I’ve been thinking a lot about the opportunity I, and Portland Family, have been given to partner with Stacy London’s Style for Hire over the next several months. I want to share with you some background information on why this partnership is so significant and how I hope it directly helps you.
I am a 45-year-old single mom of a 12-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. I own a business, so like most moms navigating family, career, kids and life, I often try to find ways to preserve sanity. Some of my habits are healthy (I get up at 4:30 a.m. to go the gym four – five mornings a week) and others (sugar, sugar and sugar) are not.
But really, to me, reevaluating 45 means a lot more than just trying to tweak a diet or lose 15 pounds. I am riding the crests of some pretty intense emotional, mental and spiritual waves. I’m at the age when friends die of heart attacks and cancer. Friends’ kids are off to college. I deeply ponder where my life’s happiness and health priorities reside; how do I feel about myself and the woman I’ve become? At middle age, how and what do I understand about death, God, being at peace with life’s uncertainty?
Where do I grow from here? Who am I now?
I’m not the lost, naive woman I was in my 30s. I had just gotten married. I didn’t yet have kids. My career path was still undecided. Sure, we all have some fundamental traits we carry forward from our 20s and 30s, but in our mid-40s, we are much more seasoned.
Identity is huge. How we see and face ourselves can be a little overwhelming and scary when we’re going through these mid-life changes. Wrinkles are more pronounced. Getting up and out of bed in the morning is slightly more difficult. I know if I eat too much junk food I will pay. I have to strain a little bit more while driving to read street signs at night. I may occasionally forget a name of someone I am trying to recall — all little things on their own. But looking in the mirror I sometimes wonder, “Who is this woman looking back at me?”
Am I scared of getting older? Maybe. I do realize that better-fitting and more stylish clothes, disappearing wrinkles and losing weight is one thing. To some these may appear superficial. I do believe that all we really need to survive in this life is good health and love. Yet being happy also comes from how we feel about ourselves, especially as we transition in this middle-age zone. Sometimes you got to shed some identity skin.
I want to find internal peace. I want to like and love who I am, accept my quirky, unique nature. So to me, “Empowering Self & Style” is about the journey of refinement. It’s about identity. It’s about rediscovering where I belong in the world of Janna. I acknowledge that because of the position I’m in as publisher of a magazine, amazing opportunities come along. I never take them for granted, try to find ways to share them with others and believe that no matter our positions or places in life, everyone has access to unique sets of opportunities. It’s up to us to make the most of what’s best for ourselves.
I do not look at the clearing of the closet, the forthcoming shopping trips, the botox treatments, or any of the other health and beauty services we will be taking part in as merely superficial endeavors. They are each part of a much bigger whole, and they comprise reconfiguring the individual pieces of my puzzle.
I am also doing other work, like looking at my spiritual health (I want to spend a few minutes a day in quiet reflection and prayer); my physical health (it’s time to be realistic about what I am really putting in my body); my friendship health (pick up the phone and call friends instead of text or email); the health of my relationships with my kids (yes, I will be spending more one-on-one time with each of my kids).
This is not the clichéd Ladies Home Journal version of how to fix my life “in 10 easy steps.” Change, progress and growth are commitment because they require self-honesty and courage. It’s not that glamorous or sexy to take internal inventory.
So yes, I am working with Style for Hire stylists and will have some amazing partners contributing to my overall transformation over the next year. I see it as an ongoing process. I don’t expect to ever really “arrive” per se, we are sharing a snapshot in time. I’m sharing this process publicly because I believe we all have the ability to be inspired and accomplish just about anything we set our minds to. There will always be victories and setbacks. That’s just life.
What I want you to see in our stories and efforts is some aspect of yourself, your fear, your struggle, your hope and your ability to believe in more authentic things for yourself. Whether it’s a better-fitting suit, less wrinkles, improved diet, or a fantastic pair of shoes, all these things comprise our ability to whole-heartedly face and embrace ourselves.
We look forward to sharing our unfolding stories and I will do my best to be honest about this process. As I said, I am nervous and excited at the same time, but I believe 45 is the perfect time to get to know myself again, set some new goals, learn to take care of myself and my body and redefine how I represent myself to the world!
Here are Portland Family’s initial Empowering Self & Style partners.
- Krista Swan. Krista is the other mom (alongside me) to be a recipient and documenter of Style for Hire’s services and process. She’s a fashionista, professional mother of two and a damn fine individual. We have complementary ideas and styles. You’ll meet her as our first subject.
- KOIN-TV CBS. KOIN is very much looking forward to showcasing how Style for Hire’s, Portland Family’s and KOIN’s joined audience members can discover the many levels and nuances of empowering their own senses of Self & Style. They will be doing televised segments and posting updates on KOIN’s website. KOIN is one of our most involved local channels, and cares about improving the lives of its viewers by sharing meaningful information. We are grateful they are with us!
- Pearl Women’s Center. When we researched finding a partner that helped women feel good on the inside and outside, we connected with Pearl Women’s Center. This innovative medical practice brings together skilled experts in key areas of women’s health and serves as a resource throughout the different stages of a woman’s life. From Dr. Richard Rosenfield’s expertise in state-of-the-art, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, to Kyle Bell McAvoy, Certified Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner, and her work with hormonal health and balance, to Dr. Meghan Richmond’s aesthetic services, Pearl Women’s Center is full service.