Yesterday was my birthday. Thirty-two. When I was twenty-two, that seemed so old. Not old like granny glasses and a housecoat, but old like granny panties and mom jeans. I guess I wasn’t so far off with my one hundred percent cotton nude-colored hipsters and Wal-Mart jeggings. At twenty-two, I thought anyone over the age of twenty-nine must have it all figured out – a house, insurance, fancy car, shiny hair, well-manicured nails, fashionably dressed kids and don’t get me started on responsibility (teachers! Having to deal on a weekly/daily basis with teachers scared me to death!). What I didn’t think about was that the process of aging had really begun way back then, and reared its ugly head right around the ripe, responsible age of thirty . . . and kept going. It never occurred to me that I was going to age at all. At one point around twenty-five I thought about using eye cream, then laughed at myself. I’m not laughing anymore. Shoulda coulda woulda.
As I sit here typing away with my semi-arthritic hands and dual carpal-tunnel syndrome (and the heating pad at my lower back), I glance at my brittle nails (one of which broke last night at this same keyboard) and admonish myself for not doing a better job keeping up with even the most minute beauty routines; after all, the more work you put in, the more you get out of a job well done. I keep my toenails painted and wear makeup every day, but neither of these is done well. As a matter of fact, I only recently found out that I was doing all my makeup backwards and incorrectly. How do I get to be thirty-two without knowing that concealer goes on after the foundation? Or that I should be wearing a primer before foundation as opposed to not at all? Or that they (being the beauty powers that be) make something called eyebrow powder that one can brush into and on top of eyebrows to make sparse, fine brows look well kept? Or that bronzer is a product that women use to look healthy and not just tanned. And here I was thinking only Teresa from RHONJ used bronzer (and we all know she uses every other product out there, all at the same time and mostly on her eyes. Will we ever get to see her sans makeup?).
As I blow dry my hair stick straight solely to make it look like I am at least attempting some semblance of "getting ready" and use hairspray only to tame my flyaways at my forehead to keep me from looking like Alfalfa, I am reminded that I am light years away from twenty-two (I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling thirty-two oooh-oooh ooh-ooh.). No teasing, no braiding, no texturizing and no awesome products in this hair. Not even a decorative barrette, unless you, like me, think a plain bobby pin is accessorizing. And jewelry? Only on rare occasions will I change my earrings from my small studs that exist to cover up the pierce holes to something a little more fancy, like the Meijer $3-on-clearance dangly rock-looking ones I seem to favor.
Don’t get me started on the difference in clothing, either. I’ve never been a fashion horse, but I think there was a time in my mid-twenties when I had a little more self-respect. Cute jeans, tighter shirts, heels. Now? The aforementioned jeggings are as fashionable as I get. Sometimes I’ll wear a pushup bra. And boots. That’s hot. But not just a pushup bra and boots. That’s not. Shudder. I recently caught sight of my not twenty-two-year-old body in the Kohl’s fitting room while I tried on cute dresses (no, I wasn’t having fun. I was looking for a nice interview outfit in the hopes that I find a job). Lo and behold, I must not have seen myself in a full-length mirror in years because guess what I was surprised with? My thighs were folding over my knees (just there I originally typed knewws. See the eww, as in, gross? Subconsious disgust). How did I go all summer wearing shorts and feeling semi-decent about myself with fat folds on my knees? (Jeez, did it again. Knewws. That’s what I’ll call ‘em from now on.)
I’m old now. Time for wrinkle creams, gloppy moisturizers and wearing a scarf on my head while I sleep to keep my fine, dry, elderly strands from breaking while I toss and turn with aches and pains. No more time in the sun for me. The last two summers have given me four wrinkles on my upper chest and a great many dirty birdy feet near my eyes. I have melasma on my forehead and upper lip. I can’t jump on the trampoline without feeling every ounce of my body jiggling around like pudding beneath my skin and without my back aching for hours. I can wear only sensible shoes now – flats, flip-flops, clogs and slippers (and all in wides). I tried wearing heels the other day for an important appointment and found myself carrying them while I walked through three levels of a parking garage in my pantyhosed feet (that dates me, too, doesn’t it? Does anyone besides the Duchess of Cambridge wear pantyhose anymore?).
Enter my cousin-in-law Mariah – a gorgeous gal and creator of the popular YouTube vlog, The Gal’s Guide (http://www.youtube.com/user/thegalsguide) – a guide for fashion, beauty and all things in between, it seems. Picture a beautiful Barbie doll with brains, personality and all the beauty knowledge a single person could possibly have . . . and then some. Just what a thirty-two-year-old mama needs to freshen her look when she needs it most. My favorite tutorial of hers is her ‘no-makeup’ makeup look. This is where I learned I am a four-year-old when it comes to beauty (watching her curl her eyelashes was a real eye-opener for me. Pun intended). Mariah is the epitome of fashionable. Every video finds her looking flawless and effortlessly put together. She is what I aspire to be in my down time (you know, when Hubby and I get to go on a date for about four hours every six months or so and pretend we are stylish and modern and young) and luckily for me, she gives lessons on how I can be just like her. Her vlog is my new obsession. Maybe she can add a little something about how she stays so thin, or how her skin is so perfect in the Florida sun and dry AC, or how a mama can do it all/have it all without missing a beat, or how . . . never mind, now I just sound jealous of her youth.
The point, if there has to be one, is that one cannot turn back the hands of time. Luckily there are plenty of young women out there willing to help the elderly cross the road or apply foundation with a brush.