Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mirror, mirror, on the wall....

The mirror does not lie...
it reflects
with startling accuracy
and if I catch a glimpse of myself
I quickly look away!

I do not like to look of the stranger staring back at me.

I never have been comfortable having pictures taken either...
(I have posted a few carefully edited here on the blog,
which took courage and encouragement )

I am generally happy, have an amazing family, wonderful friends,  a roof over my head, a great job that I love and so far, few aches and pains.
Life is good.
(pinch me)

Grateful for so many wonderful and simple things...
I take nothing for granted.
(cancer has touched our lives too many times)

So why am I entertaining
or relating these thoughts?

not of a new bag or a pair of shoes...
stuff that is well, for want of a word, more real.

I am curious how you are transitioning into the body of an older woman.
Is what's inside in sync with what is outside?

Am I alone with this thought?

I do feel "young" for my 56 years.

I spend hours in solitude, weeding the garden and listening quietly to thoughts as they bubble up and surface.

I feel that I might be clinging to an ideal of youth that is long passed it's best before date!

We all know a wise woman who is comfortable in her own skin....therein lies our hope.
She's the woman that we study from across the room. 
Observing her classic outfit and simple, yet elegant, jewels.

As she converses she smiles broadly showing off her laugh lines,  as if they were her newest and chicest accessory!
There's a twinkle in her eyes...they sparkle across the room.
She is not sleep walking through life, she is energetic and vital...she has energy.
She's the gal whose been to the latest Gallery exhibit, is currently reading a best seller, and has just been on, or is planning a fabulous trip. 
She could be an active board member or a volunteer, she may play bridge or be a weekly lawn bowler.
She has dates and events scribed on her social calendar.

Balance is key,
she is wise enough to know when to take a nap or a weekend off.

If there was an image for the definition of wisdom and grace it would look just like her.

There is an art to aging gracefully...I would love to know the secret.
a few things come to mind...

Embracing Joy whole heartedly will help transition the obvious physical changes.

While lowering expectations might be a quick way out I will not give over to polyester pull on pants and will continue to dress with an eye for what is current, comfortable and not clingy!

Acceptance and knowing limits.

Make an art of everyday domestics they are comfortable rituals.

Rest, hydrate, relax...


Movement is a Must! "Use it or Lose it"keeping those muscles elastic and strong and ward off osteoporosis.

Trying something new to stimulate the grey cells which goes a long way to revving up enthusiasm.
Reinvent yourself!

Shake up what might be routine and add some spice to life...bring on the cajun, and pepper!

Seek out beauty in all things....

Take yourself less seriously and laugh more often, even if you laugh at yourself. 
Self deprecating humour has it's value!

turn that mirror around

Let your years shine bright and radiate...
wisdom does come with age!
Enjoy the person that you aspire to be...
fake it until you make it and the rest, my dear, is history!

A perfectly decent dress for a sunny day of errands
pale bare legs
painted toes 
in pretty sandals.

I am simply putting one foot in front of the other and going about the rounds.
Greeting those that I meet
with a smile
not judging
taking time to chat with those that I encounter
when doing business
helping when opportunities present themselves.

Heart felt thanks...
in gratitude
I am your Humble Hostess

Mary Engelbreit
said it best.

"Bloom Where You are Planted"

P.S. Do not forget my giveaway
I posted it yesterday
good luck!


  1. From both your wise and thoughtful words and your lovely photos, you appear to be a graceful, lovely lady already.

    I think the very thoughts you muse on here are a key to graceful aging as well...they show a beautiful depth in your heart.

    Hope your day is as lovely as you are!:)

  2. weight

    - these three make a huge difference. Costly, lots of an effort, time consuming ... but definitely worth it! And it remains the goal ahead of me. :-)

    oh, and leaving the shallow surface I must say, nothing youthens a person more than a smile and humour that comes from the heart.

  3. What a lovely thought provoking post - I have two pretty distinctive sides, one likes to dress up and make an effort the other doesn't care a hoot about clothes and hair etc.I can easily go for weeks without make up, hair scraped back, specs on etc , just living in a baggy sweater and jeans - I think it comes from my sailing days.
    What's becoming important for me, though is movement as you say, I have a lot of pain from my back etc, most days so I'm finding that I now need to stretch to try to make it through basic tasks. I may think about eventually swapping my daily gym sessions for yoga but I really hate stretching because it's so so sore. I'd rather go out running.

