1. OUT: Shoes with seven inch heels. Decades back, when (in Bass Weejuns or Doc Martens) I took to the barricades for women’s rights, I couldn't have imagined we’d ever again be hobbled by something we chose to wear.
In the 21st century, females are tottering back to repressive attire in what one online store markets as “slut stilettos.” Incredible. Women of all ages unite! We've come too far to give up our soles (and our souls)
IN: High heels, if you elect to wear them. But of respectable, and not dangerous, heights. My podatrist recommends high-ish heels for her patients with plantar fasciitis. Good for the arches. And I appreciate the extra height and the shapely way my legs look in heels. But never, ever, the ankle-breakers.
2. OUT: Lots of Jewelry Worn Simultaneously. At a reunion I recently attended, one woman had decked herself out like a Christmas tree. She wore a thick gold necklace, fussy earrings, a large pin, and multi bracelets and rings. What was she thinking? Maybe she wanted to flaunt her grown-up success to the junior high classmates who tormented her decades before, but bling overkill does not equal revenge. Or elegance.
IN: Statement Jewelry: One interesting or beautiful piece (plus earrings and watch, if desired) does the trick. Too much suggests you’re trying to distract from body parts that are not what they once were.
3. OUT: Phoning your kids more than once a day. Enough already. Your children (grandchildren are another story) should no longer be the primary focus of your life. They’re grownups with lives of their own. Give the young’uns breathing space. Play with friends your own age who will not inherit. They’ll actually tell you when you’re boring them to bits.
IN: Texting and Facebook. The kids are great about calling, so I show my gratitude by trying not to over-phone. Instead, I text with my daughter and daughters-in-law. In quick exchanges, I establish that they’re wonderful (with or without communication) and they conclude I’m thriving. When I worry about them getting home safely through a snowstorm or just want to check out their adventures, I go to their Facebook pages. They don’t even need to know I’ve dropped by. Very CIA.
4. OUT: Reading a so-so book to the very end. Certainly, give it a chance. Some authors clear their throats, as my writer friends say, taking a while to set up the story. Feel free to skim. If, however, by chapter three, the book hasn’t hooked you, fuhggedboudit.
IN: Book clubs. You’re corralled into reading books wouldn’t normally choose. My couples book club has done The Art of Fielding, The Geography of Bliss, Steve Jobs’ bio, Unbroken. We’re all over the map. New experiences create new brain cells. And it’s so much fun to trade critiques.
IN: Emails that direct you to YouTube for doo-wop renditions by The Platters, or Yo-Yo Ma playing the prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Messages from long lost cousins. Tips about new uses for vinegar. Supposedly, you can make your nail polish application last longer if you first wipe your nails with a cotton ball soaked in distilled white vingar. Now that was a helpful email.
6. OUT: High impact aerobics. Until two years ago, I was taking classes with women barely out of puberty. I am very competitive; I kept up. Problem was, my knee didn’t. I limped into the orthopedist who said, “You’ve got what I call scaloppini cartilage. Pounded very thin. My dear, you have zumbaed your last zumba.”
IN: Aqua Zumba. You dance in a heated pool. No pressure on the knee and the water’s resistance makes for a super cardio workout. So, not quite finished yet, Doc.
7. OUT: Procrastinating. As businessman Victor Kiam said, “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” We postpone because we’re afraid of failure. Which brings me to my favorite quote of Kiam’s: “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” Brilliant.
IN: Getting it done. I recently heard a rabbi say to his congregation, “God can get it perfect. You’re not God. All you have to do is get it done.” My new credo? Do it. Then edit.
8. OUT: Twenty-and early-thirty-something actors. So confident. So boring. So predictable with their smooth skin and oddly named children.
IN: Acting in the extreme. I give you Maggie Smith and Quvenzhané Wallis. Terrence Stamp and Suraj Sharma, the boy from Life of Pi.
9. OUT: Canasta, Rummykub, and Mexican Train.
IN: Words with Friends, Kindle Scrabble, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies.
10: OUT: Long-winded Blog entries.
IN: Your own Ins and Outs. Looking forward to your sharing them.