Nadine Jolie Courtney photos

Presenting Mid-Life Crisis Jolie

 

Nadine Jolie Courtney and Jamie Stone at VMAs

With my friend Jamie Stone at the VMAs thanks to CoverGirl. I pestered her every five seconds for intel on who the hell was onstage

Here are some things that have happened to me in the past few weeks:

— I went to the VMA Awards with CoverGirl, where a slew of “musicians” I didn’t know existed sang “songs” I’d never heard of. (The sole exception–Beyoncé–is somebody I respect immensely as being talented and pretty, but still genuinely do not care about in the slightest. I missed the memo where it was commanded that you must be obsessed with Beyoncé and refer to her as Queen B, lest you have no taste and no soul)

— I fell shamefully in love with the song “Bang Bang,” forcing poor Erik to listen to it on repeat until it was stuck in his head. (I then realized that “Bang Bang” was performed at the VMAs and I totally missed it because I was griping and grousing about the state of the music industry. Universe: 1, Nadine: 0)

— I got eyelash extensions that I immediately hated, because I looked like Tammy Faye Bakker and they kept interfering with my ability to wash my face easily (eyelash extensions require SO much maintenance…and I am lazy)

— I spent, no joke, HALF AN HOUR OF MY LIFE trying to artfully-arrange a bunch of Kérastase products next to a bottle of Moët for an Instagram post, because I have become worried about what my lackluster social media numbers mean for my financial future as a blogger

Here is the common thread amongst the above:

I am too old for that shit.

Nadine Jolie Courtney birthday

Birthday present from Erik: the Mulberry purse I’ve been coveting for years

My 34th birthday was at the end of August and life has been changing a lot ’round these parts. It’s almost all for the better, but as I’ve been working on my next book and redesigning my blog, I’ve been mulling things over, as you do. It’s been almost 10 years since I started blogging, and holy hell has the landscape changed.

I have been struggling with blogging, frankly, for a while now. You’ll remember I talked about my frustrations back in the spring.

My readership isn’t where it used to be, due in no small part to 1) my tendency to wander away from my blog for days at a time while I live my life; 2) the sheer number of beauty blogs out there: some lackluster, but many amazing; 3) the fact that my voice has changed.

redecorating

We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond about five times last week. This is what our bedroom floor looked like at one point

Erik and I are currently redecorating our house from top to bottom, which involves pulling boxes out of storage and going through papers and photos. While cleaning, I found old blog post printouts from 2008 and 2009. As I re-read them, I was struck by how clear, honest, and funny my voice was back then. Sure, elements of my current posts and writing style were still there–product reviews, event recaps, an obsession with Kate Middleton way before it was click-bait–but I had many more How To’s and Tutorials, in part because I felt there was an actual need and market for those.

Now? These past few years? I’ve thought: Well, why get it from me when you can get it from Allure.com, or from that white-hot YouTuber, or by a simple Google search?

Nobody wants to be the last person at the party. For the past couple of years, I’ve been pretending that things are the same as they were when I started blogging in 2005: that I’m still 24 and fresh-faced and dewy-eyed and that it is appropriate for me to include smiley-faces in my emails and to create videos that start with a chirpy “Hi, guys!”

I go to events, and some cute young beauty blogger and I will be introduced, and she’ll look past me as she Instagrams her bangled arm holding a tube of moisturizer against a background of flowers, and when she finally deigns to give me her attention, she asks with a patient, condescending smile, “And how long have you been blogging?” like it’s a hobby I picked up on a whim last February. When I say nine and a half years (and if I’m lucky, somebody nearby chimes in and explains that I was kind of the first real beauty blogger), the smug smile fades, and I feel like a petty, silly person for even craving such validation from a newbie. Furthermore, it’s not like I can feel superior to her just because I’m older and did it first, because I certainly haven’t done it best–and while I have almost (only) 7000 Twitter followers, she has 125,000 who hang on her every word. So, the joke’s on me.

