Shoes. Whether you’re into high, strappy sandals or stomp-the-earth combat boots, women love shoes. Heck, I even named my blog, “Stilettos Not Required!” I have so many shoes that my husband expects to find me buried in my closet under a pile of wedges and platforms one day. But lately, my higher heels have been just for show. I wear comfortable shoes to drive and walk in, and then, if it’s a special occasion, I bring sexy heels to change into. I can sit in heels all day. International shoe maven Taryn Rose is all about sexy AND comfortable. She’s an orthopedic surgeon, so she knows how to keep the foot from being tortured. But she’s a fashionista and, she’s short…so high heels are her thing. Pain is not. Sexy, comfortable shoes, on Keep it Juicy.
A few weeks ago, I posed for a publication that I write for and I did it with no makeup. The magazine, Skirt, is one I write for regularly and this was their “Age Is Not An Issue” issue. So, I trusted them when they asked me to pose with no makeup. I even talked a friend into doing it with me.
Afterward, I heard lots of “how brave” comments. My friend and I were on the older end of the photo shoot spectrum. The youngest was a reality TV star who has done some modeling and the ones in between could all be models, if they aren’t already.
So maybe the comments were because I was an old broad without apology and without blush. As though I had shown not just my makeup-free face, but some more intimate part of myself.
That was not comfortable. Not the photo shoot itself, although the photographer was lovely and won my trust. And not the notion that my face was so shockingly bare that people thought I was brave to show the world what I really look like.
So, not comfortable. But it was not brave.
Here’s what’s brave:
The woman who survived a childhood as a Rwandan refugee and grew up to write the beautiful, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Brave is anyone who has kicked cancer’s ass, and anyone whose ass has been kicked by cancer.
Brave is anyone who deals with depression or mental illness and is still here and still fighting.
People who have been kicked in the teeth by love but still believe that true love is out there? They are brave.
People who have been bullied or abused who figure out a way to make that violence stop before it gets its oily fingers on another generation. Those people are brave.
And if you stand up to a bully or an abuser, whether you’re the one being abused or whether you just see it happening? That’s brave.
It’s brave to take the time to talk with a homeless person, especially if you stop long enough to make eye contact.
People who figure out what it is that scares the hell out of them – could be jumping out of an airplane, could be public speaking – and goes ahead and does it. They’re brave.
Anyone who has the grace to speak honestly but kindly is brave.
All of those things are brave. But showing my face without makeup? That’s not so brave. I may look more tired than normal in that photo or older. But it’s not a brave face.
Depending on my mood, I’m likely to say that I just have big bones, or obsess about whether that freckle is melanoma. Usually these extremes come when I’m stressed out and angry that my body is demanding attention when I’m so freaking busy. Dr. Heather Bartos, talks about how nobody is the boss of our body but us…and how sometimes we abdicate that responsibility to doctors or loers or that tub of ice cream. Taking control of your weight and your health, on Keep it Juicy!
Let’s talk social media. Not the Russian infiltration or the zombie screen-starers it has made of all of us. I want to talk torture by my friends, wonderful people who ought to know better.
First, I have a confession to make: I didn’t get you anything for your birthday. You and I don’t have that kind of relationship.
I do celebrate the day you were born – you wouldn’t be my friend if I didn’t feel that way. But we don’t have the kind of friendship where we get each other birthday gifts.
So, why, I have to ask you, did you think I would send money to your favorite charity in lieu of the gift I was never going to get you?
If you’re like me, your social media feeds are filling up with virtue. This friend and that friend are saying that, for their birthday, they are raising money for their favorite charity. Well, bully for them.
I have my own charities. They’re meaningful to me because of the things I’m passionate about. Animals. Children. The environment. And when I am feeling charitable, I give to them. But I’m not expecting my passions to be yours. You do you.
Now, I know my friends and I love them. So, I know this all comes from a good place. But I can’t help but feel cranky about all the virtue showing up on my feed. I want to know about your life and your kids and even your job, but stop asking me for money!
In fact, I thought I had invented the phrase “charity shaming” but the urban dictionary tells me someone got there before me, so I’m apparently not the only person getting tired of the more-charitable-than-thou stuff on social media.
We spend our whole lives trying to avoid loss — especially the ultimate loss, death. So we’re talking about death and other losses. Sounds fun, fight? Well, actually…our return guest, Dr. Andrea Brandt says death is really just a good way to get perspective on life. She says that death…and loss? They’re gifts. And, since you can’t return them, you might as well enjoy them! The gifts of death and loss on Keep it Juicy!
Confession time. I am reading six books at the same time.
Last time, I talked about how I have FOMO – or the fear of missing out. So, you might think that I’m greedily reading all of these books because I’m afraid of missing out on something.
But, the truth is, the books are all for different reasons.
There’s the book that I’m reading for sheer pleasure; for a book club (the book When that I mentioned is for the book club) ; the autobiography that takes forever to finish; the one that’s going to be a movie soon; the book about the craft of writing; the one that’s teaching me about Ayurvedic health; and sometimes, there’s even a seventh book if a podcast guest is also an author, so I can bone up before I interview them.
And, that doesn’t even count the two daily newspapers, and the countless magazines that I’ve learned to get digital subscriptions for so I don’t kill more trees.
So why do I read so much stuff?
First of all, I love to read. I’ve always loved to read. I don’t read because of FOMO – the fear of missing out. It’s more like FOGS – the Fear of Getting Stupid.
The older I get, the more I worry that my knowledge will decrease. Or get out of date.
