Monday, March 21, 2016

The end of an era

When you are 38, there are certain things you simply have to accept are no longer possible. A career in professional sports just isn't going to happen at this point. Not that I was even an amateur athlete at any time. Swimming and gymnastics in the Olympics have been off the table since I turned 7. And unless I gain the courage to learn how to ice skate while simultaneously developing a love for sweeping, my last Olympic option, curling, is also out of reach.

But beyond the wide world of sports, other things are slowly moving outside my realm of ability and capability. Weekend long benders just don't have the same recovery time, not to say anything of what it's like to check in on your kids when you're wasted. I will never make a 30 under 30 list. In any category, those lists are closed to me now. But the saddest and hardest for me to accept, today anyway, is that I don't think I can shop at Urban Outfitters anymore.

Between you and me, I don't think I've bought anything from there in about five years. And that is about five years after realizing their styles might be getting "a bit too young" for me. But the real nail in the coffin of my carefree shopping days came in the form of an email blast from them which contained this photo:
The irony is that I considered myself a "cool" 38 year old because of the fact that I still go to music festivals. That being said, I cannot now, nor have I ever been able to wear shorts like these. The true irony is that when I could have, I lacked the confidence, and now that I have the confidence, I lack the young body. Fashion has not only aged me out, it has literally butted me out. Yes, it appears my days of scanning for cheap trendy items to help make me feel young and cool without having to really pay for it are through. 

To be honest, those days were through when I had my first kid. Their store nearest me with the four large steps at the entry became inaccessible, or at least slightly more inconvenient to access with a stroller. Sure, there's always online shopping, but there's something particularly comforting about shamefully handing the ill-fitting items back in the din of the bad fluorescent lighting that doesn't quite compare to gloomily repacking the box from the comfort of your own home. And I've done both quite a lot.

With the loss of cheap and chic clothes, I am doomed to the fate of not knowing how to dress. None of the available styles really appeal to me. I'm not-quite old enough to look well put together every day in classic/timeless styles (early mornings with small kids, no time to iron, small handprints of cream cheese, etc.). I'm not quite young enough to wear the latest fashion trends without feeling uncomfortable and slightly out of sync (wool hats in the summer, ladies? I just don't get it). And I'm not quite athletic enough to wear ath-leisure without feeling like a fraud (I am not going spinning, unless you count the wheels on the grocery cart). Plus, I don't feel particularly sexy in sensible classics, too-young trends or yoga pants. 

My response has been what any mother of a girl would do. I have retrained my fashion eye on her wardrobe and truly delight in putting her in the funky patterned harem pants I love but don't feel quite right wearing myself. I am also blessed with a little girl who will negate a choice, but for the most part still lets me pick her clothes for her... for now. As for me, I am rocking the jeans, t-shirt and sneakers which marry the feeling of youth (my boring youth to be precise), the consistency of classics (without being a crisp pressed shirt and slacks), and the comfort of leisure wear (without the pretense of me heading somewhere to workout, a bold faced lie of a suggestion if ever there was one).

I will still browse all the wonderful cheap, trendy options out there. Once in a while I will hopefully find something that marries my desire to feel young and cute with the reality of my 38 year old mother of two/non-athlete body. When that happens, I will go out til way too late and drink way too much (which is actually not that late and not that much, by my own youthful standards). It is the end of an era, and the transition into middle-life. At least now I have the confidence to not really care too much about it, mostly because it's late and I have to get to bed now.

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