Singing a song I wrote from scratch. Chasing the dog in the backyard. Swinging on the swingset and then exploring behind the huge pine tree. Pretending there were magical fairies in the flowers and trying to catch them while wearing a crown. Then it was time for Polly Pockets (Back when they were ridiculously small and a definite choking hazard). Finger Painting, coloring, bike riding. The number of activities were endless. I couldn’t wait to get out of bed and get the day started. There were more things to do than I had time for, and every day was different.
When you think back to childhood, think about the penchant for adventure. Every day offered a new chance to play, to make believe, to explore, even if you were at home. There were countless activities completed in a day at whim. Your heart’s desire led a lot of your choices (and also the parental figure in your life). But the sky seemed like the limit, magic was boundless, and you knew exactly what you loved to do.
Fast forward to adulthood, and it’s no wonder so many of us feel down. We chain ourselves to the 9-5 desk and pride ourselves on routine, day in and day out. We eat the same foods. We dress in the same styles, do our hair the same way, wear the same makeup. We schedule our bathroom breaks and our water breaks and take the same roads to work. We do what make sense and what saves time. We come home, carry on our routine. And we wonder why we end up feeling a bit lifeless.
Mixing It Up
One of the simplest mood (and life) boosters I’ve ascribed to in recent years is to mix it up. It really is that simple.
I know it would be great if mix it up meant we could all sell our house, buy an RV, and travel the world without a job. I know it would be great if we didn’t have to do chores, if we had an endless wardrobe budget, and if we didn’t have to worry about things like feeding our family. Still, I think there are practical ways you can add some spice to your life and some excitement.
You don’t have to have a travel budget to explore and to adventure. Some of the things I’ve done in recent years to mix it up and bring back excitement:
But what if you need a big change?
Sometimes, the little, tiny changes can make a difference and help us find our spark again. But sometimes, if we’re being honest, we need something more drastic.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to mix up our routine, we still feel blah. Sometimes, we dig deeper and realize our dream, our house, our town is making us miserable. And those big changes can be TERRIFYING. Tune back in next Monday when I’ll chat about tips for making a BIG change and how to make it less scary (I left my teaching career after TEN years, something I never thought I’d do).
Be sure to revisit Blog #1 about why rediscovering the magic in your life matters and blog post#2 about how incorporating positive media into your life can make a huge difference. And if you're looking for more inspiration, come join me on Instagram for more advice, inspiration, and motivation!
Yes, ‘Elder’ Millennial, You Need a Crop Top
Last week, I was scrolling TikTok to catch up on the Eras tour (My nightly pre-bedtime habit. I know, screens are bad before bed. But it’s my Eras era, so what can I say?) when I came across one of the many “millennial makeover” TikToks that have been popping up on my feed. The Gen Z expert helped the millennial trade her oversized cardigan, skinny jeans, and long cami for an updated look—which included a crop top.
And for all the ladies in the room in their thirties or beyond, cue the gasp. Right?
For as long as I can remember, the word “crop top” has been synonymous with an expletive.
“I haven’t found anything in the stores lately. It’s all just crop tops,” my friends and I complain over and over. We try on shirts that hit just at the top of our jeans and tug on them, explaining that they're just not long enough. We pile into the oversized shirts, the long cardigans. We hide, we cover, we camouflage and talk about how showing too much skin just isn’t right.
But as I scrolled past makeover over makeover to get back to my Taylor fix, one TikTok popped up in the same vein that gave me pause. In this Tiktok, she explained why millennial fashion is what it is. She talked about how our generation grew up with mothers who were self-conscious about weight and body image—and many of them passed that body shame onto us. So, we turned to oversized flannels, long shirts, and anything that would cover up our rolls, lumps, and bumps that we found to be embarrassing.
Even though my eyelids were heavy, I popped right awake. Because up until that point in my thirty-five years, I just thought we picked our clothes because they looked good on us. I thought the crop top was just an unstylish rebellion against our generation’s long shirts and that it wasn’t something we wanted to pull off. But maybe, just maybe, I considered—our aversion to the crop top is much deeper. Maybe it has to do with our need to be covered, not for ourselves but for others. It’s a symbol of the body expectations put on us that we still accept as truth.
The crop top, in essence, exposes not bodies or skin—it exposes our deep fears and self-consciousness about bodies we were told weren’t good enough.
Not Skinny Enough
I’ll admit—I do own one single crop top. (Why does that still feel like a confession I should be saying in a little cubicle to a priest and following with acts of penance?). It’s sequined and flashy. My husband found it at a consignment shop, thinking it would be a perfect Eras Tour top. It was five dollars, so I tried it on. Staring in the mirror at my exposed stomach, right in the section I was always told was the “area you never wanted to stick out,” I saw nothing but hateful words staring back at me.
Fat. Oozing. Pudgy. Unattractive.
I quickly took the top of, sighing. Still, I bought it because it was only five dollars, thinking I could layer a cami under it (We love our camis, don’t we, millennials?) or lose enough weight to make myself feel good in it.
And there it is. The true sentence that should make me actually feel guilty—guilty for being so horrible to myself. Because even at thirty-five, when I thought I’d worked through so many of my issues, the truth still sticks. I don’t feel skinny enough to rock a crop top. I still think I have to hit a certain weight or a certain level of flatness to deserve to wear a crop top.
The sequined crop top hangs in my closet still, mocking me every day. Did you lose enough weight yet? Is your stomach flatter? Did you pass on the cake so you can maybe wear me next month?
The questions stir, and the shame stirs with it. But that single TikTok made me consider what it would take to make the crop top stop taunting me.
Changing the Narrative
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books