I found myself here, at an intersection in life that presented an opportunity for me to forge a new path. Create the New Kalisa. Middle-aged divorcee.
I simplified my physical space - putting out hydrangeas from my yard and seashells my son collected for me on vacations throughout the years. I started cleaning out my front beds and before I knew it I was gardening. I repainted a perfectly good red dresser in distressed white chalk. I replaced my marital china pattern with blue & white dishes and have plans to paint my kitchen cabinets to match.
After the breast cancer diagnosis, the doctor took me off my hormones. I was honestly more anxious about that than I was the mastectomy and with good reason because it has sucked and continues to suck and will suck for probably several years to come. Summer's coming so I bought the coolest clothes I could - wide-legged linen pants and white button-downs.
After some bruising popped up on my foot, I went to get it x-rayed. Not broken, but I do have arthritis in it, the doctor said. So I guess that's pretty much everywhere now. I looked up supplements - turmeric, fish oil, fresh ginger. Now I've added turmeric smoothies to my morning routine - although I haven't forgone the iced mochas altogether. I go to the Farmer's Market with my canvas tote for fresh fruits and vegetables.
This is who I am now. I admit, it's straight out of a Nancy Meyer's flick. And it is perfect.
Turns out there's an aesthetic for that.
A 26-year-old TikToker originated the term "Coastal Grandmother" (oxymoronic much?) and she says you needn't be an actual grandmother or have beach-front property.
Coastal grandmother is not about conforming to male heterosexual expectations of female beauty.
Learning to be and love yourself, with all your flaws. That feels like the path I'm on.
The millennial composer of this phrase says you can either be a West Coast Grandmother (Pilates, martinis & cashmere sweaters...Jane Fonda in Grace & Frankie) or an East Coast Grandmother (pottery class, skim cappuccinos, white button down...Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give). But she forgot about us - the Gulf Coastal Grandmothers.
A coastal grandmother is a successful woman who creates a beautiful life for herself by embodying elements of coastal living and homemaking
Instead of a beach house in the Hamptons, we have an Acadian tin-roof cottage. Our fresh garden flowers are hydrangeas, yes, but also gardenias and magnolias. We have just enough flour-de-lis accents to make you envy us but not so many as to be obnoxious. Our beachy touches are vacation mementos from the Florida panhandle. Our art is from any number of Louisiana festivals.
We wear not just linen pants but loose linen dresses because it gets hotter down here and stays that way for a long time. We have a chunky white sweater but it's not promised that we'll get to wear it every winter. To paraphrase a GenX classic, you get more mileage from a cheap pair of espadrilles.
The goal is to find coziness and beauty in the little things -- fresh flowers in the living room, making coffee in the morning, listening to cozy music...
Today is...would have been? Should have. Today should have been my 29th wedding anniversary. And here I sit, a middle-aged divorcee with beautiful flowers in her yard, an adorable house, a faithful companion. I AM a Nancy Myers movie!
But you won't catch me wearing any bucket hats.