My nails are not beautiful and perfect the way they were when I was a single girl.   That almost seems a lifetime ago, but in truth, I can’t look back on my single years post-divorce and romanticize that they were fun.  In some way or another, someone was using me for money, or food, or kindness, or counseling. Sometimes all those things at the same time, and all while I allowed them to treat me like I was substandard.   Not worth much really, even though it was suggested that I try things like cocaine because it was likely to make me write faster and be skinny.

Never tried the stuff.  Never wanted to.   The only acceptable version was really a Diet Pepsi float.  My “crack” if you will, but only if I was feeling low.  Possibly a can of Heinz Spaghetti too, over a slice of buttered bread.  Just try it.

I look at women in magazines and understand photo-shopping.  I know about Botox, and I know about elite grade cosmetics (the kind I try on in fancy department stores sometimes just to remind myself that there is plenty of room to upgrade from my drug store variety).  I used to use Mac, but Mac is far away now… and since I inherited two little boys, sometimes I feel like $200 in a MAC store is worth so much less than a day at a theme park with them, you know?   So I choose the theme park instead, and rock the best foundation I can find at CVS.

I still shave my legs (all the way up) every other day.  I wear make-up and dress up if we are going out, because I’ve never been the “jogging pants and t-shirt to the grocery store” kind of chick.  My Nanny always said “dress like you are a lady when you go out, and you’ll be treated like one”.  So I don’t go out without make-up on either, although most times, my hair is piled up in some messy bun on the top of my head.   The point of all this being a self-check … no, I am not letting myself go.  In fact, I’m losing a little weight again (not fast or anything) which is a good thing.  Blame PokemonGo perhaps.

My trio of Flareon are epic.

I know women who are perfection.  In fact, I know a lawyer who is drop dead gorgeous in Toronto.  And she works for one of the largest multinationals in the world.  She volunteers.  She jet sets, and her nails are always perfect.  I’d hate her but she’s also very kind and nice.  So some accomplished women definitely have their shit together.   They probably don’t pluck their eyebrows in the bathroom.   I used to get everything waxed too, but again, goals changed financially.  I’m sacrificing in some areas that now seem less important than many of my short and long term financial goals.

I’m thinking of spending $85 for shits & giggles and getting my nail technician certificate.  Know why?  Because every time I get my nails done, it costs me $55 tip included, for someone to glue plastic tips on, and put approximately $6 worth of supplies on my fingers to give me perfectly squared nails.  I usually get my nails done twice a month.  If I do them myself, I can lower my net nail expenditure to less than $20 per month, saving $180.    That my friends, is a second vacation every year, somewhere nice.

I’m mental right?

I agonized over $20 shampoo, despite the fact that I needed it.  So I put it in my cart, put it back, put it in my cart and convinced myself that I deserved it.  Then put it back, reminding myself that all soap molecules are the same, from dish soap to shampoo, and really, it’s the conditioner that matters and the rest is marketing (look it up) and good smells that you like in the shower.  I have found a $10 shampoo and $10 conditioner that is free of every bad thing in the universe, has castor oil in it, and is not tested on animals.  I get both for $20 but my hair doesn’t smell like anything pretty.  It’s just clean and soft.    And since it’s from the specialty hair aisle and imported from Jamaica, I may sing Bob Marley in the shower.

Maybe. I could be that geeky. Sometimes.

Instead of spending two hours applying $200 worth of cosmetics with a cement trowel, most days at home I go make up free, if I am not going out.  Sometimes I work so late I fall asleep with my make up on (I know, I think it’s gross too).

Every day I make choices with my time.   Business activities, accounting and billing, marketing my services and prospecting for new content buyers, mentoring writers, supporting and listening to family members or friends who have problems, making four animals feel loved, cleaning the house, doing a mental inventory of the cupboards and running out to get anything we’re short of.  Planning weekend things with friends and family, including food prep for the coming weekend.

Then sometimes I just listen to classic piano, schedule social media posts and vacate my mental premises to a simpler place.   And I touch a little girl with short black hair, big brown eyes in a Star Trek t-shirt, swinging on a wood swing behind the cottage.   She drags her bare feet in the sand and no one notices that she is drawing pictures of horses with her toes.

And she is okay with creating quietly and not being noticed.   She thinks her Star-Trek t-shirt is cool.

Grown up’s make choices every day.   I can’t spend four hours a day on my make-up and hair, because I am growing a family and a business.  I am an entrepreneur, and perhaps when some of my short-term goals are met, I’ll start going to the hair salon every other week, like my Nan used to.   Perhaps my mind will be free to worry about things like my nails, instead of running things around here, trying to be strategic and rolling out a plan I am 99% sure will work, if I stay the course and remain focused and hard working.

Zero debt for Kevin, and build my credit to perfection.  Next stop?  Build a small one level house with a nice outdoor kitchen and pool.  A proper raised vegetable garden, she-shed writers office (cone of solitude) and 60 foot WiFi booster.  Recessed living room, large A-frame window.  Teenager mini-apartment over the detached garage, complete with kitchenette, bathroom, living room and two bedrooms (sure, blast your music… I’ll sound proof the walls my son’s).  Bad-ass master on the main floor so that when we are old… I won’t have to worry about stairs.  Soaker tub with jets.  Chicken coop.  The last move we ever make.

And then … travel.   But by that time, I hope to have more time to wear the fancy make up again.  And hair extensions.  Just not yet.  My money is going toward more important things than my personal vanity; it’s taking us one-step closer to our dreams every month.

So I guess I like my choices, and leave “pretty” to the qualified, and possibly less encumbered.   God knows I’ve met so many people that I am so jealous of, because they are so beautiful and put together.  I love beautiful things too, and I’d love to be admired.   Perhaps I’ll be respected instead of admired, when I get to that goal and know we did it by making the choices that other people don’t make.

To be clear, I still pin the shoes on Pinterest.  I know where I’ll get my extensions (some day).  I’m just investing myself elsewhere for now.