What am I doing to get ready for bikini season? Not a damn thing. That is the freedom of being a woman of a certain age – for the most part, you finally accept your body for what it is and you are kinder. Yes, I can still wear a bikini – and quite nicely, but I have to be honest, I’m not sure if I still should. I’ve definitely entered the grey area of bathing suit season (season being relative to age and not time of the year). If you’re of a similar age, you’ll know what I mean. It becomes a matter of appropriateness.
I grew up on Cape Cod and in South Florida. Wearing a swimsuit was second nature, like a uniform (of which I had dozens – in every style, shape and color). I wasn’t the least bet self-conscious about it until I was thirteen. Then, for the next decade, I was very self-conscious – obsessively so. Looking back, I get upset with myself. Those were the heyday years of my bikinihood. I’m not being arrogant, merely matter-of-fact, when I share that I rocked my bikini back then – but of course I didn’t think that at the time. I covered myself up with a t-shirt or a magazine . I rarely got up from my chair to go swimming, because I didn’t want people judging how I looked in the bikini. Ridiculous.
As I was a full time Floridian during this period, there was no “getting ready” for bikini season – you had to be prepared 24-7 to put on a bathing suit – and basically, I was. I did every single crazy diet there was (although hands down, stress and/or heartbreak produced the best results) and I was fanatical about my workouts. My go-to fitness routine at the time included aerobics and the Stairmaster.
The late twenties ushered in the professional years and any bikini time was relegated to the weekend. Some of my friends were already married and having children by then, so most of my beach time was spent alone with a book. I still had youth on my side and didn’t give much thought to bikini preparation. It was what it was – and that wasn’t half bad.
The thirties brought marriage, pregnancies and babies which meant minimal time in a swimsuit. My inventory of swimsuits dwindled to two or three. The exercise of the moment was chasing four young children, which pretty much sufficed for bikini preparation. That and couple hours on the treadmill each week.
The forties are very much like the thirties, only now I have the added anxiety of sun damage to consider. My years of tanning have caught up with me and although I have not, thankfully, ever been diagnosed with skin cancer, I have endured many “let’s just get this tested” and even more lectures from my dermatologist. As a result, I spend far fewer hours luxuriating in the sun – and honestly, it does break my heart a little. When I do decide to throw caution to the wind and just do it, I can’t relax. This is how it usually plays out:
- I start to imagine my skin is a fried egg, and I’m literally cooking myself, and I’ll be a wrinkled prune by the time I’m 50 and nobody will love me.
- I can’t stand the heat, literally. An hour tops, is all I can handle anymore. This, from a woman who defined a day at the beach as arriving at 9a.m. and leaving at 5p.m.!
- “Mom, I’m hungry!” “Mom, I’m Bored!” “Mom! Come play in the water!” “AHHHH – Mom, a jellyfish stung me.”
So what do I do now to get ready? I stock up on high SPF sunscreen and I pray for peace, mild temperatures and drama-free days!
What do you do to get ready for bathing suit season?
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “It’s bathing suit season, and to prepare, I… ” by Allison Barrett Carter from Go Dansker Mom. Please go show her some extra love.
Stephanie: Mommy, for Real
What do you do to get ready for bathing suit season? How old is too old, to wear a bikini? Do you still sunbathe? Can you relax at the beach with young children?