A little long, but here are my thoughts on being 37.
I love 37. Not the number, but that sweet year that sits in the middle of the 35 and 40. Most of the time I don’t remember I am 37, I could be 38, but when I sit down and actually count it, I am still 37. I am amazed by how great a year it has been for me, and when I think about why, I realize there are many reasons.
First of all, I guess I have come through the grief of being done with my childbearing years, which hit me awfully hard. While I am certainly not past my expiration date in that area, our family is done. I loved being pregnant (more so in hindsight, of course) and I loved the sweetness of having babies in the house. Thankfully, the joy of having well potty trained, independent, school aged people has helped me overcome that grief, and our two wonderful little people fill me with such happiness. Having a houseful of people who sleep through the night (most days), rise, dress and wipe themselves is a great thing.
In addition to the happiness my family brings me, my body brings me joy these days. Stay with me, and keep your thoughts pure here. I am speaking in the most wholesome of senses. I am thin, long legged and small chested and for some reason I just figured all that out this year. I have looked pretty dumpy in pictures for years (and probably in real life but since I only see myself in pictures, well there you are). I spent high school and college in the late 80s and 90s, so I figure I am not entirely to blame, but shame on me for staying there so long. We took our family on an epic adventure last fall and against the picturesque backdrop of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, there I was all 110 pounds of me, in too short, tapered leg jeans that appeared to come to just under my previously disparaged breasts. Think Urkel. I looked dumpy and honestly, kind of like an olive on a toothpick. The next shot was in front of a buffalo, and everyone else was suitably dressed in camouflage, and there I am in a $3 cherry red tank top with camping hair. If as they say, the camera doesn’t lie, I learned it also isn’t afraid to be a bit catty. It was just the wake up call I needed, and after many episodes of self help reality TV, I have realized size matters.
I have completely rethought my wardrobe and grooming, and while I am not in full hair and makeup 24 7, I am not so strict in adhering to my low maintenance principles that I don’t try to look my best most days (especially if there is a camera in my future). My pants are now long enough, never tapered and closer to my navel. My shirts are closer fitting, better colors and more likely to have been picked because they are flattering, not just because they are on sale. My, ahem, girl parts, can be enhanced with a good bra, but also allow me to be more daring with plunging necklines since there is no worry that any actual cleavage will pop out.
I have looked for makeup that works for me, especially since 37 took me back to my (mostly) natural blond from the red hair that had crowned me since I was 29. Amazingly, I rediscovered for the first time since I was 15 that makeup is fun. There are so many fun and funky new products, and I am no longer afraid that wearing fun makeup makes me less serious. I have a serious career, and while there is a respectability that goes with that, shimmery lip-gloss won’t get me fired at this point. I also did something about the changing condition of my skin, besides complain, and despite the irritation of adding untold number steps to my morning routine, my skin feels fabulous. It glows.
And I feel like, for a change, I glow too. And despite dressing better, caring for myself a little better and spending a lot more money on moisturizer and makeup (damned Sephora.com), that’s not why I glow. For the first time in a long time I am really happy with me. My body serves me well, I like it, and I am comfortable with who I am and what I am doing. I’m not embarrassed or apologetic anymore about what I have and how I got here – I got here through hard work and sacrifice and I don’t really care if people assume otherwise. I have 2 months left in 37, and I can’t wait for 38.
And here is one of my favorite pictures of the girls.
the picture of the girls is so cute – they look like girls who are comfortable with who they are, too. just like their momma.
I must use the “oh-so-overused” phrase-YOU GO GIRL
Jenine…that picture of your daughters is P.R.I.C.E.L.E.S.S! And, after just turning the big 3-0 (bear with me…I’m not whining but rather enjoy the fact that I have entered a new decade) thoroughly enjoyed your ‘ode to 37.’ There is definitely something to be said for owning and appreciating the body you were given.
Jenine – what a neat article. And all this time I actually did think you were a blonde! You just can’t fool an old used up audit partner. Love you web/blog site.
OK,What’s so funny about this is I have just gone through this same revelation myself. I look absolutely scandalous in most photos. And I just have to start paying attention to how I look. I am starting with make-up and trying to wear it to work everyday. The next step will be buying new clothes occasionally. What inspired this was not age, but my coworkers. When I got on those TV shows they were like, “Oh, we had to rewind our Tivos, we didn’t recognize you because you looked so good.” They meant well.