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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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Beauty & Style


Passages After 50

Being Your Own Valentine: Ways to Love Yourself

Today’s post on ways to love yourself was contributed by style expert Andrea Pflaumer. Enjoy, darlings!

Everywhere we looked on Valentine’s Day, we were reminded that someone somewhere received a box of heart-shaped candy, a beautiful bouquet of roses, surprise tickets to Cancun, a lovely candlelit dinner, and/or an evening of intimacy.

But…not everyone.

For those who are uncoupled, either by divorce, widowhood, or choice (or lack of choice), these constant reminders can feel like salt on a wound or be just plain annoying. 

But love expressed is always a good thing. So why not be inspired by the idea of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show yourself a little love? 

Getting “Physical” is a Way to Love Yourself

One of the things that a lot of single older women crave and miss the most is physical touch. Receiving a hug or connecting physically in a nurturing way releases happy hormones that can contribute to physical and mental well-being, 

If you’re fortunate enough to have loving children or grandchildren around, they might fill this need once you are single again. But if you are more isolated from family there are many ways you can experience the benefits of physical touch. 

An underrated one is simply to go to your hairdresser for a styling! Most stylists at higher-end salons are trained to do a head and shoulder massage as part of washing your hair. (My stylist does this, and it’s a main reason I keep going back to him!) That can be both extremely relaxing as well as emotionally nourishing. The fact that your hair will look great afterward, too can give you the emotional boost you need!

Maybe you’re long overdue for a luxurious massage and/or facial. Besides the tactile benefits of massage, it can help release toxins from your body by getting your lymphatic system moving. If you get a facial, a skilled aesthetician can give you a mini “face lift,” by sculpting the muscles in your face and removing puffiness around your eyes. You will not only feel better about yourself, and feel very relaxed, but you will also look more beautiful!

Nourish All Your Senses

Keeping in Touch Keeps You Alive and Lively

When you consider all the “sweetness” that is associated with Valentine’s Day, flowers and candies come to mind. 

One of the greatest joys of the senses is to breathe in the aroma of a large bouquet of fragrant flowers. Flowers are a joy to the heart as well as the senses. If you are on a budget and can’t afford an elaborate bouquet from a florist, your local supermarket likely carries flowers at terrific prices. When you bring them home, put them in a beautiful vase and place it somewhere so you will see it frequently and enjoy its fragrance.

And then there are chocolates! Now, if you are prone to bury your misery by zoning out and eating an entire box of chocolates while you watch a sad movie, buying yourself a box of chocolates may not the best recommendation.

So, here is a better recommendation. All you may need is one decadent, beautifully made dessert. Buy yourself that gorgeous éclair, or that beautiful tart, or that yummy cupcake. And then, sit down and enjoy it, thoroughly, one bite at a time. Do not distract yourself while you do this. This is no time for multi-tasking!

Give yourself permission to enjoy every single sinful bite. And then feel satisfied but virtuous that you don’t have to resist an entire box of chocolates!

As for the senses of hearing and sight, consider the possibility of taking yourself to a performance, a concert, the opera, the ballet, or a musical. Dress up in your finery and enjoy all the sights and sounds. Or simply stay home and download or rent a favorite performance on video.

Don’t Be Alone

One of the things I’ve noticed among women my age who are divorced or widowed is that they crave and love the company of their girlfriends. (And yes, we are still allowed to call ourselves “girls.”) You can really let your hair down and be honest with other women who share similar losses. It’s comforting and reassuring. Two of my widowed friends often go for long for walks with each other on a regular basis. 

For my husband’s recent milestone birthday, we invited two divorced friends, one widowed friend, and another couple to the celebration. It was wonderful to see how much the single women loved the human interaction of the group. Everyone had such a great time that the one (divorced) male at the party invited all seven at the table to his own birthday dinner three weeks later! And everyone had a great time again.

