Would you really want to be young again?

So, last week, I thought it a good idea to go prom dress shopping with Brooke and two of her friends. Good idea? I’m not so sure…

Did we come out with a dress? Yes, but all three girls liked the same dress so the one who saw it first gets to wear it and the other two still wanted to buy it but can’t wear it. The thing is, the two friends we went with are twins, so them wearing the same dress would be completely acceptable, but Brooke wearing the same dress, two’s company, three’s a crowd? I think so, after 3.5 hours of shopping in Manchester’s biggest shopping centre, we still have the challenge of finding a dress!

Anyway, the reason I mention this story isn’t to tell you about me pulling my hair out about my idea of what type of dress an 11-year old should wear, but to mention what I observed whilst I was at this shopping centre with so many mums and daughters looking for the perfect outfit.

Many of the mums were in their 40s just like me, some were younger and some were older. What I did notice was the difference in energy between the mum’s and their daughters. The daughters had their heads up, comfortable in their own bodies, their opinions were forthright and they looked happy, some radiant. The mums on the other hand, looked tired, fed up and their body language screamed I am not enough, I have lost who I am.

This upset me as when I looked at them, I saw myself. I heard the mum’s saying that the skirts were ‘too short’ or a top was ‘too revealing’, all of which I agreed with. I also saw the lingering look at the outfit the older ladies took, that once upon a time, maybe they wore something similar when they were younger. Maybe they wished they could still wear something like that…

The daughters bounced around, from outfit to outfit, not really listening to their mum’s opinions, but challenging her even more with shorter and more daring apparel. The daughter wanted to be heard, seen and in charge and so did mum, the only thing was, they had very different perceptions on what was fashionable and acceptable. They also had very different perceptions about WHO should make the choice about an outfit.

It made me think about how things have changed in the last 30 years, girls had a much bigger choice of clothes, of styles and the expectation was that they should be able to choose whatever style they liked, seen on their favourite social media influencer. The mum’s were making suggestions, just to receive an insult from her daughter. This is what hurt most, the older ladies, feeling like they still knew what was in style, and the younger girls looking at them like they had lost their minds.

Each older lady looked wounded…The realisation that she was not a teenager anymore, that maybe she wasn’t as cool as she used to be. Her body doesn’t look the same and the younger girls to not look at her through envious eyes.

This disturbed me as it hit me that I felt the same, the realisation that you’re now the parent and not the daughter. The knowledge that your body is not the same as it once was, your life is not as carefree anymore and you’re maybe not as popular as you once were. These mums were feeling the loss of youth, the mourning of what once was and what they have now become.

What these ladies didn’t realise was they were still beautiful, their faces were still pretty, if they straightened up their posture and walked tall, they were as attractive as they’d ever been. More than that though, it made me see what I must see in myself, older does not mean uglier, it just means maturer, in body and in mind. That the focus shouldn’t be on what once was, but what you still are.

I challenge you ladies, to stand tall, to see what you’ve achieved by creating this beautiful life and focus on what is really important. Knowing who you are and what you are about, as a woman, as a soul and as someone who has evolved into a beautiful being.

Stand tall ladies, appreciate who you are not who you were…. You are more than enough and understand yourself more than you ever have done and that is something to celebrate!

Jennie Clare xxx

June 17, 2023 — Jennie Arnold

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