  4. At 62, I continue to discover the unique privileges of age. My dear, you have captured the many of its secrets in this post. Keep taking each day as it comes holding this perspective, and you will continue to be the inspiration you are to young and old alike.

  5. Great post. I agree that it's sometimes jarring when the inner age collides with the outer age. But I do find that as I get older I don't fear the mirror as much as I did when I was younger. I like myself better in many ways...I think it's because I have gained a sense of confidence and style over the years. That, and I don't have braces, pimples...

  6. I hated mirrors after I had my son. It took a couple of years for me to look like me again. I used to see my reflection and wonder what happened to me!

  7. Such wonderful sentiments expressed here. I agree that staying vibrant and engaged in life is the true secret to beauty and happiness as aging brings its inevitable changes. With luck, may we all have many, many more years to discover life's secrets and joys.

  8. I LOVE this post!

  9. What a lovely post...I could comment on so many points... but I think it would be best if I spend my next few minutes hydrating and then off to a yoga class. Maybe I'll read this post one more time...it's quite calming.

  10. It has been said so many times, but I think it bears repeating that there are comparatively few older women in the public eye so that it is hard to find role models. ( I am talking here about the role models in a fairly superficial sense, i.e. fashion and beauty.) That's why I am so happy to have discovered the world of blogs with such a rich array of older women living life with such grace and style -- including of course you, Hostess.

  11. My theory is that as we age we must become happy in our bodies to age gracefully. Whether that means accepting the weight we are, or losing the weight we do not want, it will certainly mean moving about a lot, keeping our hearts in shape, and staying as limber as possible. Especially if we can find movement-based activities that we love. Then, finally, locating a group of people who are willing to listen to our wisdom, which may not always include our children:).

  12. I had my second and last child 2 1/2 years ago and don't recognize the body in the mirror! It's so depressing. At 43, I am now technically in middle age and I'm having a really hard time getting my old body back. Losing the weight is proving extremely difficult and I don't like what I see in the mirror! So, for me, the verdict would be that it is pretty awful reconciling who I am now when I look in the mirror.

    For those of you older and wiser, how did you get through the period after children when your body just wasn't what it used to be? Did you ever get it back? Did you just have to get used to the fact that your body was now different and adjust to a heavier weight? I would love some words of wisdom and encouragement.

  13. You've written much fodder for thinking. Staying active, both mentally and physically is key, but also accepting that aging is part of life. I don't want to be someone who fights aging and ends up looking ridiculous. I do want to be a woman who smiles at the years ahead and embraces all that life offers.

  14. well getting old pretty much sucks. esp in our culture where youth is worshipped. but what can you do? i have always felt that acceptance is the key to aging gracefully. so we may as well embrace it right?


  15. Have you been reading my thoughts? This is so beautifully composed and thought out. Thank you for this wonderful post. I can certainly relate to it, having just had a big milestone birthday, a few years past you. And I hate mirrors also. But I am learning to accept this new territory of getting older (though it is not easy) and appreciating my blessings. And most importantly having fun! I think the more we follow our passions and surround ourselves with people who are positive the younger we will feel. My goal is to be that "woman across the room" that you wrote about.

  16. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I am working on becoming happy with the body I have -- it's an adjustment.

    You look lovely in your dress. Have a beautiful day!

  17. I try not to think too much about my age and more about what I want to do, and can do. Continuing to learn is very important to me...and there are so many fun things to delve into. However, I do take good care of my skin and am rather an exercise fanatic...walking, personal trainer, and yoga. Actually I am rather pleased with who I have become. Incidently...I am quite a few years your senior. (-:

  18. That photo of your heart necklace says it all! You are exploring the central issue, changing of identity. (I liked the book "Face It" for its frank discussion.) To love, to be loved and to refuse pull on pants, wonderful, Hostess!

    Whenever I feel low about looking older (63 next week) I think of my friends who are not here anymore, how they grieved their imminent deaths, how their families grieve still. They would have wanted to be here today, to hold a grandchild or even garden. Weight, hair, fashion do not ultimately matter.

  19. The perfect post!!
    The post-50 women blogging are my daily vitamin!
    My inspiration.

  20. Wonderful post Leslie, I was with you on ever word. I hate mirrors too...saying that, the simplest way to take away all the angst of aging for me is to just smile. It often ends us with a smile in return and that just makes my day!

    Best wishes for a lovely weekend....

    Jeanne xxx

  21. Thank you for all your comments I have re read them all!
    These random thoughts seem to have struck a cord.

    To Anonymous with the 2 1/2 year old-
    First off congratulations on becoming a mom!

