Happy Friday, everyone! What are you up to this weekend? Joanie is having her first ever sleepover tonight – something she’s looked forward to for years and that we promised could happen once she turned five, and then once she was fully vaccinated, and then once the Omicron wave had passed, and now, finally, it’s time. Tomorrow I think we’re going ice skating. I have a couple books on the hold shelf at the library I need to go pick up before heading to the bus stop in an hour, and I’m looking forward to trying a new recipe I saw on Instagram that sounded good.
Hope you have a great weekend, and here are some links you might enjoy:
As a 45-year-old woman, now firmly in the middle-age camp, I’ve been drawn to and reading recently a lot about middle age, especially in the context of friendships, relationships, and meaning-making in life (and how the ways we find meaning seem to shift during this stage). This article in The Atlantic focuses on friendships, and especially friendships in middle-age: the challenge in making and keeping friends and how the importance of friendships, like so much during this stage in life, shifts a bit. Anyway, I related to a lot of this:
It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart: The older we get, the more we need our friends—and the harder it is to keep them.
Related: I thought we would be friends forever. How I finally accepted it was over
Another one with a middle-age theme, but as it relates to career: At 53, Bucking the Great Resignation: After being scammed out of some savings, Martha Bayne rethinks the Gen X play book as it pertains to work and financial security.
And I guess this is middle-aged themed too. Emma Thompson on living in a woman’s body: my daughter thrums with life, my mother is frail – and I’m balanced between
Kate February 13, 2022, 2:31 pm
I’m very into this book, a thriller about an abused woman, but obviously trigger warning. The author had an abusive father growing up.
Miss MJ February 13, 2022, 10:05 pm
That recipe looks amazing, Wendy!
I, too, have been focusing more on middle age reading material at 43. It’s a very weird time for me. I learned from you all that the Sex and the City characters are the same age as the Golden Girls characters and….I’m shocked. And kinda depressed because the beauty standards to which women have to aspire never ends. I mean, I’m exhausted at 43 and yet I’m supposed to look like J-LO and Jennifer Anniston at 50? Le sigh. When can I just, I dunno, be? I like looking nice. I do look kind. But it’s also a non-ending slog.
Miss MJ February 13, 2022, 10:12 pm
*I look good, not kind. I got total RBF!
allathian February 14, 2022, 1:33 am
For most people, looking like a celebrity is totally unrealistic, and the sooner we as non-celebrity women realize that and stop trying so hard, the better off we’ll be. I’m a frump, and I’ve unashamedly embraced that. It’s very liberating when you can do it, but I do realize I’m privileged in being able to do so. I’m happily married, and my husband loves me as I am. I don’t particularly care how other people see me, and I adore being able to travel on public transit without being constantly hit on. I’m an established professional in a field where frumpiness is more or less expected, certainly not penalized. I was raised in a culture where “invisible grooming” is fine, but being seen to make an effort is not rewarded as much as in some others, and where being overly focused on looks is seen as very superficial.
Kate February 14, 2022, 6:05 am
I was going to say that JLo and Halle Berry and Jen Aniston are privileged to have the resources to look like that and lie about having plastic surgery, but yeah, you have white privilege and academic privilege and maybe thin privilege so you can look frumpy / like your authentic self without people shitting on you. That’s true.
Dear Wendy February 14, 2022, 8:51 am
One thing I do in middle age that I didn’t/ wouldn’t have when I was younger, in regards to my appearance, is wear sweathshirts just about every day of the week (and plain tank tops in the summer). They’re all I really want to wear. I put way more effort into how I dressed even just a few years ago, but with the pandemic, I started dressing in comfort clothing and I don’t want to go back. I do wear jeans nearly every day, so there’s a waistband involved, but beyond that, just super comfort clothing.
Kate February 14, 2022, 8:59 am
I’m completely about comfort now too. Even when going into the office, it’s like, Ann Taylor bi-stretch pants and a sneaker. Day to day I only wear jeans, with various tops that look cute on Zoom but that’s only because I like to. Could totally wear sweatshirts if we wanted to, or long sleeve tee + cardigan, scarf, whatever. Fuck “work clothes.” Even when I get more dressed up to go out to dinner, the dress or whatever has to be comfortable.
