Once upon a time, before caregiving took over my life, I used to make a modest effort with my appearance. Lets be clear that I was never particularly enthusiastic about makeup but I was aware of personal presentation. I gave some thought to clothes, jewelry, purses, hair.
When caregiving came along, it was all too much. A lot of days early on, I did not even look in a mirror. I did not wear earrings for so long that it surprised me that the holes had not closed up when I finally found some to wear.
In the last two years, I can probably count the number of times I have walked into a store that sells women’s clothing and nothing else. Once, Mom and I passed an H&M on a walk and spontaneously decided to shop together. Mom picked up a bunch of clothes for me in the wrong size but also picked out a necklace for me that I wear often now. It was a lovely outing since shopping for my clothes once was a regular bonding activity for us. On another occasion, I convinced Mom to stop at an outlet mall we were passing on a drive and similarly had a happy hour of shopping for both of us once I figured out how to manage the wrong size and style clothes that she consistently selected for me!
But wirh these occasional exceptions, steps to take care of my own appearance are a lot lower on my list. At some point, all my makeup expired. Pedicures stopped happening. Where once I would have planned an outfit for a friend’s wedding weeks in advance, the last few times I have found myself wildly throwing a couple of dresses in a bag hoping that the shoes I had already packed would coordinate reasonably well.
Caregiving has taught me the limits to how many things I can juggle. At some point, the list simply overflows.
As I have improved my juggling skills, I have found that little bit of energy again for these kinds of steps. Lately the daily goal is mascara and one item of jewelry before I walk out the door. Sometimes I manage one, sometimes achieve both. Today was a good day for mascara and I am pleased enough by that.