Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.
This week’s topic is drawn from a recent spread in RealSimple magazine’s August issue, which featured six famous women writers talking about what makes them feel beautiful. I’m not usually much of one for women’s magazines (probably that inner-14 year old who still feels woefully un-stylish), but a friend describes RealSimple as “a women’s magazine for grown ups.” And she’s right: it’s a bit more serious, a bit more thoughtful and a bit less girl-y.
This article is a case in point. When asked about what makes them feel beautiful, all six writers responded in non-appearance related ways. Here is my summary of their answers (You can read the original here):
1. Feel loved. Anne Roiphe‘s answer boiled down to her late husband telling her – 10 days before he unexpectedly died- that she’d made him a very happy man. Now, whenever she wants to feel beautiful, she reminds herself of the joy that comes from “the union with another being.” Not all of us are in happy partnerships, of course. But most of us know that someone – a sibling, a parent, a friend, a child – loves us unconditionally. Remind yourself of that.
2. Be active. OK, this sounds like a body-is-beautiful sort of tip. But the way that Winifred Gallagher frames it is all about the way in which staying active as we age makes us feel lively on the inside. That could come from the calm induced by yoga or the way in which Michelle-like biceps become a symbol of endurance and vitality. Either way, liveliness=internal beauty.
3. Invest in your work and your kids. No, this is not a cheesy throw-away line about work/life balance. Rather, I’m combining the thoughts of Asha Bandele and Kathryn Harrison. Bandele notes that work – especially writing – can be a way to simultaneously touch other people and discover more about yourself. Children do the same. They also, as Harrison puts it, enable you to “redeem an unhappy past.” Of course, some of us only focus on one or the other of these two goals, whether by choice, life-stage or circumstance. But both offer a deep satisfaction, especially – as these writers argue – for women.
4. Drink A Glass Of Wine. I can’t say enough about Lori Leibovich‘s post. Her own personal anecdote to her “scheduled-by-the-minute existence” is to drink some wine (just a glass!) each night after her kids go to bed. For her, it’s the equivalent of taking a long, deep inhalation at the end of a hectic day. Wine also allows her to connect – with strangers if she’s at a cocktail party, with her husband if she’s at home – and reflect on where she’s been and where she’s going. In short, wine=freedom.
5. Embrace Your Quirks. This is probably my favorite post of all. It’s written by Jennifer 8. Lee, who talks about her ugly feet. While she used to feel embarrassed by them, she now sees them as a source of individuality, character and…yes, imperfection. Love it.
If you’re interested, head on over to PoliticsDaily.com where I posted yesterday on Gordon Brown’s painkiller “problem.”
Image: Friday feet 1 by JiJi via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.