A Few Good Moms: Middle Age

Maybe the time has come to let yourself go.
Maybe the time has come to let yourself go. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The time has come to pack for spring break. The mom tugs on the swimsuit from last summer and walks to the full-length mirror. As she takes in her reflection she is distracted by the not-so-Fun-House images that crowd her view: ghostly pale skin, stretch marks, wrinkles, flab. Is there even time to address these glaring flaws?

You want the truth about letting yourself go? I think you can handle it.

Ah, middle age. At this point you are old enough and experienced enough to be grateful that you are here to bitch about the bags and the sags and the grays. You know that the loss of once seemingly essential things like eyelashes and muscle tone are not, in fact, real losses at all, but rather innocent mile markers on your journey through time. Confronted with them your initial irritation quickly morphs into gratitude that your worst problem today is that you have to figure out what the hell you are going to wear for spring break. You know that is a gift, and you take it.

But you are baffled to discover that somehow all of your bathing suits from last summer now seem to accentuate odd pockets of flesh and cut you in ways that would be intriguing, were you an exhibit at Discovery Place. But, being instead that you are a person who will need to be in the presence of other partially clothed people while running around with your ever-active family, this situation is not ideal.

What to do? You are so pale. You are so squishy. A new look is in order. Quick! Bring in your team to get you into fighting shape. Like Dorothy and the crew at the Oz spa, or perhaps more like Katniss Everdeen prepping for The Hunger Games, you will tweeze and polish, strategize and deprive. You will rediscover a passion for cardio that had temporarily ducked out for a long winter’s nap. The “crisis” is averted, or at least tempered; there is still time to bleach your teeth and get some highlights and torture yourself with hot wax and tanning spray.

Or maybe . . . the time has come to let yourself go.

After all, you are a middle-aged woman. Lord knows you have tried. So what if you do this simple but radical thing:

Let yourself go . . . for a walk on the beach at sunset with your full attention on your sweet husband.

Let yourself go . . . on that outdoor adventure with your kids without stopping to fix your {fill-in-the-blank} before heading out the door.

Let yourself go . . . to the quiet corner of the room with that tantalizing novel, even while dirty dishes taunt you from the kitchen sink.

Let yourself go . . . outside for a breath of fresh air and a fun workout that makes you feel healthy and strong.

Let yourself go . . . out to a relaxing dinner with your family that is nourishing in body and spirit, and not spoiled with massive calculation and punishing denial.

Let yourself go . . . out into this beautiful creation with your eyes open and your mind quieted and your heart full.

When you hit a certain point in life, there exists an almost overwhelming number of options available to improve your physical reality, but the truth is, often the thing that could benefit most from a makeover is your attitude.

Want to get a better handle on letting yourself go? Check out one mom’s strategy for letting herself be, try to let go of the pretense with Colbie Caillat, and celebrate your newfound freedom with the famous anthem from Frozen.