder
  • Blush
  • Lipstick
  • Lip Gloss

Exhausting! And, this doesn’t even take into account all of the products and instruments used to style my hair around my face – hairdryers, hair gel, styling spray, curling irons and more!

And men wonder what we could possibly be doing for so long in the bathroom!

Speaking of men, if I would ask my husband to rate his “above the neck” effort before leaving the house on a 1-10 point scale, he’d look at me like I was crazy. It isn’t a concept he “gets”. He only needs a few items to get ready to go ANYWHERE, and many of these are optional …

  • Soap (optional)
  • Shaving cream
  • Razor
  • After shave (optional)
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Hair Brush (sometimes optional)

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What is even more irritating is that I’m sure that he looks in the mirror after five minutes of preparation and says to himself… “Lookin’ good! I think I’ll have a drink while I wait for Cathy!”

Note: I made the mistake of showing Ray this blog before posting it. Now, he has decided to ask me whenever we’re going out to let him know what number I’m shooting for. He thinks it’s funny. Me? Not so much.

Cathy Green

I Love Fall! (Or Is It Autumn?)

Fall is my favorite season. I have loved it since I was a young Cincinnati girl growing up on Vittmer Avenue, a cul-de-sac lined with large oak trees that turned bright yellow, brown and orange in October.

When I moved to Florida in the late 80’s, I missed fall so much that I traveled with Ray to Maine trying to “time” the peak colors each year. When we finally bought a home there, we stayed until mid to late October when our “leaving” tree would tell us it was time to go. That’s what we called a beautiful birch tree in our yard that turned bright colors before shedding its leaves and ushering in the beginning of winter.

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And now, living in one of the most desirable “leaf peeper” cities in the country – Asheville, NC – I get to see the spectacular changes in color at several different elevations over about six weeks. Traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost every day – only 5 minutes from my home – is incredible.

Here are a few of the reasons that I love fall so much…

  • The changing colors of the leaves always amaze me. I take more pictures in the fall than in any other season and most of them are of yellow, red and orange trees glowing in the sunshine. My cell phone has at least 100 of those photos right now. Here’s one:

Tree in yard

  • The air is crisp and clean. I have good hair days, I can wear light jackets and there’s a spring in my step. Lexie, our Labradoodle, is thrilled because she gets to be outside with us – running around the yard, hiking or going to festivals called Pumpkinfest, Octoberfest or Pecan Harvest Fest in small cities all over Western North Carolina.
  • I enjoy a fall wardrobe. I look better in sweaters and scarves, and they feel “cozy”. Bathing suit and bare legs season is over (thank god!) And, fortunately, orange, yellow and black clothing looks good on me.
  • Halloween is a great holiday. I like the scary ads and ghost stories, the Halloween pop-up stores, corn stalks, pumpkins, candy corn and parties. I don’t go to the haunted houses, but I read about them and might just get courageous enough to walk through one someday.
  • A fire in the fireplace on those first cool evenings is a special treat. The hypnotic flames, combined with the smell and warmth of a fire, makes me want to bundle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to James Taylor and Bruce Hornsby.
  • It’s time for crockpots and chili – my kind of comfort food! And, I love the strange looking squash, the thousand varieties of apples and the weird-shaped pumpkins that are everywhere – in stores, restaurants and at roadside vegetable stands.
  • It’s great to decorate the house with fun things … witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, candles, cinnamon brooms, door wreaths and mums. And, the color orange – a bold, optimistic and uplifting color – is everywhere you look!

Just one thing has been bugging me this fall. For the first time that I can recall, it dawned on me to question why this wonderful season – unlike the others – has two names: fall and autumn. If you don’t know the answer to this either, I found a blog that seems to provide an answer. It seems to be one of those British vs. American things!

Whether you call it fall or autumn – it’s a great time of year, so enjoy!

Cathy Green

 

I Hate Bras

This piece was submitted by guest blogger Ginny Callaway. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

Let me get that out of the way first thing.

I hate bras.

The first thing I do every day when I get home is take my bra off.

When I was in fifth grade, I was tall and very thin. Although I had already become a woman, I had no signs of physical maturity. All the places that would eventually become hairy were still smooth and my chest looked the same as it did when I was six.

