50 Thoughts: Identity Crisis Code Purple

Originally published September 4, 2018

I hate writer’s block.

I’m sitting here trying to get off the stump when it comes to a blog post, and I find myself wrapped up in the back-and-forth conflict that is my brain more and more these days.

  • What should I wear today?
  • Which book should I read?
  • Should I play it cool or goofy?
  • Aloof or engaging?
  • PBS or Bravo?
  • Fitted or loose?
  • Skinny or boyfriend style?

And, almost daily, “Should I get a haircut?”

I was wistfully hoping that upon turning 50, my fairy godmother would appear, wave a wand, and I’d be transformed into my Act II. I thought, because dammit Oprah said this would happen, I would hit 50 and suddenly really honestly not give a damn what anyone thinks anymore.

That I’d come into my own.

But I swear to God, this haircut thing. Now it’s a real conundrum. If I cut it short, people could assume it’s because, well, I turned 50. So of course I am being sensible. But really, it’s just that I am sick to death of the my hair dryer and curling iron. But … isn’t that being sensible?

Gah!

I think tonight’s question comes down to this: Do we continue to “mature” as we mature, and can you still do that even as you embrace what’s at the heart of your personality, whether that’s calm and cool or unapologetically goofy?

I first touched on this nearly four years ago, and as I said above, I think I was hoping someone or something was going to push me in one direction or another. I remember being in my 20s when I first saw the “When I am Old I shall Wear Purple” merch that Hallmark stores were starting to market. At the time, I thought “Well, cool. Purple is my favorite color. So that works out.”

But as I continue to inch closer to my very own AARP card, I’m still wondering just what kind of “woman of a certain age” I plan to be. And honestly, four years after writing that first post, I’m mostly annoyed this is still up for debate.

And why is it up for debate? Because I still care what other people think. And not in a clingy, need-to-be-loved kind of way. To be honest, it probably has more to do with not wanting to let people down. My parents. My husband. My kids. My coworkers. My friends. Whether we like it or not, engaging in society still comes with certain expectations, and while I may be itching to go off on Facebook about what a #@$*(*&!! I think a certain President of the United States is, I also know there’s a time and a place and posting every 10 minutes about what an absolute POS I think he is might not be me putting my best foot forward.

Nonetheless, I am waiting, Oprah. I am looking forward to the day I can enjoy a gleeful disregard, not for other people’s feelings, but other people’s judgment. Until then, I’ll start stocking up on purple and continue to look for the perfect pixie cut.

Today’s recommendation: Amp’d by Ken Pisani. It’s an unusual choice for today’s topic, but relevant in that it’s a story about finding yourself. And I loved it and think everyone should read it. So there.

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