I can handle if my body changes with age. Well, I’m not thrilled about it, but I can handle it. But the thing that scares me the most is losing mental agility.
So I try to keep learning things. And I read. A lot.
What is it you do to keep your mind sharp? I can’t be the only one. Anyone else out there facing FOGS – the fear of getting stupid?
I have lots of friends who are writers, or who want to be writers. We wonder what magic dust has been sprinkled over successful writers, and we want to know the clues. Best-selling author Beverly Donofrio knows about that magic dust – and guess what, it’s not magic. It’s hard work and rewriting and then even more rewriting. Beverly has written lots of books, but she first burst onto the scene with Riding in Cars With Boys, which became a movie starring Drew Barrymore. Since then, she’s written memoirs, children’s fiction, and she’s written essays in the New York Times, LA Times, Oprah Magazine, and Slate. Living a juicy writing life, on Keep it juicy!
FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. I think it’s a marketing term like BOGO, you know, Buy One, Get One. But, while everyone wants to BOGO, no one wants to FOMO.
I think FOMO originated as a term when we got so many choices through social media that people began bouncing like ping pong balls between social engagements, never staying at any one party because something cool might be happening at the next one.
FOMO is the opposite of living a juicy life because you’re never really enjoying the life you have – you’re always acquiring more.
What FOMO is not is a bucket list. It’s not all the things you want to do before you die. It’s all the things you want to do right now.
I started my career as a journalist and I was really careful about staying objective. And then, I moved over to public relations, but I was still careful. The words I wrote might be close to what I felt, but they were never my words. In both jobs, my creativity was harnessed in service of someone else’s vision.
So when I threw all that aside and moved to Charleston, I decided to dive into the creative well and just let it splash all over me. So much to do.
My mom died fairly young – she was 72, and that seems young to me. Did she have that sense of so much to do, so little time left? Because I hear that drumbeat beneath everything I do.
I don’t want to do anything later. I want to do it all now.
The kind of FOMO that people talk about that comes with the distraction of social media prevents you from being truly present, because you’re always looking ahead to the next.
I feel like what I have is not FOMO – I’m not scared of missing out. It’s more BIO. Bring it on! Or maybe BOTJ….Bring on the juicy!
We’re not children anymore, but the stuff that happened to us as children can still have a big impact on our lives. It can block us from living the life we want and it can block us from finding the love we need. And childhood trauma can really kick up a fuss when we try to manage the transitions that are part of being the age we are now. Certified relationship and life coach Riana Milne talks about traumas and transitions.
I was reading a book by business writer and nice guy Daniel Pink. It’s called “When,” and it talks cites a bunch of studies about the best times to do things…from scheduling big meetings to delivering bad news.
It’s a cool book – well, Daniel Pink is a cool guy and yes, I have actually met him. In fact, I may do a whole thing on this book in the future, but for now, I want to focus on one part.
So, in one part of the book, Pink says we have three stages of life…the launch, which gets us from childhood to young adulthood; the harsh reality stage, when life slams us with setbacks and sadness, along with some triumphs. And, finally, the final bittersweet stage.
That last stage starts around age 60 or so.
And the scientists found that the last stage is a time in which the number of friends drops.
You might think that’s sad, but you have to look more closely at the data from the researchers – and they are from the Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University, in case that kind of thing matters to you. Anyway, these researchers say that it’s not that older people lose friends. It’s more that they EDIT friends. Because there are friends and then there are FRIENDS.
First, there are the kinds of friends who are like family. The womb-to-tomb kind of friends. Those friends, we keep. And, then there are the other friends. The Facebook friends. The nod-to-at-the-grocery friends. The friends you only see at yoga class. Those friends? We start to shed them like a snake sheds its skin.
And it’s not just that these friends drift away. We actively delete them. The researchers say the closer we get to the end of life, the more we narrow in to what’s really important in friendships, and that means fewer, but deeper, friendships.
Interestingly, this phenomenon was true for any ending, not just the end of life. End a job? Suddenly your lunch companion isn’t around anymore, and that’s fine. Graduate? Your study buddy isn’t on speed dial. It’s natural.
I did an episode of my podcast, Keep it Juicy!, on decluttering recently. It’s all about getting rid of the stuff that brings you down and doesn’t bring you joy. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it. Don’t be the family caretaker of all the memories. Stuff isn’t people, so have a yard sale.
All of that makes sense.
Except when it doesn’t.
Now, maybe I haven’t reached that final stage yet. I’m not quite 60, although I can certainly see it waiting around the corner.
So, no, I’m not talking about the kinds of “frenemies” that you need to get rid of, pronto, no matter what stage of your life you’re in.
I moved to a city where I don’t know anyone. If I didn’t want to stay inside the house staring at my husband – and he would have started making references to The Shining after Day One – I had to meet people. I had to make new friends.
I can’t say they are my soulmates like Liz, my very best friend from college days. But they are fun, I care about these people, and they end our dates with “I love you,” so there’s at least some mutual affection.
I’ve been here for about five years. And maybe I just got in the habit, but I still feel that every new person I meet could be a friend. I still get excited when I click with a new person and we make a date to get coffee. I’m not editing, I’m adding.
I like to think of it as building up a valuable collection.
And I don’t feel like these friendships clutter up my life or that I need to edit them.
I’m like a magpie, collecting soft things for my nest. Not every friendship is going to meet every need. But someday, some quirky emotion will have me pulling a particular friendship out of the nest and it will be just exactly what I need right then.