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Byron Shire
October 23, 2021

Bring me back my sunshine

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Illustration Cristina Sharratt
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Angela Cornell

I am 50. I wear makeup. Not a lot, but that doesn’t matter because I don’t care whether you approve or not. I have never spent a lot of money on my makeup, or time on myself, and I don’t really know why I choose to wear makeup most days. Self-analysis takes courage, which I’d like to think I can occasionally muster, and time, which is little harder to manifest between working fulltime and trying to be a reasonable mother, wife, lover, daughter, sister and friend. However, sometimes things don’t take much analysis to uncover. They are literally, as is the case here, right in your face.

It has come to my attention that now at the age of 50 my basic makeup items have names like Rewind, Revitalise, Renew, Age Re-Perfect or my personal favourite, Renovage (which I guess alludes to an attempt to renovate your visage). When you’re not 50 these products are called things like Ravish, Sublime and Dream. If you choose to buy into the subtext, it is saying we were better when we were younger, that we need to recapture our youth because our current status is less than desirable, less worthy even. It strikes me that generally as a society we don’t want to see old people and perhaps therefore many of us don’t want to be old.

I was in the waiting room at my local medical centre the other day and there was a fellow sitting there who struck up a conversation with me. His name was Jack. I asked him how he spends his time and he explained that he lives in a cottage on his daughter’s property and he spends his time painting, making things from wood. He was currently working on a set of blocks for his two-year-old granddaughter.

He mentioned that he loved spending time with her and watching her learn and how as a father he had missed out on on that time with his own children as he was busy working to provide for his family. He also shared how he had started to feel negative after his wife of many years passed away and as inevitably happens when you get older, your friends begin to die. He was about 80 at that time and confessed that he had started to ask himself, how long have I got? He stopped living and was just waiting to die. Thankfully his son-in-law passed on a few strategies and rather than waiting to die, he decided he was going to live to at least 100. He is 90 now and enjoying his family, his art, his life.

I gained a lot from my chance encounter with Jack. It was not only a small glimpse into his life, but I was given impetus to consider my own beliefs around ageing and how we choose to spend our days. He told me of his love for his wife and how she was a woman who was liked by everyone, how she had sunshine in her face, ‘just like you do’, he said. How lovely! That compliment made me feel wonderful. That’s another lesson from Jack: don’t be afraid to say nice things to people; it can make a real difference. It got me to thinking, how much better would it be if when I picked up my makeup the products were called Sunshine, Embrace or Wisdom?


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1 COMMENT

  1. Whether you have had a tiff, a falling out, a fall, we all understand a little miss understanding. We all want a soft landing. The fun thing is the making up. Being coy with your make-up is a first step. Not too loud with a little bit of lippy, some rouge is not rude, a bit here a bit there, some scent so he comes back from where he was sent and some eyeliner for schooling so he sees the deepness of your pupils. A flutter of the eyelashes just a shade a bit darker, for a man is entrapped by the woman he sees in his eyes.

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