Recently on a trip to see my daughter, she took some candid shots of me. Honesty time - as I cruise through midlife, I'm beginning to at times think, "is that me?"
I look a little bit like Mimi, my grandmother on my mom's side, when she was in midlife. I've also noticed my "look" is changing more rapidly as I move through menopause.
At first I thought, "that's weird".
Then I thought, "Well, OK it makes sense, I didn't hatch from an egg".
(Do you talk to yourself like this? lol)
Of course I'm going to resemble the women I grew up around - I totally have my mom's smile and have been told I favor an aunt on my dad's side who passed away when I was young.
My earliest memories, which I had forgotten, of my female relatives now emerge with a jolt when I see myself in photos or a side glance in a mirror.
And I kind of like it, actually. My grandmother, slim with an acerbic sense of humor that could draw blood, was not your stereotypical rotund cheery lady baking cookies. She was, however, beautiful and witty when she was relaxed and happy.
One thing Mimi did not do was spend much time at was sitting at a desk. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, or even standing around in one place (like in a retail job), check your look in the mirror.
I notice in some pictures (see this from a recent trip to London, where we stayed in a cool loft) that I'm starting to develop bad posture around the shoulders and upper back area - this used to be known as the "dowagers hump" - a sign of aging in the past. I'm not an expert but I think it really is simply lack of tone in those areas that gets worse over time. I have seen a rounded back and shoulders in younger women who are out of shape many times.
This is not a fitness blog and like I said, I'm not an expert, but I don't think its inevitable that we get a hunchback over time.
Another point about good posture is this - it definitely affects our confidence. Alegre Ramos, a public speaking coach I worked with, says, "Do some Wonder Woman poses before you speak. Or anytime, really, that you want a confidence boost".
The below photo is a great example. I noticed a few years ago what beautiful posture Samantha Bond from Downton Abbey has. I googled it and didn't find anything about her workout routine, my guess is she has some classical dance training.
Power poses are rooted in our animal brains, and send a powerful signal to our psyche. Notice the difference between me and my grandmother in the above photos. I didn't plan my pose, but it shows the real me coming out after I had finally come to end of a grueling separation, divorce, and downsizing the majority of our shared possessions to only what would fit in my car. I had given up my lease on the house in Santa Rosa, and was literally leaving the driveway that day to take off on the next phase of my life. I was READY.
Now, however, I realize my potential for adopting a permanent turtle profile is a natural result of spending a lot of time hunched over my computer and looking down at my damn phone.
Given that my time on the computer is not likely to decrease anytime soon, I use exercise and this tip from Kathryn Anne Flynn's IntelligentEdge.Yoga blog to start making small improvements over time. Its an inexpensive way to remind yourself to sit up straight. I now keep a strap at my desk to use for a few hours a day as part of my 2018 routine upgrade:
Bonus - if you have upper back tension and pain at the shoulder blade, its like a miracle cure.
I use a karate belt Sergio had laying around in a drawer. He loves this new use for an old belt - it makes me sit up very, ahem, straight. It's like an instant boob lift. lol.
A yoga strap with the folding buckle, like Kathryn's, the pretty lady above, is probably the best for holding tension.
We are so fortunate to live in a time when we have more than enough knowledge about keeping physically whole as we age, and no serious social disapproval for moving and using our bodies as we age. I'm pretty sure the authorities would have been called if my grandmother had worked out in a public park the way I do - burpees, downward dog, and partner yoga with Sergio. Even today at times we get raised eyebrows from some señoras walking their cute little dogs.
How about you? Are you beginning to see the shadows of your beautiful grandma or other female relatives in the mirror? How does it make you feel?
Can you hear her lovingly saying, "Stand up straight, honey, inside and out"?
What would you like to have in your life in 6 months that is not here, now? I'm offering complimentary Mirror Your Brilliance strategy sessions for select women through mid-January - a one on one conversation about your goals. More info at www.mirroryourbrilliance.com