She doesn’t allow the word “bored” to enter her vocabulary or her consciousness. She knows that her creative imagination and witty intelligence provide plenty of self-entertainment fodder no matter where she goes—the isolated woods, floating on a raft in the middle of a reservoir for hours, or even a crowded hospital waiting room. Even before the advent of mobile phones and portable devices she would invent games in her head to keep her mind busy.
Independence is one of the strongest virtues taught to me by my wise mom. You are responsible for making yourself happy. It comes from within, and no one else can give it to you.
A cool mom spends some time each day in the sun, touching the grass and the soil, connecting with the earth and appreciating its gifts. She absorbs vitamins and minerals by simply soaking in the elements of nature.
When my mom is in this state, wild creatures are inherently drawn to her. Neighbor kitties come to play and she indulges them with sticks to chase for hours. Birds practically land on her forearm like Snow White, falconer of backyard finches and sparrows. She orchestrates bird feeders and baths in the yard so that one species isn’t too vulnerable as prey for another. She instinctually understands life and death cycles, and builds her ecosystem accordingly.
My mom has the simplest of beauty routines. Shower infrequently. Scrubbing your whole body with soap every day is wasteful, damaging, and very American. That shower water should be reserved for the plants that need it much more. Moisturizing is essential and should be done with lavender-infused oils. Sunblock is important when you want to spend long periods of time outside, which is frequently. Nails may be kept slightly long and clear. Manicures are pointless since they will be ruined by the (more rewarding) experience of digging your hands in the dirt–plus, you really don’t want someone fussing over you.
More beauty tips from my mom: sleep and rest whenever you need to, think happy thoughts, and most of all: don’t worry about it. Lots of stresses can show on your face damaging it permanently—you may as well get those lines from sun and smiling. My wise mom once told me, “Don’t fret about how fat your upper arms are—flaunt them now—for they will only get worse.”
Growing a lifelong sustainable garden is one of my mother’s grandest achievements. She is well versed on the politics of modern agriculture and has applied her wisdom to creating a diet that she can control. Organic produce travels from her yard to her plate, and she transforms much of it into a gorgeous jewel-toned salad every evening. Her creations are rampant with complex texture and explosively juicy flavors. The unused compost is returned back to the garden to continue the life cycle.
A cool mom says quality wine is good for you! Drink as much as you want, but know when to rein it in. My mom enjoys red wine for its pleasurable effects as well as its fortification. If she finds herself dozing off on the couch after dinner, it’s time to move onto a pitcher of water infused with cucumber and lime.
High impact exercise is not only unnecessary, it incurs too much wear and tear on the body. Years of Jazzercise classes in the ‘80s proved that to be true. My mom swims. She grew up swimming, using nature’s bodies of water as a gym. It’s low impact and works every muscle. Swimming makes you feel lifted and hugged, then afterwards you feel as if you have run ten miles.
However, exercise classes such as Pilates should be taken mainly as a bonding experience with friends. A weekly place to meet up with bosom buddies is the perfect way to maintain friendships as well as your core strength.
A mom can tap into her coolness when immersed in the peace and tranquility of nature. On special outings my mom enjoys sitting in a float-tube on a lake, fishing pole in one hand, beer in the other. This ritual incorporates exercise, meditation, relaxation, and if she’s very very lucky, scoring dinner for the night. But always scoring.
Daily exercise? A wise mom knows that gardening and sex are two (usually mutually exclusive) stress relievers. They are both cathartic and meditative and generate a well-being that benefits everyone in her midst. Gardening is motherhood. Digging deeply into the earth, feeding life forms, cultivating your harvest, giving away seedlings. She reaps what she sows. She puts her sweat and blood into the plant kingdom and it gives back a hundredfold. She perpetuates life, fuels the cycle. She is woman.