When I was in college, a friend said, “I can’t wait until I get married so that it doesn’t matter what I look like anymore and I can just let myself go.”
I remember thinking at the time that this was a really bad strategy for a happy marriage. Certainly I would never do that to my mysterious future husband. Twenty-year-old me wore short skirts and high-heeled boots. I even (gasp) wore perfume.
Flash forward to the present. My main wardrobe consists of $10 sweaters I bought two years ago. I’ve got a cheap haircut, a drugstore beauty routine and a very expensive collection of European walking shoes. My jeans have so much spandex that after a few months of washing they give up and admit defeat.
Basically, I look like I’m perpetually ready for housework.
I never thought my signature style would say, “Look out, dust bunnies, here I come!” But that’s me, clogs and all.
Have I let myself go? That’s debatable.
The older I get, the more I realize that there are worse ways of letting yourself go than by putting on mom jeans. Going to the doctor, slathering on sunscreen, buckling your seat belt, not smoking; those are all important, too. Actually, they’re a lot more important than wearing dangly earrings and lip gloss.
There’s also the big E-word: exercise, which I do regularly.
Back in college, I remember one of my college professors describing his unusual fitness regime. It wasn’t a six-week routine, or three months of insanity; it was an exercise plan for the rest of his life.
I have forgotten the specifics, but I do remember seeing him jog around campus regularly. He reminded me in looks of Capt. Picard from “Star Trek.” I thought that professor looked pretty good for an old guy. Now I realize he was just 50. (Man, I was dumb.)
Well, I don’t want to look like Capt. Picard, but I wouldn’t mind aspiring to Capt. Janeway.
So after a couple of decades of wising up, here’s my new definition of not letting myself go: I want to eat foods that nourish me. I want to discover nature on foot instead of by car. I want to get enough sleep. I want to be able to clean my house, brush my own teeth, chase after kids and bend over to pick the newspaper off the driveway without throwing out my back. I want to grow old with my husband.
I want those things for my friends and neighbors, too. If you have made a New Year’s resolution to improve your health, I’m rooting for you! A great place to start is Rose McAvoy’s “Light for Life” blog at HeraldNet.com.
As for me, I’m heading to the mall to buy some new clothes. Mom jeans are pretty pathetic.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.