Vanity - Does It Have a Shelf Life? - a Perspective

Is this vanity?
Is this vanity? | Source

Vanity - Preface

Last month, our team of five: MickeySr., Docmo, Maria and Martie and myself, introduced the first in a monthly series called Perspectives. This series is the brainchild of MickeySr. He thought it would be nice to create a team of writers to give their 'take' on a different theme each month. Each theme is one that, hopefully will give our readers food for thought. I know this writer has had to go deep in order to come up with my perspective on each subject.

Each month we encourage writers to join us a guest member of the 'band'. This month we are privileged to have Gypsy Rose Lee join in our 'session'. Welcome, Rasma!

This is an opportunity for each of the writers and our readers to take a look at themselves and answer questions about what they believe; questions we many not othewise ask ourselves through the course of our daily hustle and bustle. It is a way to direct ourselves inside and perhaps reintroduce ourselves to the core, in order to recognize who we are and strengthen our souls; to reel us back into the wonders we are as people, children of God.

Today's world has brought too much distress, stress, dissention and competition. As the result loss of perspective has taken us outside of who we were meant to be when we were created and given this awesome gift of life. Consequently, we are in danger of losing our perspectives regarding what is important to us and what defines our souls. It is imperative we periodically have conversations with our inner being in order to stay on track and be someone of whom we are proud. We, each and every one of us, are beautiful, special and have a gift to offer the world as the unique individuals we are.

Be warned, when I write for pleasure as opposed to writing for a living, I tend to speak in the first person. I speak from my heart, offering my point of view as developed through my experiences. Perhaps this ties in very well with this month's theme of vanity.

We hope you enjoy our perspectives and gain some of your own in the process. Let's all celebrate the beauty of each other!

That being said, let's start with the basics:

Uncle Random still lives on!
Uncle Random still lives on! | Source
My writer's bible.
My writer's bible. | Source

What is the Definition of Vanity?


When I was in broadcasting school a hundred years ago, one of our required textbooks was the Random House Dictionary. We aspiring broadcasters lovingly referred to it as ‘Uncle Random’. Uncle Random, circa 1980, still sits on my desk; we interact daily. Today I asked Uncle Random to tell me what vanity means to him. This is what he had to say about that: 1. excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.: conceit. Then he reiterated himself, as dictionaries tend to do, until 4. lack of real value; triviality or worthlessness.


Food for Thought


Hmmm. This gives me food for thought. Until my conversation with Uncle Random this morning, I equated vanity to physical appearance alone. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know once upon a time ago, I was quite vain. I was hot and I knew it! Talk about conceited, huh?

Once enlightened on the expanded definition of vanity I got to thinking… How much of our lives are spent on trivial matters? Does vanity fade with age or is it simply redirected? Time for reflection folks!


Metamorphosis From Vanity to Pride

That was then.  Notice the waist length hair behind the waist I was able to show!
That was then. Notice the waist length hair behind the waist I was able to show! | Source
This is now.
This is now. | Source
My greatest achievement - my son in a belly laugh!
My greatest achievement - my son in a belly laugh! | Source

Time for Reflection

At age 55, I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I no longer have the hot bod I once had. My jean size has gone from size three to double digits. Initially, it was quite distressing, really. My body shifted and there wasn’t much I could to about it. Over the years I haven’t done anything differently except age. Exercise isn’t my thing. I never had to work at my body when I was young and this old dog definitely isn’t up for learning new tricks; at least not in the form of exercise. No longer having a man in my life, sexercise seems to be pretty much out of the picture, too and I’m okay with that.

My hair has turned silver in spots and the face has aged. But, hey, those aren’t wrinkles – they’re laugh lines! I’ve laughed a lot in my life and still do. I’ve earned every one of those lines (not to mention the silver hair) and I must say I’m proud of them. Wait a minute – does that mean I’m still vain? No, just proud. Do I regret my new middle aged body? Not in the least; I had a damn good time getting here!

That brings me to reflect upon qualities and achievements. Is vanity speaking when one discusses their qualities? According to Uncle Random, as long as you don’t excessively pat yourself on the back, the answer is ‘no’. However, why would anyone need to tell others of their qualities? Wouldn’t they be apparent? Unless filling out a form on Plenty of Fish or Match.com, why would you speak of yourself in such a way? Perhaps if you are insecure, which I believe to be the opposite of vanity, you may need to make yourself a Ben Franklin sheet listing your qualities and negative attributes alike. Weigh the positive versus the negative in order to strengthen your self image. If the negatives outweigh the positives, you have some work to do! Once you have self-assessed, take a look. The qualities that make you unique naturally shine on their own so they don’t need to be spoken.

Achievements, however, may be another matter. I’d like to think every human on this earth has achieved something for which they are proud. I, for one, am proud of having raised my son to be a young man with compassion, a sense of humor and a huge heart. And I did it as a single mom from the time he was 6. I’ve put a roof over his head, clothes on his back, food in his belly and love in his heart. I’m pretty damn proud of that!

I've also recently taken a giant leap, albeit a risky one, to work towards my life dream of becoming a full time writer. If not now, when? I’m pretty proud of that, too! There are other things of which I’m proud; working towards a green lifestyle, being self-sufficient and comfortable with myself. Is that being vain? No, that is pride. That is knowing who I am and working towards refining my life.



Perspectives Change With Wisdom


I thank Uncle Random for prompting this conversation with myself (and now you!). He has helped me answer the question, “does vanity have a shelf life?” The answer, at least for this little girl, is yes. Vanity has had its place in my life and I wore it well. Now it’s time to put in on a shelf. I’ll keep it there until I need a reminder not to get so wrapped up in myself that I fail to see beyond me, myself and I. I’ll open the door, see vanity staring me in the face and rejoice in my growth over the years. Vanity or pride. Which will you put on a shelf?

Peace,

Bravewarrior


Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining, or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved


Invitation

Next month's theme is Gratitude. We would love to be graced by your perspective. If interested in being a guest writer for November's theme, please contact any one of us via comment or email. Thank you!

© 2012 Shauna L Bowling

More by this Author


Comments 39 comments

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 4 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

. . . didn't you find it interesting that, as your mind began to snoop around the idea of 'vanity', and what kind of useful insight you may be able to share about it, that thoughts from our first 'Perspectives:' on "Knowing Your True Self" kept recurring to you?

". . . having raised my son to be a young man with compassion, a sense of humor and a huge heart" - Shauna, we know that this kind of thing doesn't just happen, it takes relentless and well deliberated over labor to raise our children to be adult people we delight to spend time with. Good job on that - and good job on "Vanity".


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Mickey. Actually, being true to myself is my mantra. It's how I keep myself in check, so I think it subconsciously comes thru in everything I do or write.


vonda g nelson 4 years ago

personally i don't think there's anything wrong with being a bit vain. I believe things get messy and outta hand when one takes their vanity to other levels that involve hype and delusion.


SommerDalton profile image

SommerDalton 4 years ago

Great hub! And I think you definitely made the right choice to be a full time writer:)! Voted up, awesome, interesting and useful!!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

It's an interesting subject and one you handled quite well. I think to a certain extent we all have vanity, but the key is the word "excessive." I, for one, am tired of the vanity we see in today's society....the me, me, me obsession, and the ain't I great mentality. Little people with little thoughts, or living in a dream world of their own creation. Give me real people who are not enamored with themselves and I'll show you someone who can be my friend.

Great job Sha! Might be your best!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

My Sha,

I love how we both started out with Uncle Random and started weaving our own tapestries... You are a beautiful woman from deep within your core so vanity doesn't have a gosh darn thing to do with it, whether you are a 2 or a 12...

Love you, love this...Maria


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Vonda, I get your point. We need a little bit of vanity in order to keep moving forward. It's when vanity breeds superficiality that is becomes detrimental. Thank you for the comment!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Wow, Sommer you have just become my Monday hero! Thank you for your very supportive words.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Bill, truer words were never spoken. We have become a me, me, me world and look where it's getting us! I'll stay in my little bubble and avoid those with that mentality as long as it's comfortable.

I actually had a hard time with this month's theme. I appreciate your appreciation of the direction I took. Enjoy your day, my friend!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Feeling good in your own skin. WTG! Along with the laugh lines there are so many wonderful memories. Thank you for telling it like it is. No sugar-coating from you.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ah, Maria you've just melted my heart - again! See, we are sisters. We both have an Uncle Random!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

This wonderful, honest and endearing reflection is why we love you Sha. Your pride in where you've arrived and what you've produced is a testament to your strength and integrity. Your being true to yourself Mantra and your pink spectacles have taught me a lesson or two. What a great perspective!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

That's me, Linda. I tell it like it is! I don't mince words. Thank you for stopping by!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mohan, you just gave me a chuckle with your reference to 'pink spectacles'. I'm so glad I've passed a pair on to our group. Life is beautiful thru rose-colored glasses, is it not? Hugs and kisses from Orlando!


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Loved your pics. It's really true that as time goes by we get more so to say adjusted. My days of skin tight jeans and mini skirts is long gone but you know I think I like myself a lot more. Wonderful reflection on you own lifestyle always be true to yourself. Besides we don't get older we get better.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

As a fine wine, Rasma! I'm so pleased you joined us this month. You are an amazing addition!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

It is good that you write from your heart and your point of view! "The qualities that make you unique naturally shine on their own so they don’t need to be spoken." You have much to be 'proud' of and from your beginnings here it looks like full time writing will take you great places.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mary, your encouragement fuels my inspiration. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

I really love this hub. What a progression, into this age of wisdom. I love the honesty you shared so freely and that you own your stuff, not blaming anyone or making excuses. This may be one of my favorites from your library. Great job Shauna. Voted up and awesome.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Oh my gosh, what a beautiful girl you were, Shauna! And you still are. This is a fact you can put in your pipe and smoke. Is this 'smoking of facts' not perhaps another way of realizing the profoundness of Ecclesiastes 1:2 - Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

I do believe that we should be proud of our good attributes, but we should also be aware of our shortcomings and of the FACT that all is vanity.

Shauna, I agree wholeheartedly with your perspective on vanity. Voted up, awesome and to be pondered.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Linda, I have to own my 'stuff' - who the hell else wants it? Ha ha. Seriously, we reap what we sow. We are responsible for the direction our lives take. If we get detoured, for whatever reason, it's up to us to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and move on. If we are the cause of the detour, we must 'fess up to it and learn from our mistakes or misdirections, whatever the case.

I'm glad that's what you got from this. I was afraid I was being 'vain' in my perspective of vanity!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Martie, I don't regret my days of being vain. I had fun. How else can you learn from retrospection if you don't have yin and yang - even if it's within your own personality!

BTW, at 5'2", I'll always have shortcomings. Get it? Ha ha!!


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Honey, there wasn't any vanity in this one. :-) You done good!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

:-), :-), :-)!


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

This is one of the honest hubs listed here on hub pages. I was fortunate enough to have parents who reminded us daily of what is important in life. Another large rule was accepting compliments graciously but never tainting them by seeking them. Additionally, we were reminded that with age some things are lost but others are gained, if you go about it the right way. Physical appearance doesn't stay the same and someone attempting to ride on their looks alone is in for a huge struggle and a rather large disappointment when they fade.

Fantastic article Shauna!


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Shauna - Another winner! Honesty always is there, whether we want to admit it or not. Vanity and self respect at times seem very similar when we're young. Only as we grow to we recognize the differences. Great Job!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're right, Beckie. Just as nutrition is found in wrinkled grapes (raisins), so is beauty in an older woman! Fine wine and all that.....

I never really was good at accepting compliments and I still have a hard time with them. I seem to always have to add a disclaimer. I'll work on it, tho!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Rich, when I was young it was more vanity than self-respect, although I possessed that, too. Today, self-respect is more important than vanity. If we're lucky, life forces us to choose our priorities.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Brilliant bravewarrior I loved it and vote up without a doubt.

Eddy.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Eddy, your comment means the world to me! Thank you sooooo much!!


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

You, my friend - are an old soul - i'm sure you know this, yes?

I feel very close to you in many ways, Shauna - we're around the same age - we both have a son that we adore and are proud to have raised single-handedly.

We get that vanity (by definition) is a waste of life and choose to spend time worrying about more important things than the size of our jeans or the wrinkles around our eyes !

Congratulations and best of luck on writing full time - i have complete faith in your leap of faith - and know you will succeed!

I'd love to write about gratitude-if you'll have me..


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Leslie, we would love to have you! I'll let the team know! Awesome my friend!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Leslie, we don't have the 'contact so and so' thing on our profile pages anymore. Please email me at rlbmate@embarqmail.com so we can talk about Perspectives.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Shauna,

I really enjoyed your perspectives on vanity.

Being proud of one's achievements is not vain like those who think they are God's gift to men and women.

Voted up across the board

Have a good evening. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Sue, there is definitely a difference between being proud and being arrogant! Thank you for stopping by and offering your perspective. Right on!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Lovely hub, brave and a lot of food for thought. :)


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Nice hub! thought-provoking too.

I think you still look great! The fact that you raised your son as a single mother is a big accomplishment, which you should be proud of. Feeling good about yourself and having goals are traits of people with a high self-esteem. For some people, having self-worth is taken to mean that you are vain or arrogant. This is not case.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Terrye! I'm glad I was able to feed your hungry mind! tee hee!!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida Author

I agree, lovedoctor. Self-worth is far from vanity or arrogance. It is accepting of oneself and knowing you are working towards being the best you can be. That is achievement, not conceit. Thank you for your wise comment and bless you for the follow!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working