A big part of one’s quarter-life crisis is wondering ‘what do I want to be when I grow up?’ Because, when you’re pushing thirty, you have to level up to the bleak reality that ‘warrior princess’ is not a practical career path. It’s hard enough to make it to the gym twice a week. Getting legs like Hope Solo’s? Hey, it could happen. Total transformation into She-Ra? Mm, no.
I suppose there’s more wisdom in the saying ‘Bloom where you are planted’ than I would have previously given it credit. Nothing against big dreamers—the explorers, innovators, entrepreneurs and the like—who move history forward. (I’ll give Nietzsche that much.) But on the flip side of ‘thinking big’ is the Uncle Rico syndrome: missing out on the here and now opportunities because you’re preoccupied mourning what can’t be had. But I digress . . .
I was planted in the South. ‘Always been proud to be a Southerner, but now I wonder how one ought to age gracefully in that culture. I have queasy feelings about the term ‘Southern Belle’ and whether it is a label worth pursuing. The southern belles of history are cool. But modern debutantes and Junior Leagues? Eh. Nothing particularly cool about old money nowadays, except that it’s money.
But then I thought of a certain community of women from Church that I admired when I was a kid (and still do). For a ten year old, it was not an “I want to BE YOU” fascination (that was still reserved for the She-Ra Princess of Power spinoffs.) But one couldn’t not like these grandes dames of Grand Lagoon. They were stylish, albeit in a middle-age kind of way. They wore make-up well and highlighted their hair. When I had play dates with their kids I was in awe of their neat homes. But ultimately, these women were so nice. They called you honey and they meant it. Some were glamorous, some were not, some were perpetually bubbly—one I can hardly visualize without a glass of red wine in her hand, some were hilariously sarcastic, some were quiet. They were school teachers, nurses, homemakers, and lawyers. They were all fountains of graciousness.
And, in my mind, any one of them makes a better Southern Belle than some Town & Country cover-girl.