If you really crave male companionship, it’s well worth checking out some of the social sites like “A Table for Six,” which is an Australian site that matches up three single women and three single men who go out for a meal together. A Table For Six is only available in Australia, which is a shame; we should have something here in the states like that! However, there are also Meet-Up Groups in every major city where you can join with people who have similar interests. Some of these groups get together to go to events like the theater, a movie, or even a comedy club. Or, like Table for Six, they simply explore new restaurants together. It’s often a safer and more comfortable way to connect with strangers than online dating.

Embrace the Solitude

Years ago, I read an article about the late icon of modern dance, Merce Cunningham. It was shortly after his long-time life partner John Cage had died. A reporter asked him how he was dealing with the loss. He replied, “On one hand, John is gone. But then…John is gone!” 

A lot of married women won’t admit it, but they enjoy having the freedom to schedule events and order their lives exactly to suit their own “rhythms” and needs. We spend so much of our lives nurturing others and adjusting to their needs, that the urgings of our own souls sometimes get silenced or ignored. 

But alone time can be luxurious. It allows us to do things that we wouldn’t do, even if that just looks like daydreaming, or writing in a journal, or spending the entire day reading a book.

A Date With Yourself

Instead of locking yourself at home, though, have you considered taking yourself on a “date”? In Julia Cameron’s wonderful book, “The Artist’s Way,” she describes how these private alone-time dates can stimulate your imagination and lead you into new avenues of discovery and creativity.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive date. Get dressed up, and wear the nice things that you tend to save for more “special” occasions than just grocery shopping or running errands. Take a stroll through a neighborhood that delights you. Stop in at that interesting antique store that you always pass by but never enter. 

Go into that art gallery and learn about new artists. Ask the curator questions about the gallery, how the artwork is chosen, who is popular and why. 

Check out a high-end boutique that has lovely things you always admire but never buy for yourself. It’s a way of informing your eye about what is fashionable, new, and elegant. Then use that information to troll discount sites—even Amazon!—for something similar.

Treat yourself to a nice lunch, or simply go to a café where you can sip your macchiato and spend time people-watching. You’ll likely see a lot of others who are not with partners. That alone can be reassuring. And smile, especially if you see someone looking a little down. You might be the best thing that happened to that person that day.

By doing any of these things, you become the person who “completes” you.

Give Love and Get Love

But mostly, be kind to yourself. Be kind to everyone you meet and encounter. And give love in some material way. Go to an animal shelter and volunteer for the day (you may very well end up with a new furry companion who will give you years of love!) 

Volunteer at a women’s shelter, a senior center, or a school. When you can express compassion and give support to someone less fortunate, it instantly helps you forget about your own challenges. 

Giving love in this way turns you into both a giant antenna and a giant receiver of love and support from the universe. 

That’s because, as the Beatles sang, “…in the end, the love you give is equal to the love you take.” Be a giver of love, and it will come back to you many, many fold.

Happy “Every day is Valentine’s Day!”

If you enjoyed this story, please subscribe to my email list. When I post a new story, you will receive it in your inbox. You might also enjoy my post: Creating a Wardrobe to Build Confidence Afte 50

About the author:

Andrea Pflaumer is the author of two books: the Amazon best-seller Shopping for the Real You: Ten Essential Steps to a Perfect Wardrobe for Every Woman: Fashionistas, Fashion-phobes, and the Over 50 and She’s Got Good Jeans – a guide for how to shop for and where to find the perfect jeans for your body and budget.

She does in-person and online wardrobe and shopping consultations for women worldwide and blogs at Shopping for the Real You. Her free course, Lazy Person’s Guide to a Perfect Wardrobe is available on GoHighbrow. Andrea hosts two video series: Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50 and Shopping for the Real You: Expert Edition. She interviews women in the areas of fashion, beauty, and wellness on her Shopping for the Real You YouTube channel. She is a regular contributor to several national and international publications for women over 50.


February 21, 2023

Passages After 50, Relationships

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  1. Kay Zanger says:

    Thank you.

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