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Some shifts in life happen almost imperceptibly.  Styles and places that were almost second nature in terms of my likes and dislikes have shifted past the point of no return.  When and why and how did that happen?

For example:

I no longer drool over clothing with ruffles.ruffles

I stopped lusting after the peasant look.  That attraction began in my childhood when I was given a Romanian peasant shirt complete with puffy sleeves and cross hatch embroidery.  It was my go -to Gypsy look for every Halloween until I no longer dressed up for Halloween. It was an easy segueway from that to the 1970’s peasant look which I was more than happy to wear.

I no longer want to wear a dress or blouse with puffy sleeves.  Of any kind.


I no longer can wear thonged sandals.  Who knew that collagen in your feet allowed you to do this in the first place?


Instruments of Torture

Ditto any high heel over 1.5 inches.

I stopped wearing eyeshadow.  When was it I decided it made me look like a stripper?

I don’t look for wide belts to show off my waist.  Good thing that style changed, although Melania is still working it. In gold, of course.

melania 2

I stopped wearing shorts.  Bermuda length seemed just fine for many years, but then they weren’t.  My mother wore them in the summer well into her 70’s and I remember thinking she shouldn’t have. I was kind enough to keep my mouth shut.  Where did that cruel judgement come from?

I stopped wearing short dresses. Flirty flirty just ain’t possible/interesting.


I stopped identifying with college kids.  But, after my early 40’s.  Now, it’s much easier for me to identify with retirement home residents. The younger looking ones, of course.

I have gained patience.  What’s the big hurry?  Everyone in NYC seems to be in a hurry, while I’m not, nor will my aching hip allow for it.

NYC, except by night while crossing a bridge, no longer thrills.  I’m turned off by all the traffic and turn up my nose at the dirty air and streets. There are too many banks and drugstores and chain stores.  Walking in the City always use to be a process of discovery. These days, seldom.

I no longer bake in the sun.  The first melanoma put a quick end to that, although all the dermatologists’  warnings had already made a dent.

I’m just as happy not to put on a bathing suit if I can avoid it.


My heart no longer pounds if I have to talk in public.  I just had to do a lot of it. It can still be an out of body experience, but I no longer fear it.  This is best gain of all, I think and more than an equal exchange for the other vanity lines that have been crossed and lost.

public speaking

“Students of public speaking continually ask, “How can I overcome
self-consciousness and the fear that paralyzes me before an
Did you ever notice in looking from a train window that some
horses feed near the track and never even pause to look up at the
thundering cars, while just ahead at the next railroad crossing a
farmer’s wife will be nervously trying to quiet her scared horse as
the train goes by?
How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars—graze him in a
back-woods lot where he would never see steam-engines or
automobiles, or drive or pasture him where he would frequently see
the machines?
Apply horse-sense to ridding yourself of self-consciousness and
fear: face an audience as frequently as you can, and you will soon stop shying. You can never attain
freedom from stage-fright by reading a treatise. A book may give
you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the
water, but sooner or later you must get wet, perhaps even strangle
and be “half scared to death.” There are a great many “wetless”
bathing suits worn at the seashore, but no one ever learns to swim
in them. To plunge is the only way.”
Dale Carnegie, The Art of Public Speaking

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.