INSPIRATION NOT IMITATION IN MIDLIFE

Are you caught up in the imitation cycle or are you forging your own path? Have you reached the point where you’re confident enough to stand apart from the crowd and to own who you are flaws and all? #midlife #confidence

COPY CATS

I don't know why anyone would want to be a pale imitation of someone else. It appears social media would disagree with that sentiment though, because it seems to want us all to look like each other. Judging from all the “full lipped”, smooth faced, breast enhanced, hair straightened, eyebrow chiselled beauties out there, it seems that Instagram has succeeded in its goal of making every 20 something look the same as her fellow IG devotees. I think it’s kind of sad. Turn on any reality TV show and every young woman seeking her 15 minutes of fame has the same look – some do it better than others, but it’s all a carbon copy of what the internet tells us is beautiful. Where have the individuals gone?

The stereotypical young woman of the 21st Centuary - it's time to stop copy catting and reclaim our uniqueness.

BEING REAL

I like that Midlife frees us up from some of that pressure. Despite the fact that there are quite a few 50+ women who are still trying their darndest to look like 30 year old IG models, there’s a large number more who are embracing being the best version of themselves. I don’t know about you, but happy, healthy, confident, and unique women are the ones I look to for inspiration. I don’t have any desire at all to imitate them and be a copy, but I’m more than happy to select snippets that inspire me and use them to make my own life better.

Women who love fitness inspire me to stay physically healthy – I don’t need to be running a marathon or going to the gym every day to be the same as them (heaven forbid!) but I can look at what they’re achieving and take it as inspiration to stay fit and keep moving my middle aged body. They remind me to eat healthy food – not necessarily kale or vegetable smoothies, but to keep my fridge full of fresh produce and eat food I prepare myself. I also love women who think about deeper stuff – they inspire me to look beyond the surface and to weigh up ideas to see if I agree or not. I love having my mind challenged by those who read widely and share their knowledge.

INSPIRATION VS PLAGIARISM

I read some really interesting Midlife blogs, and I see some fantastic quotes about this age and stage. I love the Simple and UnBusy movements too. But……I would never dream of taking their thoughts and words and claiming them as my own. The internet is rife with plagiarism and people being upset by others who steal their work, that’s cheating and not very attractive. Reading the thoughts of others should inspire us to apply what appeals to our own lives and then (if we like to write) we can take those ideas and write about how we’re making them work for us. One small sentence can often inspire me to write a whole blog post – it triggers a train of thought and I love that It’s inspired me to think harder and write better.

Take inspiration from others - but then give it your own twist - don't imitate - it's lazy

I also love seeing how other Midlife bloggers are living out their lives in retirement, I often read about new things they’re trying, new bucket list items they’re ticking off, new adventures they’re planning. But…. I don’t need to copy them. I can be inspired by their travel photos without feeling the need to take out a loan to follow in their footsteps, I can cheer for them when they find the perfect yoga class or Pilates teacher, but I don’t need to chase down one of my own. I can read a post written by someone I admire, be inspired by it, apply what appeals to my own life, and then who knows what that might lead me to think or write about down the track. That’s being inspired – because it’s different, it’s uniquely my take on an idea, and it’s not being a mirror image of someone else.

FASHION

I’ve never understood the need to replicate a famous person’s wardrobe. There are so many websites dedicated to who wore what and where you can buy an exact copy (or a cheap imitation). Why would I want to wear the identical outfit someone else has already worn? Why would I look at something a friend wears and want to go and buy the same dress? Why would I want to be a pale imitation of someone else’s “look”? Instead, I can be inspired by women who dress beautifully, I can admire an outfit and re-interpret it into something that suits me and looks like my style. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery - it's lazy and steals from the person you're copying. Why be a copy when you can rock your own interpretation?

Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery - it's lazy and steals from the person you're copying
imitation is the sincerest form of laziness

When did we turn down the street that leads to producing replicas? When did we give up having our own style and choose to take on someone else’s in its place? Why are we becoming so insecure that we can’t choose to stand out from the crowd with our own taste and fashion sense? When did we lose the ability to sort through what’s on offer and choose only the items that suit us and reflect our own personality and style? That’s what I loved about Op Shopping – everything is unique, it’s all been mixed in together and there’s a sense of discovery each time you find a piece that catches your eye. It’s so different to walking into the same shops selling the same items – mostly aimed at 20 year olds, and trying to wear clothes that might look great on your daughter, but just don’t cut the mustard when you’re 55.

LET’S BE INSPIRED

I’d love to challenge every single Midlife woman to be unique. To think for yourself and to have the confidence to stand out from the crowd. I’d love to see a tribe of women who aren’t following the crowd – not necessarily taking it to the extreme that the ladies of Ari Cohen's Advanced Style do, but rather being happy in our own skins. Wearing the clothes we like, treating our bodies with respect, honouring the journey that’s led up to our laugh lines and stretch marks (rather than trying to hide them).

