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Renewing, Refreshing, Reinventing

My New "3 R's" and Finishing Strong in 2020

Sometimes I appreciate being enlightened and embrace the opportunity to regroup during this weird time in our history, and sometimes I don't. This is the year we will always refer to with an "ugh"...the year 2020. Don't worry...I understand challenging life circumstances and never ending, repetitive to-do lists can be stressful and introspective by nature, regardless of the timeframe. I also understand self care is perhaps more vital now than ever, so I'm ministering to myself by putting these thoughts into words. Random or related, the following revelations are especially relevant for me as this singular summer draws to a close.

Lotions and Ointments and Creams...Oh My!

I refuse to total the time and money represented here...

Self care equals skin care, right? My Southern mother preached on how Southern women should take care of their skin. (And goodness gracious, don't neglect your neck and decolletage!) Judging by the amount of time and money we spend, we care about this. But how did I collect so many "products" all of a sudden?

In looking back, I see it was actually not "sudden" at was a slippery slope!! The Slippery Slope of Aging. Renewing, Refreshing, Regenerating in a tube, tub or pump bottle. Why do all of these tubes, tubs and pump bottles now read "anti-aging," "age-defying," "redefining," "rejuvenating"? Line reducing eye creams, replenishing serums, lip conditioners, eye shadow primers to lessen the effect of sagging eyelids. And why is every part of my body now suddenly dry? (and I do mean every part, ladies...haha) Root Rescue's strongest attribute is 100% gray coverage (ugh). Creams to lighten brown spots and lotions to darken scary white legs. Ointments to make joints feel like new. Gels to whiten tarnished teeth (can we say "coffee" and "red wine"?). Masks for my face, masks for my color-treated hair. How did I get here? Did it always take me this long to get ready for bed?? (no...sigh...)

Update: Since publishing this earlier this week, I got a great tip from Cool Cousin. She says she makes herself use up one product before she buys/tries another. That made me realize my pile of products was growing because I wasn't readily letting go what didn't work (or I didn't like) soon enough. Saving them for a backup (whatever that means)? Feeling guilty for throwing them in the trash? Plus, I'm simply a sucker for advertising! So unless they are prescribed for a specific purpose, I think it's time to "Marie Kondo" my bathroom drawer (scroll down for explanation). No more "free samples" unless they are products I already love and I can tuck them in my travel bag. Lo and behold, pump bottles stuffed way in the back of the cabinet can be cleaned out and find new life in workout bags or other rooms. I also vow to avoid Ulta...for now.

One last thought or two on this matter...I can't believe Brooke Shields is 54!!!! (yikes) I still found this article interesting, as well as inspiring. (Especially the subhead..."The message is clear: Older women are hot.") And if Oprah says it, it must be true. ;)

Perhaps this makes me feel better about getting sucked in and explains why there are so many products to begin with...we are a growing market with buying power. Key word...power.

Screen Time...or Scream Time??

I'm over it. Can I get a witness? Somewhere along the way we all started texting, not just the teens. All the time. For everything. And sometimes even calling it "talking." Have you talked to your sister lately? Yes! (Well, we texted.) Have you heard back from the doctor/accountant/dentist/hairdresser about your appointment? Yes...they texted...and asked for a Y or N reply if I was coming. (I just made that appointment this morning and it's tomorrow...yes, I'm coming...) Do we know if the Zoom meeting on Monday is still happening? Yes...we got a group text. Along with a funny GIF and an referral request for a good handyman. I have shared the simplest of grocery lists and cut the most complicated of real estate deals entirely by text. How do we turn it off? Can we turn it off? Articles recommend we manage our techhie tools, rather than letting them manage us. But HOW???? Turn it off. RIGHT.

