Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vanity, thy name is......

I wear make-up and earrings when I work out. Well, I did until very recently. The day I left the house naked--in terms of foundation and mascara, I mean--was a day to be circled in bright red on my calendar.

And, at age 63, it only happened within the past year.

I also wouldn't wear a bathing suit once I couldn't camouflage the spread all women inherit around the midsection no matter how much we work out to try to work it off. (And if you think it won't happen to YOU, well, I'm afraid for you as you age.) If I ever discover who we inherited it from, blood will be let, mark my words. And don't even get me started about my hair. Breezes best not blow around me, enough said.

One day, though, I listened to a friend lament the fact that her hair was messed up. Never mind the fact that gale force winds were afoot that day. We all looked like cartoon characters who had just emerged from a wind tunnel, but this woman thought the wind should by-pass her. Just her. She even separated herself from the rest of us in order to protect her hairstyle. Lot of fun SHE was.

But the incident later smacked me in the face as I got ready for my afternoon workout in a roomful of other sweaty people, both men and women. I wasn't checking out THEIR make-up and hair. (I was assessing the fitness of the men in the room, though, if you know what I mean.) We all had shown up in this location because we care about our health, a trait to be admired. Sweaty, wrinkled clothes and all. We come in all shapes and sizes, with unique body shapes and features that have nothing to do with our worth as people.

To hold ourselves accountable for stray hair blown in the breeze, or all those "fine lines and wrinkles" that appear on our faces, or a bit of cellulite as we age, seems to be a tad arrogant, elitist. "YOU look fine at the gym bare-faced, but NOT me, no way, never! I'M special in some way. "

So, today I might put a little color on my cheeks before I go lift a few weights and get my heart rate up on that moving stair thing that kicks my butt, just so I don't scare people. But, in my 64th year, I have come to accept myself on face-value (pun intended) and I also accept everyone around me the same way. We're unique, we're busy, and we just happened to find ourselves in the same place at that particular moment to make sure we stay healthy and fit as we age.

No earrings, though? Give me another decade for that one.

I have been vain since birth. I expected other people to like what I did, although my vanity has definitely diminished over the years.
Wallace Shawn 

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