Because 30 is the same old 30…
At the time I was 27. I did not get it yet. I had no children. I had just gotten married. I loudly sang along with Lyfe Jennings to Never Never Land. I nodded my head in agreement as he announced, “And I don’t care what they told you, 30 is not the new 20. It’s the same old 30” (Source).
Now that I use makeup to cover dark circles under my eyes, as I wonder if dressing up is really worth the hassle since I will be sweeping, grading papers, and vacuuming…I get it. At 20, I would dress up for no reason at all. I may or may not have class, may or may not have errands to run. I dressed up for Walmart, Walgreens, and Target. I dressed up to watch my favorite shows at home by myself, dressed up to go pick up my favorite fast food. Every day was an occasion to pick out my outfit of the day, and I took full advantage of each and every occasion.
At 36, with a 6 year-old, a three-year old, and classrooms full of teenagers, I have forgotten that every day is a new occasion to look my best. Some days, I look at the beauty of the 20 year-olds and have to shake away twinges of envy. As I literally mop up the spilled milk, I cannot help think to myself, “Am I even worth the fuss? Who exactly am I here to impress?”
And I answer with a resounding, “YES! YES! You are ABSOLUTELY worth the fuss!! You are here to impress YOURSELF! You need a self care routine! Doll yourself up MAMA!!”
So for the past week or so, I have done just that. I created a self-care routine. I wake up. I cleanse and moisturize. I do my eyebrows and mascara. I conceal the black bags with complexion colored caramel, and I top everything off with my new favorite lip color. I go to the closet and I pick out clothes that flatter the few extra pounds I have gained, and I feel great as I exit my house to begin my day.
Some days are amazing. Others are exhausting, but I have noticed a tremendous boost in my self-esteem. You see, I used to obsess over looking young. I needed to FEEL 20-something. BUT I AM NOT 20-something! I do not even necessarily miss 20-something. Nothing about it makes me want to return. Yes, I loved it. I loved my friends. I had a GREAT time. But I also remember that life, then, was a competition. For me, life was a game. Who was the prettiest? Who had the most disposable income? Who could hook the most handsome and successful suitors? And I was WINNING. But, at some point, I got tired of competing, and I just wanted to live…
My thirties have taught me how to live a life that was never meant to be a competition. So I gratefully left the game and fully embraced the life I am now living, but somewhere along the way, I forgot that I was beautiful. I forgot that self-care was a routine. I forgot that life was more than my ministry, my kids, my husband, my job and my never-ending housework. All of those things require me, and they deserve my best version.
So for anyone whose best version has gotten lost somewhere between 27 and 36, I offer a simple solution, “doll yourself up.” In college, my mom once told me to make sure I dress up for all of my tests. Studies showed that people perform better when they dress up. (No idea where she got said information but she is mom so I listened.) Mom was spot on!
You do not have to do heels and dresses every day, but put on things that make you feel good – from makeup, to hair and accessories, to clothing. You will notice the difference immediately. You will remember that 3-year old you used to be that liked to play dress up, who looked at mom with utter amazement and awe and wanted to be just like her. You will see what Wonder Woman looks like without stained t-shirts and faded leggings.
You will feel strange at first when you take that extra 5 minutes, or 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. You will wonder if it is worth effort. You will wonder if you are worth all the fuss. And every time you wonder, I want you to look into the eyes of those who recognize that your ordinary is extraordinary…the co-workers who lean on you for encouragement, the one who vowed to love you forever, the students who use your shoulder to cry on, the friends who need a word and a prayer…but especially those voices who shout your name more than you want to hear it, who create more messes than they will ever clean up, who think band-aids are staples of achievement.
They need the best version of you. They need to know what Wonder Woman looks like dressed down AND dolled up!
What types of things do you do in your self-care routine?
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