Dear Wendy February 14, 2022, 9:04 am
Yeah, I’m really done with uncomfortable clothes (and shoes!). There’s no point.
ktfran February 14, 2022, 9:09 am
Oh my gosh. I can’t wear uncomfortable shoes anymore, especially since I walk just about everywhere. Heels hurt my back, but I will occasionally wear on a special occasion and if I know I won’t do a lot of walking. The only tennis shoe that really works w/ my bunions are Allbirds. That’s if I’m going to be in shoes walking all day. I do have a couple pair of nice booties and flats though too.
Kate February 14, 2022, 9:10 am
Also I get so damn HOT. I put a lot more thought into dressing for temperature comfort than I used to, so I don’t overheat.
Dear Wendy February 14, 2022, 9:52 am
I don’t have that quite yet – my thyroid disorder makes me a little more sensitive to cold than heat – but I know it’s coming. I was just helping my friend, who’s 50, pick out a dress to wear to a wedding and her top criteria was that it be cool bc she gets hot so easily.
Miss MJ February 14, 2022, 11:47 am
I rarely wore pants before the pandemic, but now I absolutely cannot stand to have a waistband. At all. So, I’m on a dress kick lately, even though it’s cold outside. (Boots and leggings are my friends.) And soft fabrics only – cotton, modal, viscose – no polyester, no spandex! If it makes my skin do anything except sigh at the softness, it’s a no go. Anyway, I’ve decided I love dresses now. They’re easy, they’re comfortable and they do help me look a bit more “put together” even when I just grabbed the first thing I saw and threw it on.
I do still have to do heels for work, though. Which sucks. I don’t have the luxury of being au naturel. I’m a litigator and like it or not, you are judged on some level by your appearance. And of course, women more so than men. I don’t have to maintain at celebrity level, but I do have to put in the effort to look polished.
Copa February 14, 2022, 1:18 pm
So I was in college when America’s Next Top Model was in its heyday and watched with my roommates/hall mates pretty religiously. Any time one of the women on that show wore jeans and a plain tank, Tyra would tell her she looked like a model. So that’s what I tell myself whenever I wear a plain tank, haha.
And shoes. I started having foot problems a few years ago and now cannot wear shoes that don’t offer support for long periods of time. I now shop orthotic-friendly brands almost exclusively and don’t care. Brands seem to be making an effort to keep women both comfortable and stylish. I’d rather be comfortable than stylish and stopped caring as much about what my shoes look like a few years ago when I was told the alternative to supportive shoes was foot surgery.
I’ve long been a fan of dresses for both comfort and looking put together. Throw on a dress and suddenly people think you’re trying even when your main goal is comfort.
ktfran February 14, 2022, 1:54 pm
Copa, what are some of the shoe brands you like?
Copa February 14, 2022, 2:40 pm
Vionic has arch support in most styles and offers some more stylish options. I have a pair of their slippers and a pair of sandals. IMO the brand runs wide… in other brands, I typically don’t need a narrow width, but with this brand, I do. So my options through them have been limited. My dad has been having foot problems and I got him a pair of Vionic slippers for Christmas and he loves them!
I bought a pair of sandals from the brand Secra late last summer and so far so good, though they were not cheap. If you’ve heard of Archies, which makes arch support flip flops, Secra is their brand created to answer the call for a supportive sandal that wasn’t a flip flop. They had very limited styles last summer, I’m not sure if that’s changed, though the website seemed to tease that they were growing.
The flats I wore most often around the office are Clarks. They’re pretty old at this point but I’ve only ever worn them in office settings so they were still in good shape when I last saw them two years ago.
At this point I have custom orthotic inserts, so I’ve had a much easier time with boots, booties, and closed toe shoes. As long as the inserts fit the shoe, I’m not limited to specific brands. Summery shoes have been harder for me to find because those are the ones that tend to offer zero support in the first place.
I realized when I was in Mexico that I think I might finally be ready to join the ranks of tourists who rock hiking sandals, which I’ve never tried but they look very sturdy and supportive.
ktfran February 14, 2022, 2:53 pm
I’m going to finally have to buy a pair of supportive water shoes. We’re going to the Galapagos in July. I’ll needs shoes that get me from the little dinghy to shore, that dry fast and are good from walking on some trails. I also want them to be lightweight.
I should maybe see an orthopedist sometime.