Classmates were blossoming and budding, adding a rounded shape to our tailored shirtwaist uniforms. My uniform hung straight down from my wide shoulders to my small waist. No protrusions whatsoever.

Helen was in the same shape. We decided we’d do something about it, even if we got busted.

One Saturday, Helen and I walked from her house to a small shop specializing in clothes for young girls. We casually wandered through the dresses, blouses, sweaters, not wanting to seem too obvious in our mission. Slowly, indifferently, we made our way to the area where the bras were. We looked at them for a minute or two before actually touching one. Our eyes fell on what was called a “training bra.” Perfect. That’s just what we needed. Something to bring the reluctant dark pink circles on our chest to life. A bra to train our breasts how to behave. Now we’re talking.

We did have one problem. We only had enough money for one bra and there were two of us. But we didn’t see that as a problem. Helen would wear it for one week and I would wear it for the next week. It might take a little longer to train our buds to blossom, but we had time. A deal was struck and a bra was bought.

And it worked! By the end of fifth grade, little bumps were forming.

Then the unspeakable happened. My mother wanted to take me shopping for bras. As she said, “To cover your little marbles.”  Oh God, spare me. What could be more embarrassing? Marbles, Mom? Of all the words to choose…geez.

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Off we went to Robinson’s department store in Pasadena. After a tête-à-tête with the sales lady, a sampling of bras appeared in a dressing room. I tried them on. Guess which one fit? The training bra. My marbles needed more training. Fine by me, just get me out of there.

By fifteen, my tatas did grow and I was able to fill an A cup and the top of a tiny bikini.

By twenty, I was a long-haired, tie-dyed hippie. I abandoned wearing a bra. I didn’t burn them, just shoved them to the back of my top dresser drawer.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant that bras re-entered the picture. These were not training bras or petite A cup lingerie items with delicate pink flowers. These were honking garments complete with three rows of hooks in the back, inch-wide straps and drop down front doors. I don’t remember if those bras had cups sizes. Let’s just size I was now wearing size huge.

As I grew older, bras came and went in my life. As I aged, my body went from lithe to luscious, or more accurately, post-menopausal fat.

My boobs grew with me. These days, at 65, I go to the gym three times a week and horseback ride twice a week. I need a bra. But finding one with straps that don’t end up three inches off my shoulders in five minutes or squeeze my chest with military-grade wire is impossible.

So, Ladies, let me hear from you. Do you have THE bra that meets the above demands? I need your support.

– Ginny Callaway, Fabulous Over 60 Reader/Guest Blogger

Trying New Things

Getting out of our comfort zones gets harder every year. But the life coach in me gets crazy and starts admonishing myself to give new things a try. There are of course things, and things. Trying a new religion is hardly the same as giving up Essie’s Ballet Slippers as your favorite nail polish — but then again, we can get petty in older age if we are not careful turning nail polish (or whatever minor thing) into a major lifestyle issue.

Here are a few rather insignificant things I have tried this year — maybe they will amuse, motivate or amaze you. Start your own list to keep being fabulous. Yes, it can be a very short list. Go for 3 items. I did 6 so you would be motivated to take the next step. See this YouTube video on creating change — very interesting!

1. I never liked the way Spanx felt. Though of course the CEO is to be congratulated on her amazing journey to be the first self-made woman billionaire in the USA. Have tried and love the less expensive Heather Thomson “Yummie” items for keeping me trim.

2. Downloaded an app that really is simple and helpful — it is called The Vault. It keeps all usernames and passwords and other types of annoying but necessary rows of numbers or words so I can stop lamenting having to have them. Start the search for apps not by looking at lists of them, but writing down what drives you crazy – where is the nearest post office?  WHATEVER — trust me, there is an app for that! Apple and IBM are teaming up on apps now — got to be some great ones coming!

3. I cancelled plans to go to a family party due to an important shift in summer plans. I called and talked with the hostess. She lived. Most people constantly change plans — bet you know a few hundred. I don’t want to become a person who can’t be counted on by other fabulous women/men – most of whom believe if you make plans you keep to those plans — but commitment just for the sake of commitment sometimes just doesn’t make sense.