Taking senior fashion to the extreme - Advanced Style
Used with permission Zen to Zany FB
Let’s be women who live life from our hearts – who inspire each other to write better, to be healthier, to hold to our values, to be confident, kind, unique, and true to ourselves. No more imitation, no plagiarising, no comparisons, just a quiet belief in ourselves and our place in this world. I don’t want to be “fierce" and fight for that, I just want to claim what’s mine and be proud of who I’ve become in Midlife.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you caught up in the imitation cycle or are you forging your own path? Have you reached the point where you’re confident enough to stand apart from the crowd and to own who you are flaws and all? I hope you’re celebrating every moment of Midlife and onwards because we’re so blessed to be here and to still be relevant.

RELATED POSTS




Are you caught up in the imitation cycle or are you forging your own path? Have you reached the point where you’re confident enough to stand apart from the crowd and to own who you are flaws and all? #midlife #confidence
Are you caught up in the imitation cycle or are you forging your own path? Have you reached the point where you’re confident enough to stand apart from the crowd and to own who you are flaws and all? #midlife #confidence

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

30 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - I've never been good at following the crowd. When I've tried, I've just messed it up. I agree with your thoughts in this post. And I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the final photo! :D

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    1. Hi Donna - I'm much the same, I've never wanted to look like a carbon copy of someone else, or feel like I need to be doing something because everyone else is - I think that's why I struggle to understand this IG culture of mimicking others?

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  2. Fabulous to read your thoughts here Leanne. I agree it's much easier as I get older to go my own way. Yes I can be inspired and encouraged by others but I'd rather be my own unique person.

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    1. Hopefully that's another blessing we discover in Midlife Deb - that we're really pretty okay as we are, and trying to be a 20 year old, or a photocopy of someone else is just ridiculous. I love that we're all unique and being proud of the fact :)

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  3. I hear what you're saying - but I don't think we should see imitation as a new phenomenon. I wore mini skirts, platform soles, shoulder pads with the best of them, back in the day. But I do think we gain confidence with experience, we learn what works for us, and we're less afraid to stand out from the crowd.

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    1. Yes I think you're right about following fashion more when we were younger, but at the same time I think we still put our own spin on it, and we weren't messing around with cosmetic surgery or trying to be exactly the same as someone famous. This IG culture really does my head in and I'm so glad that I can distance myself from it in Midlife.

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  4. That is one thing I have never done is copy someone else. I am pretty unique even sometimes an oddball :-) Seriously, I hate to follow the crowd though sometimes it has't always worked out for me by not following the crowd. Might have something to do with being an ADHD kid which some of those traits are still with me as an adult. Not sure what the big fuss is about IG, I post photos I look at others, no big deal. Maybe too much overthinking?

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    1. I think IG is like FB - it's all about how you use it and who's feed you allow into your life Suzanne. So many people get caught in the comparison trap and end up feeling like they don't measure up - it's time they refocused and deleted some of the "noise" and marched to the beat of their own drum IMHO. :)

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  5. Hi Leanne, I agree that we are all unique and need to find what works best for us in all things in life. I love that I can inspire and encourage others to live a more active and healthier lifestyle but I also stress that we need to find ways to keep active that we enjoy. I do love running long distances (yes call me crazy) but that doesn't mean it is right for others. If you don't enjoy what you are doing you won't stick to it and that is the fundamental thought for life in general isn't it! Off and running for another week of #MLSTL. Sharing on SM for you :)

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    1. Hi Sue - you inspire me with your fitness and love of running every time I read one of your posts. It reminds me to stay active but doesn't pressure me into trying to be the same as you. I want to read and see inspirational stuff, but not feel the pressure to conform or to mimic - just to be challenged to be the best version of me (not a poor imitation of someone else).

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  6. I think I’m similar to you in many ways Leanne. I really don’t care about the latest fads and trends. Midlife has freed me up to be myself and be relaxed about it. I feel sad when I see young women with pumped up lips and boobs. I get that they should do what makes them happy, but they would be gorgeous without it

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    1. It's the "sameness" of it all that bothers me Jennifer. They all look similar - hair, faces, boobs, teeth, clothes.... When you see a young woman who looks natural it catches your eye these days - which is a sad indictment on our society. I love that being over 50 seems to have put a space between me and that world - it's a relief to just be "me".

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  7. Hi Leanne, I've always been forging my own path. I'm aware of some fads and trends which come and go. I don't become fixated with them. The last photo is hilarious. #MLSTL

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    1. I'm the same Natalie - I don't have the time, money, or interest to invest in looking the same as the trend setters. I'm happy without my outfit of the day or my trendy coffee or whatever the latest fashion is. I love the freedom that gives me too.

