Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Authentically steps...

Let's explore role models....
I shared in my post here, that this year, I'd be furthering my goal of December 2016, by finding ways to emulate the rather glamorous Dita Von Teese. I look nothing like her, and I'm older than her by at least THIS many years. But life is too short to trifle with such details, right? I say, wear the dresses, curl the hair, shine in heels, and boast the red lipstick, while there's still breath in the body to do so.
Now you might not be Dita in hiding. Jane shared with us that her role model is Babe Paley. And that she at a similar stage of life to myself, is slowly edging towards a Babe Paley style.
It's never too late, and it seems strangely appropriate, that when we women have reached a stage in our lives where we have time to ourselves, that sometimes, just sometimes, an overhaul is just what the doctor ordered. Lets do that before the doctor gets around to ordering anything else, shall we?
Nobody becomes who they are overnight.
In fact, I've discovered you can be several 'people' in one lifetime, and in fact, most of us are.
How else does one go from school student, to University scholar, to Careerwise adult, and maybe wife or husband, parent, caregiver, and glamorous grandparent.
Within each of those 'lifetimes' are many little changes that we adopt through necessity or choice. Habits that sustain us through each phase of our life and make us who we are.

When you're young, your ambitions are invariably quite different to those you may have in middle age, or retirement.
I remember when all I wanted was to be respected in my field of expertise, and earn a decent income to support my little family.
Life throws us all curve balls though, and few, if anyone, remains unscathed. So when my third child was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, it was time for a new me, to emerge. The career girl me left the building, figuratively speaking, and the stay at home carer me, emerged.
Meeting my husband changed that again, and I morphed into stay at home wife and mother, with the birth of my daughter.
I bet you've had some unexpected challenges and changes in your life too, and I wonder how those have altered the path of your life?

I loved being a full time homemaker and relished treating the task as professionally as I had my previous career. Occasionally I'd look back with fondness and miss my Corporate Career girl days, but truly, what I missed most was dressing up! And we will come back to that!

Meanwhile, we bought and renovated a tiny house, turning it into something a little more grand, and I delicately planted the seed of an idea (pun intended!), that as we had a little bit of land, we might eventually plant some productive trees. Husband argued strenuously against this until it miraculously became his idea some 10 years later...
I think for most of us, establishing a home is a lifelong task, and I'd be interested to know how many of you have done as we have, and built something lovely, from something humble, as opposed to buying picture perfect from day one? Please share your stories...send me some photos if you'd like. I'd love to feature them...

In the interim, I set about changing my 'image' for want of a better word, to suit the stay at home Mum and carer that became my persona for two decades. This was hard work. Many of my friends were spend-a-holics, and did not take kindly to hand crafted gifts, by the new stay at home Me. I decided that if my efforts were not appreciated, perhaps I had the wrong friends, and over time, those connections diminished and faded, and new ones took their place. This happened gradually and peaceably over a decade or so, and it was really pretty painless in the end. As someone wise once said, we become most like the five people with whom we spend our time. Those were not my 'people'. Not only that, I did not aspire to be like them.

Creating gifts was an enormous money saver for someone who hadn't in the past, blinked an eyelid at investing some $7000-$8000 a year, in gifts alone. At first I went at this task in a generic fashion, gifting the same thing to everyone...and that didn't always work. Over a period of years, I became more adept at anticipating peoples preferences, and now have an arsenal of hand crafted ideas that were, and remain, welcomed by the new people in my life.

I spent those years learning a new skill each year, and promising myself that I would not obsess with being perfect, perfect not really being the point. However I would ensure that my efforts were targeted, thoughtful, and beautifully presented.

As time wore on, I became more clever with all kinds of things, including cake decorating, and these days, a gift of a cake, is a greatly anticipated one amongst our social circle.

Meanwhile we grew things, both pretty and productive, and turned our home into the castle we desired. Not the one everyone else had. The one we wanted.