4. I have eliminated powder blush. If it’s been more than 2 years since you emptied the makeup drawer, take it all to a makeup counter of your choice (try a new one – just pick the woman or man who looks most patient) and decide with help what to keep, toss and otherwise change. Even if you do not want to spend large amounts on makeup, go at least once to a counter at a department store to learn — many of those women and men really do know what they are doing — although of course they are going to try to sell you. You are worth it and can use drug store brands once you learn what to do. Also see Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+

gloss book5. I stopped using my Kindle and went back to books while trying not to be embarrassed reading them anywhere but at home. Keeping my MacBook and iPhone but it only makes sense to carry a device like a Kindle or iPad to simplify reading – especially on trips. Am hoping to push myself to all digital magazines and newspapers. Not there yet but making progress.

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6. I no longer own a single suit. Anyone who hasn’t seen me in 5 years will not believe this and wonder what I did with the suits I owned (found them new younger homes). It was time not just to “weed out but to actually let go and re-create” some of my looks. Also I do keep weeding — I never buy something without letting something go in that same category.

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OK, your turn. Keep us posted!

 

 

 

I Miss My Hair

First, I need to admit that I have always had hair envy. In the 60’s, during my teenage years, it was fashionable to have long straight black hair like my friend Bonnie. Since both my mother and father had thick dark hair, by rights I should have had it too.

Cher Portrait

But no. I had thin, mousy brown hair … and even worse — it was wavy. Wavy was definitely not “groovy”. This was well before hot irons, so when my hair was wavy, it stayed wavy. Humidity was my bitter enemy.

I wrote a blog post last year about hair (do you think this might be an obsession?) and admitted to using an ironing board to straighten it at age 16. I’m lucky I didn’t scorch it beyond repair.

Now in my 60’s, my hair still gets wavy…and, of course, once again, straight hair is back in fashion. But that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that my already thin hair has gotten thinner.

A combination of getting older (which gets the blame for everything) and, until recently, an undiagnosed thyroid hormone issue (which is related to getting older, right?) are the culprits. I work with it … spending a lot of money and time on hair styling, coloring and “products”… and think I am doing pretty well. But I still worry that it could get worse one of these days.

Unfortunately, the hair on my head isn’t the only hair that is thinning. The truth is, hair all over my body has gradually disappeared. It happened slowly, but I began to realize a few years ago that I didn’t need to shave my legs or underarms as often as I used to. And my eyebrows didn’t seem to need as much tweezing.

So, you’d think that I would be happy about this lower maintenance, right? Well, I’m not.

I was talking to my friend Lizbeth recently as we sunbathed at a pool (yes, we wore bathing suits in front of people!). Out of the blue, she said … “Did your mother ever tell you that you would lose hair on your body in places you always had hair – and find it growing in places you didn’t, like on your chin? .. “No, I said, did yours?” It turns out that this was not a mother-daughter discussion that either of us had experienced, so neither of us expected these weird hair changes. (And those same mothers didn’t tell us about bigger ears, feet and noses — but that’s another blog post.)

Why didn’t they warn us about this so that we wouldn’t narcissistically think it was our own personal, never-before-experienced hair issue? Could it be that they thought it was their own personal, never-before-experienced hair issue?

If you are over 60 and losing hair and your mother never talked to you about it, consider this blog as something like a public service announcement … You are not alone!

Actually, we should probably feel lucky about these hair losses since it seems to be all the rage these days to get rid of every single bit of hair everywhere but on the head. Waxing, laser treatments and even a new “do it yourself” permanent hair removal tool (ouch!) that I saw advertised last week on late night television are all designed to save women from … god forbid … shaving armpits, legs or other parts. Men are getting in the act too. Smooth, hairless chests, backs and even “other areas” are apparently a big thing. No doubt the beauty industry is making a fortune.

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Maybe I should be thankful that I am back in style… Not much hair but without the pain.

Well, I’m not. I’d rather have my hair.

 

Photo credits: here and here

OMG – They Are Wearing THAT?

“OK young lady — you just march right up stairs and change into something more appropriate to go to Aunt Jane’s — and while you are there take off all that ridiculous makeup!!”

OK let’s wake up from the 50s and 60s. Even if we could bring ourselves to say something this archaic, it would have zero impact on the “listener”.

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Let’s start with the concept of “appropriate”. This word has disappeared from the language — very few people think there is such a thing as “being appropriately dressed”. From what I observe at airports, restaurants, religious events, concerts, graduations, family parties in the suburbs, and other venues is that many people – especially, but not limited to younger ones – do not grasp the concept of appropriate dressing.

