Don't forget about self care.
I am not high-maintenance in the bathroom. I'm a lover of dry shampoo, hater of face make-up. Before children were my alarm clock, I would leave myself 15 minutes to roll out of bed and sort of work with whatever was going on that morning. And I suppose that's the luxury of being 16 or 18 or even 21. You can get away with it when you're creeping further into your twenties. Somewhere around 26, I think I decided that might not always cut it any more.
Hmm. Let's see. 26. Did I have a major life event at 26?
Ah yes. Since becoming a mother, my once shirked bathroom time has become sacred and holy alone time, amen. Peeing on your own is a major accomplishment. But carving out some time in front of the mirror where you don't share your makeup? Or finishing a shower, even SHAVING YOUR LEGS all the way up? Those are celebratory events. And after children, as my face and body transformed and I tried to gracefully accept wearing life on my skin, I started to pay a little closer attention.
But this post isn't about a beauty regimen. It's not about preserving your outward beauty or the look of youth. It is about self care, and how, as women age, we allow this practice to take the back seat to a million other things. We tell ourselves that it doesn't matter or that we're being sacrificial or that it's not worth it.
It is worth it. It is worth it to do something that makes you feel beautiful. It is worth it to create boundaries of space and time, finding some of both that are yours and yours alone, where you can do something that's just for you. It is worth it to realize that when you are feeling your best, you respond to others with your best. Self care isn't vanity--it's the pursuit of excellence for yourself as much as it is for what the world sees.
I'm also not just talking about your face or your hair. To me, those things are important because I want to feel confident. I want to know that I've taken care of myself. I splurge on my favorite lotion because I love how it makes my skin feel. I run a bubble bath most Sunday nights to unwind and detox my body. But for me, self care also [greatly] includes the caring for my psyche. I'm an emotional mess sometimes, guys. Self care extends beyond the products I use or routines I adhere to, and it demands I also use some of that alone time to quiet my heart and sort through my head.
It's weird to get older and have to think about things like how many times in a week you can reasonably eat ice cream; or that you need to remember to use toner after you wash your face; or that you can't keep going from thing to thing to thing without stopping. It's one of the hard parts about aging, one of the few things about thirty that I wasn't looking forward to. Still even though it's an adjustment, it's a good one. Strange as it seems, this one was one of my most valued 29 lessons. It's not any deep epiphany; it's really pretty basic. But it is the important realization that no matter what phase of life I'm in, I matter, in all aspects. I should care for myself so that I'm at my best for my family and friends, yes; but mostly, just because I'm me, and that's worth nurturing.