Susan Meier's continuing her #TheWriteLifeBalance column with a look at how to love who you really are...
A few decades ago, when Gloria Steinem would have been about forty, she was featured on a television news program. When the promo for the segment was announced, I raced in and sat on the edge of my chair. I couldn’t wait to see what she looked like. I expected a real fashion plate. Someone to show those of us a decade or so younger how be an “it” girl in our forties. But low and behold, she still had her hair from the 1960’s.
Gloria’s a newsworthy gal, so every couple of years she’s on a talk show or a morning news show, and every couple of years I’d race to the TV to see if she’d finally updated her hair….and…nope. Not once in five decades.
She has the same hair now that she had in the 1960s. When I was in my twenties that bothered me. My thirties? I seriously wondered about her sanity. The woman lives in NYC for Pete’s sake. She should be fashion forward. Then I got busy and forgot about her in my forties. But in my fifties I was wincing. Then…I hit my sixties. And my hair is almost exactly like hers.
[Pause to raise your eyebrows and wonder about my sanity.]
My hair isn’t like this because the style is in fashion. My hair is like this because when I look in the mirror I finally see myself. This is me.
And I suddenly understood Gloria’s point. Well, two points. First, sometimes who we are isn’t in fashion—more about that next month. But, very important second, it’s good to recognize the lady you see in the mirror every morning.
One of the greatest joys in life is being yourself. Quirky, hair from the seventies, big butt, small butt, great cook, horrible cook, bad, bad golfer, NY Times Bestseller, midlist, indie, newbie…It doesn’t matter. This is your life. Be YOU.
Because that’s the sweet spot. That’s where the joy is. Not in copying somebody else. Not in fitting in with the cheerleader moms. (Unless you do fit. Then go for it. LOL) Not in trendy hair. Or becoming a doctor because that’s where the money is. But in being you. The kind of mom you were made to be. With the hair that fits who you are. In the career where you can make a difference or even just the career that provides money so you can do the things you want in your free time.
You get one shot at this. Do you want to spend it looking around, wondering what other people think? CARING what other people think? Or do you want to really enjoy yourself? Figure things out? Really be in love? Really love your husband? Your friends? Your kids? The work you do? The place you live?
The only way to do all that is to be yourself. Find your style. Find the things that give you pleasure. Find the way you love. And in the process find you.
And that takes us back to Gloria Steinem’s hair. And mine. I am not afraid to look in the mirror anymore. I know the woman looking back at me. I trust her to be honest, loyal, forgiving, kind, generous. That’s the person life is gently guiding all of us to be -- if we pay attention, listen when people talk, look a little deeper.
Susan's latest book, A Mistletoe Kiss with the Boss, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.