Short & Sweet - week beginning December 19

My sister is an expert gift-giver: a simple journal and literary-minded calendar.
Let's catch up: Another year older as I sit here today, I contemplated my reflection in the mirror this morning with my husband, whose beard now sports a few grey hairs! Of course, turning 31 is hardly an event to send you into a plastic-surgery-booking stupor, but in our youth-obsessed society, every passing year for a woman is reason to contemplate one's exterior (not for too long - that's a hazard in itself). Around this age it's said you come to face the face you deserve: if you have been most unkind to your skin (sunbaking and starving yourself thin?) then you'll start to see the results creeping in; if you are wise and eat well and cover up, you'll look all the better for it. No big secret.

While it's no good thing to compare, contemplate for a second Sarah Jessica Parker v Jennifer Aniston. Jen is always banging on about eating the right thing (helps, too, perhaps if you have the genetics of a Greek angel) and taking strolls on the beach, while a weary SJP is busy tugging her kids along New York streets (when she's not running her empire). Lifestyle shows itself on your face, make no mistake. The problem is, I think, how we choose to look at this: wearing our wrinkles and laugh lines and progress in the world proudly or tirelessly striving to achieve baby-smooth skin into our 50s.

Over the weekend, we watched Mike Leigh's Another Year, a film about ageing and friendship and family, as I sat feeling very sick with the flu on the couch Saturday night, which helped put things into perspective. The film's protagonists are a lovely, cheerful older couple named Tom and Gerri (ha!) who open their home to a few lost souls, including ageing beauty Mary (played by Lesley Manville), as the four seasons roll in.

Tom is a geologist and Gerri is a counsellor, and in their spare time they tend to their fruit and vegetable patch in a nearby allotment from which they procure good food to cook as they talk about their day over a glass of wine. It's a simple life they lead made complex by their friends' woes; they are beacons of stability amongst the chaos of the world (we all know that kind of couple!). At the end of the day, they both read in bed with glasses on and cuddle. It's nice. It's what I aspire to... though not plausible for all. I think that if, despite all life's challenges, you can get to the end and still share a laugh and a cuddle in bed with the one you love, well, that's got to offset the inevitably wrinkly skin and the boobs that no longer sit up around your chin.
This week's agenda: More celebration of my recent trip, including a look at Disneyland, as I travel from the Sunshine Coast back home to make last-minute Christmas preparations.
The Word for the Week: "Consider it all joy...when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance...that you may be perfect and complete." James 1:2
Quote of the Week: "Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface. 'Hip' people love parodies. But there's no such thing as a timeless parody, is there? I have more respect for the earnest guy who does something that can last for generations, and that hip people feel the need to parody." - Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture in a chapter titled 'Earnest is Better Than Hip'. word for the week: gangrel \GANG-gruhl\, noun:
1. A lanky, loose-jointed person.
2. A wandering beggar; vagabond; vagrant.
"As I entered the house, I was greeted by a gangrel of a girl; all limbs outstretched on a chair, creamy white skin and long-flowing blonde hair. I felt a little despair."
Reading: The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger by Lee Strobel.

Girl With a Satchel


Anonymous said...

I don't think you should compare at all Erica. Firstly it's an awful thing to compare women based on physical appearance. And secondly, I doubt that ms Anniston is rocking her god given wrinkles.

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

Anon, the comparison was really self-reflective; I identify more with SJP and think she's terrific and love that she has seemingly not gone down the plastic surgery route. I do think we can maybe be a bit precious about comparisons and such; if the motive behind them is not to poke fun, nor to humiliate, nor to suggest sneaky surgery, but instead to say, 'Hey, we're all women here and this is reality', then I believe it's okay.

Scarlett Harris @ The Early Bird Catches the Worm said...

Eep, Disneyland! Can't wait to read all about it. And happy birthday, too! xx

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday Erica!!! and thank you for faithful blog posts. Know, too, that even if there are no "comments" they're still being enjoyed and appreciated.