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  8. I think it takes time to not worry about fitting in. And I think you need to be comfortable in your skin, and that is very hard for people to do, as they've spent their whole life from birth to see value in the wrong things. #MLSTL

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    1. You're so right Lydia - the influence that social media has on younger people is quite saddening at times. The need to compete and the feeling that you're not "pretty" if you don't look like these plastic women is such a miserable way to live. I'm glad that I was settled into myself before all that was blasted on TV or online everywhere I look.

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  9. Hi Leanne:

    Inspiration vs imitation. That's a lovely topic to think and blog on.

    There is a thin but important line of difference. We all should look around for inspiration and adapt the right aspects of those inspirations in our lives.

    I have definitely reached a point in my life when I have to be myself, when I want to learn and do something new which appeals to my liking and comfort levels.

    #MLSTL

    Take care.
    Pradeep

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    1. I feel like that too Pradeep - the sense that there's always more to learn and people to inspire us to be better, but not falling into the trap of trying to be the same as them. Not competing with people who have the time and money to be "influencers", to just be happy in our own skins is such a blessing.

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  10. When I was a teenager, I did try to copy things I saw in fashion magazines...to disastrous results. Then in my 20's I always felt the lesser for not being able to do that. It wasn't until I reached my 40's that I began to realize that it doesn't matter. What does matter is if I feel good or not.

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    1. Fashion is so fickle isn't it Jennifer? It takes us a long time to realize that the models aren't the same as "normal" women, and the clothes aren't going to suit us all. I think getting older allows us to pick and choose more and to not feel the desperate need to have the latest items (regardless of how they look on us) it's so liberating to step away from the mainstream and find a pleasant little tributary of our own.

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  11. Great post! There is so much pressure to conform in marketing, entertainment and fashion. I loved hearing your plea for individualism and personal creativity. We are unique and that is our greatest gift! Let's start dressing and living that way. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. That sums it up beautifully - it's not that we can't look at what's out there and find things to love, it's when I see women mindlessly mimicking every detail that the Royal women are wearing, or the instagram crowd are promoting that I feel sad. We were made to be individuals, so why hide our uniqueness in a sea of the sameness?

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  12. Hi Leanne, My life experience has been that the more self-confidence I've gained the better I've been able to be an "original me" not an imitation someone else. I also notice if our role models (when we were children) reinforced the idea that to succeed we needed to conform to fit it, that early conditioning can be a big challenge to transcend. Grateful I know it’s possible to re-program ourselves at any age. #MLSTL Pinned and re-shared this post.

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    1. Hi Nancy - I like the idea of re-programming ourselves, it's never too late to open our eyes and choose to see our own "beauty". We may not be fashionably perfect, but changing ourselves cosmetically or buying every expensive cream on the market in the desperate hope of the fountain of youth is such a sad way to live. I'm all for celebrating our uniqueness and gaining confidence in the process.

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  13. I am learning to look towards others for inspiration and not to Compare & Despair or imitate & fail! I am inspired by many of the same places/type of people you mention - my fashionista friends, those who have amazing workout programs, those trying plant-based eating, the deep thinkers who are always reading and sharing new ideas. I take a bit from each of them... and become uniquely me!

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    1. That's exactly how it should be Pat - if we take a little inspiration from all those wonderful women and choosing what will work for us, then we have to become better don't we? If we try to mimic them exactly we fail and the disheartening outcome sets us back. I want to be a vibrant woman who has her own "look" and her own interests - someone who is confident and I hope to inspire others along the way - that's the ultimate aim for me.

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  14. I love this! I agree that the younger generation all look like clones. I've always followed my own style rather than just buying the latest fashions. One of the best things about being in your 50s is that you know what suits you, and you've probably worn the latest fashions when they were here the first time (remember jumpsuits! I'd never wear one now!).

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    1. Yes, I've seen many styles come, go, return, and go again - most were awful the first time (anything from the 70s!) so I'm glad I have enough sense to leave them on the hanger in the store. Being this age allows me to find little gems here and there that suit me and to stop the crazy seasonal purchasing that the fashion boutiques rely on - I'll leave that for the young and desperate and keep hoping that all the cosmetic surgery stuff finally ends before they are drooping in their 40's!

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  15. My granddaughters in their 20s have seen 'the light' re Instagram and Facebook and comparisons. Both of them have adjusted their involvement there because of the odious comparisons and looks-centred pics. They are both challenged by serious physical health conditions (sadly) of epilepsy and crohns disease so they need to keep their mental health strong just to deal with that. I hear you on comparisons as we get older. I like that I am far more likely now to dress for the occasion and for me. Thank you for your linky with Sue. Denyse #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Denyse - it's nice to see that some young women are still unique - my daughter and DIL are both 30 and seem to be fairly immune to IG. I think it's the insecure 20 somethings who are trying to find their moment in the spotlight that are the biggest culprits - and reality TV has a lot to answer for!
      Midlife has been so liberating - it's lovely to buy what I like and not worry if it's going to be up to the moment or not.

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