My point is, that it took me close to a decade and a half to master being 'that person'. So I can fully expect to take at least half as long again, becoming the New Me.
In 2017, my most active child rearing days drew to a satisfying close, with our youngest child and only daughter, graduating high school, and successfully auditioning for a Tertiary performing arts placement.
Suddenly, time is my own and 7 years of practising how to look pretty again, is a manageable task, however sad I am about the completion of my previous life. I wonder how many of you have faced as I have, the bittersweet freedom from the routine of school days and school vacations? Wonderful, peaceable, but lacking the closeness with offspring that long car rides provided without even trying. But that's the natural progression of life, isn't it.
At nearly 58 years old, and aware that my maternal grandmother and my mother, didn't get more than 60 years, I've declared this my time. Time for me to continue to enjoy being a homemaker, because I wouldn't trade that for the world. But also time for me to reassert my former glamorous self. That self that's been hidden behind the day to day tasks of Full Time Mama.
So here I am. And here you are too. Perhaps you're not at quite the same stage, or perhaps you're ahead of me and happily retired. Either way, we are in this together, so where to now?
Well, I've chosen a role model. So has Jane. Maybe your role model has less to do with appearances and more to do with good deeds and higher learning. That's okay too. What we're here for, is to support one another through this time of change.
I started in 2017, by educating myself on good style principles in general. That was a real eye opener for me.
In 2018, I've chosen to expand on those ideas and use them to become a rather more upmarket version of 'me', for myself, and perhaps too, for my husband. He most certainly deserves to have the best version of Wifey possible.
So it's baby steps. A whole year just learning about how to flatter my much changed body shape in 2017.
This year, another whole year of finding my inner 'Dita'. Of relearning the art of curling my hair, applying eyeliner, wearing heels, and buying frothy petticoats.
It will be interesting, I think. I am looking forward to it.
What about you? What baby steps can you take to transition from where you are, to where you'd like to be, no matter what or who that is?
Tell me all.
Love, Mimi


  1. Oh Mimi I love your blog so much, it's inspiring and yes it's me....I am 58 but working shift work and I am hoping that the end of 2019 I can retire when I will be over 60 but not yet 61. Shift work has really tired me out and I am not sure I can do it for more years than that.

    1. Dear Emily, I'm so glad to have had you following for all these years. It's an absolute privilege. I can imagine that shift work would be hard. I felt like a shift worker when my disabled son lived at home. I didn't sleep through the night for twenty years straight. I wears you down. I hear you. I will be hoping and praying that retirement comes earlier rather than later for you. Love, Mimi xxx

  2. I have carefully considered who might be my style role model. After nearly 60 years, I have streamlined not only the clothes in my wardrobe but also my focus and style. It is part of the evolution of being a certain age and mostly without too many family responsibilities.

    The person who has inspired me to continue to refine my style is Susan Street who blogs at Susan After 60 and previously at Fifty, Not Frumpy. At a glance we don't appear to have much in common but the things I like most are the fact she is adamant that you should be true to yourself and how she shows why certain elements work and others do not.

    I also appreciate her philosophy on life and generosity of spirit.

    1. Dear Fairy, yes I know of Susan. She is an inspiring woman, and someone who has worked hard at writing to inspire others. An admirable role model. You remind me very much of Katherine Hepburn. Sleek, tailored, and always immaculately groomed. And I agree...emulating another persons generosity of spirit is an important skill to adopt as well. Mimi xxx

    2. Hi Mimi. Im 60 and I just love your blog and facebook page. I have been following you enthusiastically for about a year now.I don't have a style role model as such. However, I am heavily influenced by 50s and 60s fashions. They can be glamorous or edgy. I love both. My wardrobe is a mix of high Qual vintage and a few investment items. I will straighten my hair when I want to look edgy . otherwise it's up in a classical bun! I wear jewelery on every occasion I can lol. You look fabulous by the way! !

  3. Love your posts! I hope to develop a style this year!!

  4. You are so right about how life can throw curve balls at us that change our pathways so much. Bluey, at 55, arrived home on our then property, went to jump out of the truck and promptly collapsed on the ground. His body simply would not hold him up. He was in pain from that moment to this, now 67. He was diagnosed with Rhuematoid Arthritis, and his is viscious. We still had two children at home, and he was finding his work as a horticulturalist so difficult. I told him I wanted him for the long haul and he should immediently retire. I was in a corporate position and had the income to cover our needs.
    Our property that we had bought as a one bedroom home with a seperate building for the laundry and bathroom had morphed, over 20 years, into a large homestead with a well established tropical garden. We raised our own beef and poultry and had a market garden for extra income. All this became too much. We sold our much loved, beautiful and complete home and moved interstate.
    The home we are now in(4 years now) is 30 years old, was a rental for 10 years before we bought it, and was decorated in various shades of poo. This home is now an oasis of cool and restfulness. The grass is slowly giving way to a more productive garden.
    Even here unexpected changes have taken place. Our adult daughter(26) decided she wanted to go to University full time. She has moved back in with us. We all get on very well and having her here has been an amazing help when Bluey has had his various long term and short term hospital visits.
    I went from a corporate career lady for work and farm hand at home, to semi retired in a beach community with neighbours right next door. My husband seemed to be doing really well when he was knocked down with major illness in 2016. He had just recovered and been given the all clear when he spent another week in ICU at the end of last year. In all of this I no longer knew what I needed to be. Now I have chosen to drop the hippy dippy self and keep parts of that boho with a much more sleek interpretation. Here's to 2017 being a year of learning about me for me.


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx