Vanity - Does It Have a Shelf Life? - a Perspective
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:
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
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?
Shauna L Bowling
Refining, Defining, or Rhyming
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This Month's Contributions
Please visit the links below to view other perspectives on this month's theme. It's always interesting to see the various avenues taken in perception.
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