I was born in 1982, which technically makes me a millennial—but just barely. My music growing up was more of the Spice Girls variety than Justin Bieber. I don’t ride an electric scooter to work, office out of a flex workspace, or purchase cars from Carvana. I also don’t snap pictures of my girlfriends and me holding hands with the caption “v, v ideal day tbh.” No, those are my kids’ babysitters, who are also millennials curiously.

I am the variety of millennial who grew up playing Oregon Trail in a computer lab at school, eating Flintstone Push-Ups while watching Saved By The Bell reruns, and eventually, when life really got good, logging out of AOL chats because my mom had to use the phone.

I would guess most old lady millennials like myself probably find themselves in many of the same precarious situations I do these days.

While the millennials bringing up the rear are busy polishing their engagement rings and dreaming up clever wedding hashtags, my variety of millennialsthe geriatric millennials or GMsare busy stuffing our post-baby muffin tops in mom jeans every time we have a minute to sit. And we are contending with the curiously new-shaped, slightly wrinkled, and sun-spotted selves in the mirror. We are just now learning that our side parts, skinny jeans, and emoji usage are all wrong.

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I can’t confirm this personally, of course, but I’ve heard rumors some GMs must keep emergency tweezers in their cars at all times because the sunlight reveals black, wiry hairs in places no hair should live on a woman. Ever. I will say, the other day I found two white hairs in my eyebrows, much to my horror. At this rate, I’ll be submitting my application to be a mall Santa come next December.

Much like the stackable Russian nesting dolls, our 24-year-old selves are just inside the surface, and a bigger shell has been snapped on top. There are times I look in the rearview mirror at my three boys and question, for just a second, if they’re all really mine.

The new shell is good, but you have to get used to it.

I have wonderful girlfriends, and we remind ourselves of this over a glass of wine or chips and queso regularly. We have all experienced some of life’s knocks by now that make us “pick ourselves up by the bootstraps,” as my dad says. Those difficult things have ultimately made us better, more resilient versions of the women we were at 24. Our shared joys and sorrows give a richness to our lives we didn’t have even a decade ago. It was made us as individuals and our friendships more authentic. 

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The truth is, our containers may feel unrecognizable at times, but all of the tanning, toning, waxing, highlighting, and manicuring in the world won’t take us back to the women we were before.

And I’m not convinced that’s what any of us actually want anyway.

Rather than looking back, I’m pretty sure we just need to look ourselves in the mirror with kinder eyes instead. Besides, if not us, then who will show the younger millennials that with just the right top, fun shoes, and great accessories, skinny jeans can be v, v cute!

Originally published on Southlake Style

Chelsea Salomone

Chelsea Salomone is a writer, mom, and scooter enthusiast. She lives in a fraternity house with her husband, three sons, and feisty Boston Terrier named Lolly.