For example, for years and years several of my longtime female friends required at least an hour of prep time before leaving home.
Even if we were doing a no-boys-allowed activity, they sported full cosmetic masks of perfection and hair spray helmets before they stepped into daylight.
Now? Well let’s just say that mid-50s primping has a drastic twist.
“Are you ... did you marry an Amish guy?” I asked a friend I had not seen in years.
“No,” she snapped. “I am not Amish. Why would you ask that question?”
“You aren’t wearing make-up,” I whispered. “I hardly knew you without that liquid stuff smeared on your face. Your lashes always looked like nests for baby spiders. But now, I hardly recognize you.”
“I am sick of all of that,” she snapped. “If people can’t recognize my naked face, I don’t care.”
As I quietly studied another friend’s face, I finally realized what was so different about her. “Wow! Your eyes are blue,” I said with a smile.
“For years I wore green contacts so I could look mysterious,” she grumbled. “But when my left eye got horribly irritated by the contacts, I decided to go back to being a regular blue-eyed gal with wide hips. These days, the only mystery in my life is about where I lost my cellphone.”
“And you,” I grinned at another friend, “you showed up at yard sales, ball games and bonfires in stilettos. I had no idea that you even owned a pair of tennis shoes.”
“Well I stopped walking around on a couple of pencils,” she said with an eye roll. “If my calves look like wads of lard because I’m wearing sneakers instead of high heels, the world will continue to rotate.”
“I retired from high heels too,” another girl said in a tired voice. “I have hammer toes. Without a morphine drip I will never wear another pair of heels.”
Then my eyes noticed a designer-clothing-loving friend. “Are you actually wearing pajama pants?”
“This is lounge wear,” she barked at me. “These days I’m fat and sassy and easily aggravated. I am also 57 years old. So if I want to stroll through the grocery store in lounge wear, I will.”
“You don’t need to be huffy about it,” I said. “I’m on your side. I happen to be addicted to pajamas myself. I was simply noting that I see a big change in you.”
Oh yeah, once in their 50s, many women happily trade fancy for fluffy so they can freely wallow around on the floor to play with the grandkids.
And middle-aged guys are making some big changes too. Somewhere between the nightly news and “Jeopardy,” they are slobbering and snoring on the couch pillows. Why? Because when we get into our 50s, most of us really dig a nap every now and then.
I must admit that male hair growth in weird places kinda freaks me out. I probably spend way too much time wondering why middle- aged guys suddenly need to shave fur from their earlobes and fuzzy stuff from their nostrils.
It doesn’t make sense at all that so many men lose the hair on their heads but suddenly grow shag carpet on their ears.
As we age we want to settle safely into a yawn of a life. We avoid stress and empty wine bottles. We embrace comfortable shoes, beat-up sweatpants and friends who make us laugh. We welcome adventure and cherish good health.
Those gifts, plus an occasional nap, are all we need in these life moments.