    I had my children very young at 24 and 26. I did slim down after their birth as I was a very busy mom and I walked everywhere. We had one vehicle which my husband needed for work and I liked to get outside in the fresh air . The pram was our daily transit for outings and shopping, truly it was a blessing in disguise.

    Having children and being a mother is the best thing I have done in my life and I would never consider trading that experience to be thin.

    If I were to give you advice, and I do so lightly as I know little about you personally.
    I would embrace and delight in the daily joys of parenting. Children grow up so fast that one day you'll look back and wish that you could capture those moments again.
    Be gentle with yourself, do not expect too much too fast.
    If you can afford to splurge once in awhile have someone babysit and take some time for yourself...go window shopping, have a coffee at a cafe and people watch, take in an art exhibit, or peruse the local library, or have a pampering treatment at home or in a spa.

    I loved the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
    Her wise words helped me rediscover myself when I was busy tending full time to other peoples needs.

    Thank you for popping by, I hope that you come back again.

  22. Bravo for your sentiments...I concur and applaud them....xv

  23. Hostess, thank you for your thoughtful and warm answer to my question. I think you've given a very important message about this phase with young children. Ultimately, don't focus on the weight and body image (i.e. the external), but focus on the internal and the rest will come. I will make it a point to spend some time with myself and nurture my soul knowing that the rest will all follow in good time. I have begun to get back into reading and that has already helped me immensely. I really love your blog. Your kind and gentle soul really comes through in your words.

  24. Dear Hostess of the Humble Bungalow,
    I love your post! I do agree with many of your reflections - but not with all. I do a lot for fitness - and wear bold clothes (a smoky pink Cashmere coat in winter, a turquoise French raincoat in spring), I love colours and wear them, I mix classics and Zara, I use expressive eye make-up and bright pink for my lips, and I love to look into a mirror - thinking of my role-models I hope I will do that even when I'm over seventy.
    The most important part in growing older - if health is good - is interest in others, love for young and old people, charme, enthusiasm and verve.
    And I think you own that! What we have to learn is not to compare our beauty with the beauty of a sixteen-year old - we are different, young and old, but in a beautiful way both.

  25. First, gorgeous dress. What fabric! You must look stunning. Second, what a thoughtful post. It is a transition and for me, it requires just what you've accomplished here, moments to consider the now and the benefits as so many other things change irrevocably. It's part of my decision to let my grey hair grow in. I'm not throwing in the towel, but trying (in this way) to accept the now and the future. More to be said on this. You've said it so beautifully.

  26. I really enjoyed your post. You write beautifully.
    I started blogging because I want to share with others that we are still vibrant and have a lot to share.
    I was thinking about this topic before I read this post. I was wondering about my Grandmother who did seem really old at 50. Her world was very small in comparison to ours. Our generation has seen so many advances in technology. We can communicate easily with others all over the world. We have so many more choices than even our Mothers did. We are exploring what the world can be for women of a certain age and I think we are doing a great job as explorers. Hopefully, in the future the media will realize that women still have interests in fashion, style, and beauty as they age. Harpers Bazaar shows fashions for women over 50. Unfortunately, they are usually very expensive. I long for a magazine like Lucky only for those of us 50 and over. Someday....

  27. Have had a busy few days preparing for, then visiting with, houseguests, then another surprise visitor this afternoon just after the first crew left -- so I'm late to comment and only have a minute to say kudos for the work you're doing accepting your changing self. And for sharing that work. Really, as Duchesse points out, it's a lucky problem to have, but it can still be tough to work through.
    Roses . . . sunshine . . . . friends, grandbabies. . . they all help, don't they!

  28. How I am just now discovering you? I love this sentence: Is what's inside in sync with what is outside? Une femme sent me...

  29. A thought provoking post...I agree, how I feel on the inside and the image I have in my mind of "what I look like" are probably a decade less than my 55 years & certainly not what I see in the mirror or a photograph. For me, exercising regularly calms my inner critic and helps me feel positive - or at least deal with -whatever life throws at me.
    I'll give myself a 10 for staying current with the culture, an 8 for exercise & being healthy, an 8 for being fashion aware and a 3 for being current with my make up...
    Maybe it's up to us to be the role models?

  30. Great post Hostess... and agree with Janet that acceptance is the key - look for the best - play up your assests and disguise/minimise our liabilites! And SMILE!!! xx