I have this tendency to like old things. I love old houses. I lived in one for the first twelve years of my life and cried like a baby when we moved into a newer ranch model. That home has imprinted my heart for life. Oh, how I miss the formal dining room with the big, bay window, the claw foot tub, the arched doorways...sigh. Good memories. Gooood memories. I like old furniture. Old, beat up, banged up, beautifully flawed furniture. I think it has character - it tells a story of a life fully lived. I like old people. My parents and mother-in-law are all old, after all. Just kidding moms! Example: My parents just don't have character - they are characters. Remind me to tell you about the year my sister got foot notes (the ginormous keyboard that lays on the floor and you play with your feet) for Christmas sometime. Good memories. Gooood memories. Funny thing about age, though - it seems like the older I get, the younger my parents seem.
Older houses and furniture, vintage jewelry and cars. Are they perfect? Pristine? Hardly ever. But I find something very comforting in them. I don't inspect each flaw they have. I tend to stand back and take the piece in as a whole. If I fixated on it's flaws then I wouldn't appreciate it's beauty.
Actually, it seems that new and perfect things tend to give me stress. I feel like I have to keep them that way and therefore can't enjoy them. Let me give you an example. Three years ago, when we moved from Florida to Indiana we decided to buy a new kitchen/dining room table. Remember, I haven't had a formal dining room since my day in that glorious childhood home. So, I found a great deal on this beautiful cherry wood table that had a self-storing leaf in it. Perfect! I swear, we hadn't had that thing no time at all before someone left a glass sitting on it and marred it for life. It now has this water ring towards the edge where it absolutely can not be covered up by a runner or place mats. I have tried every remedy on it I come across. I have even tried those furniture markers on it. Nothing works. My "perfect and pristine" table didn't stay that way long. It could have - as long as we never used it. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a table, though, doesn't it? Now I DO fixate on that flaw - to the point that I've thought about banging it up so the one flaw would blend into obscurity with all the others. A bit neurotic? Maybe. I'm a character, too. Anyway, I'm just trying to say that it is unrealistic expectations to think that things will always be perfect. And that's OK. Like I said before - I find comfort in "lived in" objects.
With all of this in mind, I am learning to apply these same principles to myself. I am my own worst critic. I am terribly flawed. Honestly, I think we all are. BUT, I tend to fixate on my flaws. I don't like the little lines that seem to be appearing on my face even though I read in one of my magazines recently where they took pictures of young, unwrinkled people and put their picture next to one of the same pictures that they had digitally added crows feet. They then did a poll asking people which person looked happier. Guess which one won? Yes! The one with the crows feet. My, you are a sharpie today! Evidently, people associate crows feet with laughter and therefore happiness. So, really, crows feet make you more beautiful, right? That's my theory anyway.
I don't like the gray hairs that keep appearing on my head. Actually, I try not to see them at all. That's why Revlon Medium Golden Brown is my new BFF. When it goes on sale at CVS, I stock up and hoard it for the future. Seriously. I have 2 boxes waiting on me in my cabinet right now. Hmmm...could that be another flaw?
Then there is the amount of weight I've gained. Good Lord, we won't even GO there!
And my boobs. I remember when I was a teenager my slightly off-center family and I (the women anyway) were having this discussion about how you know if your boobs are sagging. Does anyone else have these discussions? The verdict was if you could hold a pencil underneath your breast without dropping it, your boobs were starting to head south. I couldn't have held a straight pin underneath my ta ta's in those days. Now on the other hand - I could probably safely store a small jar of mayonnaise under them. That would probably make the mayonnaise spoil, though. So, maybe we ought not try that. Hey! Have you heard the one about the old lady who had been widowed and had no children? She was lonely so she wanted to commit suicide so she could be with her husband again. She asked someone how to do it and they told her to shoot herself behind her left breast. The newspaper headline the next day read, "70 year old woman enters ER with self-inflicted gunshot wound to the knee." Sometimes I see those breasts in my future.
Let's continue to talk about boobs for a while, shall we? When I lived in Florida before my child-birthin' days I worked with this really beautiful 30-something lady. I'll call her Hot Momma 'cause it's my blog and I can call her whatever I want. Hot Momma had a couple of boys and a live-in boyfriend that she had been with for years. She was crazy about him. The thing was, though, she was never secure in their relationship. She was always fixating on trying to look prettier and younger so he wouldn't find some younger/prettier model and trade her in. I'm guessing she probably had been burned pretty badly in the past. She ended up getting a breast augmentation thinking that this would be the act that sealed the deal with her man never leaving her. She must have thought that if she could just have the largest darn boobies any man had ever laid eyes on, she'd be set for life 'cause, let me tell ya, those suckers were HUGE. I mean the kind of huge that makes you look all deformed and think, "Awe, that poor woman" type of thing when you looked at her. I don't know what ever happened to them. I hope they are still together and happy. But what I do know is that no amount of silicone is going to keep those things where they were when we were 18 for very long.
I guess what I'm learning, and I believe that the Good Lord is the one helping me with this, is to start relaxing and cutting myself a break. Time happens. Outward beauty fades and no amount of surgery or silicone can fix it. Oh, we can try, but then we risk looking like Joan Rivers or Kenny Rogers. You know what I'm talking about - shiny, plastic, people. Just like old, flawed furniture is full of beauty - so are humans. Even me. I have GOT to stop fixating on my flaws or else one day you'll read a headline about me that says, "70 year old woman enters ER with gunshot wound to left knee."
Really, wouldn't we enjoy life more if we stopped focusing on what was wrong with us, our husband, our kids, our economy, our home, or any of the other 50 thousand things that want to frustrate us in a day and began to focus on the things we love about them? I've been trying to work on this in my life and it makes a huge difference. I'm much more relaxed, joyful, and at peace than ever before.
I still am not thrilled with the lines I see on my face. I just try to put them into perspective. They are mapping a story of my life - every tear I've shed, every time I've laughed until my stomach hurt - it's all right there. Truthfully, I love my life and I don't want to forget the details. Even if it means that I'm storing them on my face like some new-fangled hard drive. Hmmm...just a thought here. Could it be that because it is a memory storage system the life is remembered on the face 'cause the brain doesn't too great of a job after a while? Something to think about (while you still can)!
I still don't like the stretch marks on my stomach. I just try to remember that those are battle scars - every one a tribute to the life it carried.
Do I often wish that I didn't have to fold my boobs to get them into my bra? Certainly. But I try to keep in mind that these are the same breasts that nursed a husband. I mean baby. Yeah, these are the same breasts that nursed a baby.
So, I leave you with a challenge today - the same one I'm giving myself. Determine to cut yourself (and those around you) a break. You don't have to be perfect. Actually, I love the header on Nester's blog: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Boy, that's the truth. Let's work on appreciating what's before us and living life to the fullest each and every day - crows feet and all.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!