Being appropriate means you choose and wear clothes not just because you like something or are comfortable in it, but to present yourself in a way that communicates to others. More specifically, presenting yourself to those hosting events, or owning establishments that work hard to please, that shows you care, appreciate the time and effort others put in, and want to celebrate or observe something important to others. Unless it is your own birthday party or wedding, one should spend some time thinking of how what you are wearing is perceived by others.

This of course is counter-cultural – the notion of ‘grab all the attention you can whenever you can’ seems to be the norm. “Being sexy is always a great look — man or woman — anytime, anyplace. If others don’t like it they are likely just jealous.” Or, at the other end, “I can’t be bothered to try to look a little pulled together — sure people used to care — but now — If I am OK with my ‘look’ the heck with anyone else.”

Is there a nice way for us to explain that neither extreme is appropriate? That both the “worship of sexy” look as well as the “I give up and will wear the same thing every day/year” look are EQUALLY inappropriate in most situations?

Let’s try to explain to some with the “hooker look” that it isn’t that the look is bad – it’s just that often times it is inappropriate; not thoughtful of how others see or perceive you given the setting. And, at the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider raising the standard a bit and trying a little harder to dress with care about yourself and others. Just being comfortable is not a universal rule that lets you off the hook from having standards about how you present yourself.

frumpy

In the modern age the term “appropriate” does not comprise a list of arbitrary dos and don’ts that went out with hoop skirts. It is not a moral command to resist being sexy. It is not being a prude or being a fancy pants person that should “chill out”. It is thinking and acting as if others’ sensibilities are valuable and important and should be respected. That’s really modern and fresh – paying some attention to what others think. OMG … really?

 

Photo credits: here, here, here and here

Evolving In Our 60s: More Than Just New Boots

While in California in the fall of 2013 I saw and fell in love with a one of a kind shoe store. The store was small, with unique handmade boots (and shoes) with bold designs and a personal touch.

photo

I got a pair of pumps and Cathy, though not with me, heard all about Artemis Boots and gained the pair of kick-ass boots you see above. Funny how what we just thought was fun – not ridiculously expensive but needed a bit of fashion updating – turned into a metaphor for our mid-60s.

When Cathy and I started FabulousOver60, we wanted to share what was different about “suddenly” being in our 60s. As typical overachieving forever-young boomers, how could this assault to our dignity have happened? We were a bit distraught over “aging” and also pretty exhausted from the long climb to what at the time seemed like the top of our professional mountains.

But sometime between 61 and now, the sting of turning 60 lessened and we stopped thinking every other minute about how we are aging and how we would soon look atrocious and frail and well… really, really OLD. We earnestly began our efforts at treating ourselves more kindly and softly, learning new skills – be it meditation, social media for industry pros or golf. All the while learning to breathe more often (all the time anyone?) and have a more balanced life. We also kept our businesses moving, albeit with a much softer hand and more outside help.

Our internal struggles – of wondering “where to next” and how to stop feeling guilty about whatever work we were, or were not doing – turned into our new and different lives. We started and stopped some new things, and over time honed a deeper understanding of where our hearts (and minds) are (versus ‘were’). We began to sense that our lives would be lived at a different pace — alternating leaps, bounds, and longer rest periods (unlike our previous style of going full speed ahead until we dropped, then partied, and then started the cycle all over again).

One thing we didn’t think when we turned 60 was that we would willingly get back on any kind of work treadmill — back in the saddle so to speak. We had traveled so frequently on business trips that hearing the words “fasten your seat belts” made us queasy. We didn’t think climbing mattered anymore. And it doesn’t. But working on what lights up our hearts/minds is not climbing — it is new focus on narrower objectives that are deeply personal, chosen with care, and meant to accomplish just what we want and need and no more.

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo

We may find that our new boots are getting us more exhausted than we planned. But unlike the last time when we were pooped in our late 50s, we aren’t going to say “never again”. Rather, we are going to say “how can I create a new approach to getting what I want, and what the world needs — right now in the present, and for as long as it is meant to last, and not a minute longer?

Burberry

Burberry

And of course, we’ll never stop looking for the next great boot!

Chanel

Chanel

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Chanel

Chanel

 

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