“Hey, Sexy.”

My husband walked into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner. He’d been gone all day. I hadn’t seen him in hours. He leaned in, wrapped his arms around my waist, and trailed kisses down my neck.

Nope, I haven’t transferred my romance writing over here to my reinvention blog. But as I leaned back and enjoyed his greeting, I started thinking about where sexiness comes from.

Is it in the eye of the beholder? Of course. That’s why some people “do it” for us, and others don’t. Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gossling? Chris Pine or Chris Pratt? Yep, you have a favorite.

But even so, what makes that other person sexy in your eyes? (Many, many things.)

Can you be sexy just for you? (You bet!)

And what can you do to be the sexiest you’ve been now that you’ve reached midlife?

I think sexiness comes from:

Age

I learned a lot about myself by raising a daughter. Girls have a can-do attitude until they reach middle school. Then all hell breaks loose. They lose all of their dreams and desires in order to fit in. They step back and hide away. They become unsure. They begin questioning who they are from within.

The media eggs that on. They fill girls’ minds with how they should act, how they should think, what they should look like, what they should wear. And it doesn’t matter how much we write about stopping the Photoshop wars, it happens whether we want it to or not. Doubt creeps in and it’s difficult to let go. No matter how much we strut our stuff those first couple of decades, deep down is this pit of fear.

But then life happens. You get busy. And life zooms by. Somewhere along the way you start forgetting all of that crap that worried you when you were younger.

By 40, I decided to enter my first triathlon. By 50 I’d given up my old life once and for all. Yep, age changes everything. It adds strength and confidence you never knew you had.

Confidence

I looked up the word confidence. It has several meanings:

  • The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust
  • The state of feeling certain about the truth of something
  • A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities

I read in a business book that men excel faster in their careers because they are more likely to apply for new jobs even when their experience doesn’t match the requirements. Women, however, are more likely to sit back until their skills match everything required perfectly. Women underbid while men jump at opportunity. Women sit back and analyze while men take greater chances. What’s the worst that could happen – they say no? That’s a man’s strategy, while we take the slower path.

I’m an overthinker, a recovering perfectionist. When I read that, I knew it was true. It described me perfectly.

But somewhere along the way, I developed the skills I thought I needed. I proved to myself over and over again that I had what it takes to succeed. I’d proven it many times.

There’s something life-changing about getting that feeling deep down inside. It’s called confidence. It comes with age. And when you get it, there’s nothing that can hold you back.

Behavior

I remember the day distinctly. I thought: I can’t live here if I’m not willing to stand up and fight. I have to say something. I have to do everything I can to make this a better world. And it made all the difference.

That’s the day I pushed the “other” side away and felt more comfortable in my own skin. I started laughing at the naysayers and the you-can’t-do-that-ers. All of those people I’d cared about for so long didn’t matter anymore.

In fact, I found myself trying to get a little negativity from them even more. I knew if I could make someone “yell”, I was on to something. I knew if I stirred up the pot a little, I was going in the right direction.

Yep, I became somewhat of a radical. (In my own way. If you meet me on the street, you’d probably say uh-uh, no way. But I am. Just ask my husband.)

That comfort level shines through in so many ways. It’s made me say: this is ME, and I’m proud. My head doesn’t bow. My eyes don’t blink down. My shoulders aren’t stooped. I hold my head high.

One could argue that my behavior is what gave me my confidence. Because when I didn’t blink, I felt a little more confident. When I moved my shoulders, so my head remains high, my confidence grows.

Want to feel more confident? Stop yourself from doing those internal dances – the shoulder shrugging, the arms folding around yourself, the dropping of your chin.

Then watch it build, especially when someone next to you “gets you” and says I agree!

Time

I now have the time I never had when I was younger. My daughter has grown. I have more time for myself.

I love being surrounded by today’s twenty-somethings. Their conversations amaze me.

I grew up in a time when being a good girl was everything. And it impacted my life a lot.

On the one hand, my mom pushed me towards a career. You WILL go to college. You WILL get a degree. You WILL be able to stand on your own two feet. But by the way, make sure you get the right job so you can still be able to take care of the kids and have a nice home.

Whhhaaattttt?

No wonder our generation was confused. How can you feel good about yourself when you have no idea what your place is in the world?

It was a time of change. It was a time we all were breaking free.

But women still didn’t have a handle on true freedom. In the sixties, seventies, even eighties, we were still fighting for contraception, the right to work in any field, the right to own a home on our own. If you can’t get a bank account or get a business loan, self-sufficiency is out the window.

Today’s girls know they can do it all. We’ve taught them well. They don’t have to worry about a man for their freedom. They can get that all on their own. Any career. Any job. A bank account. A loan. A credit card.

Sure, we’ve got a long ways to go, but the changes have been monumental in a very short period of time. My grandmother had an 8th grade education. My mother wasn’t allowed to go to college; she was just going to get married anyway. I have a masters degree. For my daughter, marriage is the last thing on her mind.

Self sufficiency is everything. Walking proud means knowing exactly who you are. While 2018 is a mess in so many ways, I’m glad I’m right here, right now.

Friendship

I hate all of the crappy television shows where women tear each other apart. Nope, no secret binge watching here. In fact, the only way I watch television anymore is through Netflix and Amazon. And I’m very selective about what I watch. Nope, I can’t get even the local television stations.

Why watch something – anything – that tears us apart? We have a pretty good fix on that in the world right now. Why fill your brain with anything more than our current “crime television” culture already does?

I find groups that support each other instead. Groups where we help each other grow and change into the best we can be.

“That looks great on you!” I just posted that comment on a photo uploaded by one of my “friends” who is trying to find a dress for her daughter’s wedding. Isn’t that better than “it sucks?”

What I love about today’s world is “friendship” has such an interesting meaning. I have a few close friends in my neighborhood. I have several other friendship groups online. We meet via chats and hangouts, and in private groups on Facebook.

We encourage each other to do what’s right for us. To wear that bikini “just because.” To wear purple because you love it. To skip dying your hair because … well, just because.

You’re beautiful just the way you are.

You’re beautiful.

It lifts the cloud. It makes your chin rise up. You stand taller. You feel better.

You feel sexier!

Not for him. Or her.

For YOU!

And when you believe it, so will everyone else.