I've had many interesting conversations lately with midlife women about claiming OUR space between attractiveness and authenticity as we age. Intellectually, I understand the paradox of beauty and aging because I was introduced to the beautifying of women at a very young age. I grew up surrounded by QUEENS-beautiful strong women. I mean visibly stunning and smart women.
Last month, I turned 58. As in 'years old.' Fifty. Eight. I don't care who you are, 58 is no longer "young." Body parts have shifted downwards. Skin has lost its memory yarn. Thighs ripple when we're standing still. Once-defined triceps now flap like sheets on a clothesline. Weight has moved into our hips and bellies with the tenacity of squatters on the back 40 of the Ponderosa.
Apparently all of Italy knows, and has known for generations. If you live here long enough, you will know as well. A blast of air on your neck, throat, or head is the root of all illness. Because of it, an Italian would never leave the house without having the neck and throat area securely covered with a scarf.
Shirley Temple's career as a child actor enthralled our country at a time when economic tensions gripped most families when just about everyone could use a laugh. Shirley was, as they used to say, the real ticket. Fresh faced and dimpled with that sweet voice, she was adorable without being pretentious, as natural on screen as you could imagine her performing for the relatives in your living room. Radiating star power, she tap-danced her way into everyone's heart.
The title is probably an exaggeration. I most likely will live in the United States again. Statistically, very few expats live out their lives in a foreign country. Most, eventually, find their way back to the land of their birth. So let me just say that these are the top three reasons that I can't imagine leaving Italy... today.