It's been studied in recent psychology how marriages and relationships have been tested by the working/doing school from home model since COVID-19 redefined daily life back in March. Mine is being tested by Facebook. More specifically, the constant, always accessible, always-being-refreshed videos on Facebook. Many of them clever, informative, entertaining...but ALWAYS there for the consuming. Morning, noon, and night. First thing when we wake up, and the last thing before going to sleep. This reflexive and impulsive habit in my household (and car and elevator and and and) can turn me into a witchy nag in a nanosecond. With nowhere to go and not much else to occupy our time when we are not working, Facebook stands ready to fill the gap. Willingly, with as many ads as your brain can process at one time, generated instantly from whatever you were just looking at online a few minutes ago. And it's not going anywhere any time soon, people.

I jealously applaud some friends who have taken a break for all the right reasons. I have personally committed to participation or administration on a few closed FB groups vital to my well being or business, so I can't remove myself completely (yet) without consequences I'm not willing to accept (yet). However, there are a few things we can do to tame Facebook's hold over us (the hold we willingly gave it) and lots of articles offering good, healthy advice. Below is just one of them. Hey, Mark Z, we're on to you!!

Liberation in Letting Go I used to make fun of Marie Kondo while simultaneously watching her blockbuster book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, dominate the Best Seller list week after week. So, what's the big deal? Well, when all our parties and fund raisers and reunions and Bible Study meetings and other in-person gatherings got cancelled or forced onto Zoom, I had some time on my hands. (At least I did back then.) Plenty of room in life now for cleaning out closets, re-organizing drawers and home office shelves, basically what many of us Type-A's were doing to kill time and feel good about ourselves while we were stuck inside. So I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

As a Christian, I don't believe inanimate objects have a personality or a soul, so I was prepared to be skeptical about her approach. How can a t-shirt or shoe "spark joy" or a sock have feelings on how they are folded or stuffed into a drawer? Do I really have to thank and honor an item for its role in my life? Well, turns out, it really doesn't matter. Her system of placing clothing items where you can see them all at once in a drawer literally rocked my world. I "magically" realized how much less I can live with (at least right now when I'm not going anywhere or seeing anyone). Her philosophy (which she has now expanded into a business empire, brilliantly branded KonMari), combined with the dramatic reduction in my calendar engagements, revitalized and reinvented my relationship with stuff. As women, we can relate to how an outfit or piece of jewelry can make us "feel," right? Well, it turns out that "feeling" (or lack thereof) can also give us permission to find it a better home. If we truly cherish the person who gave us a gift, or the memory represented by a souvenir or photo, that's eternally more priceless than the item itself. Domo arigato, Marie!

Revival and Renaissance

My hammock happy place at Brac Reef 2013

At the risk of sounding desperate, my soul and spirit long for a retreat. One where someone or Someone pours into me, refreshes me, fills me with peace and rest. I fantasize almost daily about running off to Canyon Ranch (my generic reference to any indulgent health spa) or Cayman Brac (the location of the most recent Christian women's retreat I attended) to replenish my faith and maybe even relinquish a little fat. This is similar in mentality to the imperative need for professionals to take a vacation.

I know I'm in a bad mood more often these days than Past Me, and I don't like that person when she shows up as Present Me. I know why she's making regular appearances right now, and I know this weird time in our history will pass. I also know God is on my side and my closest compadres and prayer warrior sisters are in this boat with me, so we are never navigating these waters alone. Small respites such as staying in touch with optimistic and loving friends, regular quiet time, exercise, and filling my mind with uplifting books, podcasts and television all help keep me from jumping off the proverbial ledge. So does being super productive, solving problems big or small, and trying to make some money! But sitting on a mountain or a deserted tropical island by myself for 3-4 days also sounds pretty darn good sometimes.

When the world comfortably and completely opens up again, I dream of gathering all my marvelous mavens at the most relaxing, rejuvenating, resurrecting retreat we've ever experienced. Until then, I will rest in your inspiration and stay the course until we can finally ring in 2021 and reimagine what a real year is really supposed to look like. Together. In person.

With no more gray hair, beautiful fake tans and reduced lines and wrinkles, of course. I'll text you the details.


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