Yesterday I spoke to my favorite French cousin, Françoise. She called me from Port Navalo, a charming seaside town in southern Brittany on the Atlantic coast. We compared notes on our summers, and she explained she had managed the 7-member tribe of her grandchildren (she is 60+) for two weeks in July, with the help of an au pair, but needed three days on the sofa to recover! She then explained that three days ago she had been in a traffic jam (on the highway returning from a week with friends on the Mediterranean), when she received a phone call inviting her for ten days on the Atlantic Coast. So, while immobilized in traffic she went on to her phone and booked a train ticket. She finally arrived home at 1am, put some clean undies in her suitcase, then got up at 5am to catch her train for Brittany. Wow. Now that is inspiring joie de vivre!
How many of us would have declined, too tired or lazy or insufficiently motivated to book a last-minute train, skip a few hours of sleep, and head off to a new adventure?
Joy, Adventure, and Style
Joy isn’t served on a platter; you need to reach for it.
And while on the subject of making an effort, we also need to talk about presentation.
Certainly, some Americans consider dressing up a bore, and many 50+ women drift toward comfortable, shapeless garments in tones of “pebble, sand or stone” but the French — at any age — avoid shapeless. At a recent cocktail party, every guest was over fifty (and some were over 80) each and every one was coiffed, pressed and accessorized. You wouldn’t wear your pajamas to the office or a bathing suit to the opera; you need to have clothes that suit you and your lifestyle as it exists today. There is a notion that as we age our bodies lose their shape so our clothes need to retain theirs!
Living your best life means feeling your best in the sense of emotional wellbeing. We feel better if we make a point of choosing clothes that are flattering, that fit, that suit us and our lifestyle and our idea and our image of ourselves.