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Drinking, Dressing, Snacking… and Getting Older

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By Dawn Bright


Dear Dawn,

I notice as I get older I don’t seem to care as much about how my clothes look. I still fix my hair and wear makeup, but why do mismatched patterns or off-colors no longer bother me? And what’s up with wearing things to work I bought five or six years ago?

– Michelle F. from Foley, Alabama



You know, Michelle, I’ve found myself in the exact same position. I’ll be sauntering down the hall at work and suddenly realize my lovely pink and blue flowered top simply doesn’t match my lavender pants. Or—this is fun—one of those “Five Years Ago” memories that pops up on Facebook has me sitting there grinning in the same outfit I’m wearing today.


I guess as I’m getting older I only have so much room for “important” stuff, and what I’m wearing doesn’t fall into that category. I have a large family, pets, a difficult job…plus this column to write! Who cares if my black pants have faded to grey, or my blouse is held together with safety pins? I’m comfortable! And what I really care about is the happiness of my family and friends, sharing a good time, and just enjoying life. If what you’re wearing doesn’t bother you, don’t worry about whether or not it bothers anyone else. All this outer clothing is simply that. What’s inside is the important part.

Dear Dawn,

I just read an article about things you shouldn’t drink after the age of 40. I understand sugary lemonade and too much coffee, but margaritas and mudslides? What fun is that?

Sean S. from Mossy Head



As we get older, our bodies process what we eat and drink in a different way than when we were younger, and that’s where that kind of information comes from. I read that same article, and like you, understood the logic behind most of it. And although it was an interesting read, here’s what I’ve found: Wait a few months and a new study will tell you something different. Think about it. I grew up eating butter. Then they said, “NO BUTTER!” Then they said, “Butter is okay.” Then they said…


Well, you get my point. It’s all a bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo that will change over and over again. My opinion is every choice we make, whether we’re 21 or 71, is a quality of life issue. Will drinking this margarita today by the pool kill me? Probably not. Will it make my day at the pool more enjoyable? Probably. Honestly, the best thing you can do for yourself is do everything in moderation and you’ll be okay. And don’t read any more of those articles. They tend to be downers, and who needs that?

Dear Dawn,

I was sitting here counting out a quarter cup of peanuts for a snack and it suddenly dawned on me that one of the things I really hate about getting older is not getting to snack freely. I remember when I’d eat a big bowl of popcorn or rip open a family-size bag of chips and chow down to my heart’s content. Kind of sucks.

– Robert Z. from Fort Walton Beach



That doesn’t sound like a question, Robert, so I’m not sure what advice you’re looking for here. I will say this appears to be the week of “I’m getting older” letters, though. Which is fine—I’m also getting older and these are all issues I, too, deal with. But part of getting older is the importance of staying on top of your health. Eating a big bag of chips is not healthy, no matter how old you are. If you only eat 12 regular potato chips, you’re consuming 160 calories, 10 grams of fat and 15 grams of carbs. And don’t even ask about the sodium.


Who only eats 12 chips, anyway? Really? Is there any chance you’re going to feel full and satisfied after eating 12 chips? I know I wouldn’t. So do like me and make careful, informed choices when it comes to snacking. It’s not normally what you’d do when you were younger, but it needs to be what you normally do now. It’s the NEW normal, and if you think of it like that, aging will be an easy and healthy transition!

Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to

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