Considering how long I’ve been blogging and the fact that I do still have somewhat of a legit presence in the blogosphere, my social media numbers are abysmal. I’ve tried the Instagramming and the Tweeting and the Pose-ing and the Vine-ing, but it takes so much effort. (Cue violins.) It’s a full-time job, 140 characters and various clever hashtags at a time, and as my vocabulary has dwindled and my attention span has shrunk, I’ve started to worry about social media and technology’s effect on my brain. I want to be doing things away from my devices, not diving further into the madness for fear of becoming even more irrelevant.

Kerastase 50 birthdayPresenting three of my failed Instagram attempts, plus the winning Instagram version on the top-left.
This. Took. Ages.

I downloaded a slew of logic games and memory puzzles in an attempt to form neural pathways. I pulled out the Kindle, because even reading on a tablet (blech) is better than not reading at all. I’ve put the phone down when Erik and I go for walks, and I turn my ringer off (which has led to all sorts of shenanigans the past week when people haven’t been able to reach me RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE AND OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG), and rather than spending 20 minutes of Instagram-scrolling before bed, I’ve been reading Entertainment Weekly or Vanity Fair or The Economist (or, confession, US Weekly, because although I want to recapture my old mental magic, I am still a human being in 2014, y’all).

Guys, I could keep rambling for ages here, and I think this is the consequence of me not truly sharing with you for the past few months as I’ve been spinning the blog’s wheels and finishing my next book.

Life is good.

Life is so good.

I am absurdly grateful, and I cannot wait until I can finally open the floodgates and talk to you about it more (and show you photos from my wedding while I’m at it! Winter 2014, watch this space…)

Nadine Jolie Courtney photos

Reevaluating what matters…

I’m working with a graphic designer to update this blog (what will it be, long-time readers? 5.0? 6.0? 9.0?) and I am beside myself with excitement to show you the latest version. For once, however, it’s not going to be merely cosmetic. There have been so many external changes in my life this past year that it’s only natural the inside has changed, too. The blog will reflect that. It might not resonate with advertisers or beauty brands or my manager or the vast majority of the blogosphere, and I’ve decided to (try to) stop worrying about that. My best hope is that it will resonate with my readers. This fall will continue to be a bit slow on my end, publicly at least, but come winter, I’ll be back in full force.

On a related note to the rambling missive above, I realized something basic and silly and rather obvious while in bed last night:

I AM HAVING A MID-LIFE CRISIS.

Technically, it might be a third-life crisis, since I hope my time won’t be up when I hit 68, but the fact remains: I just turned 34. I’m a year away from 35, that classic old “holy shit, what am I doing with my life?” milestone. And I work in an industry that, for the most part, is a young woman’s game.

I like Twitter. I like Instagram. I am the most shameless selfie narcissist you’ve ever seen, and if it were appropriate, I’d probably post photos of my hair on Facebook all damn day long.

But I’ve stopped wearing makeup or blowdrying my hair on a daily basis. I had a 20 minute discussion about hemorrhoids last week. I do not care about your Outfit of the Day. I have zero interest in your bangled-arm-holding-a-tube-of-moisturizer-against-a-background-of-flowers photo. I resent that I might be less viable as a writer because my social media game is not strong and my asides are no longer as pithy and zingy and sharp. I look around–at my industry, my peers, my world, myself–and I worry, worry, worry.

I have become earnest. I want extra sleep. I want to be a kind person and to leave a mark. I want a family. I want to take the time and mental energy to fight the uphill battle, to carve out a meaningful space for myself in the blogosphere again, and to say something that matters.

I’m in my mid-30s, and I like it.

I do not want to compete with 25-year-olds any longer. It’s time to grow up.

 

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16 Comments

  1. You just said everything I say out loud to myself on a daily basis. I, also, began in 2005. I turned 40 in August. I have 4 kids and now a beauty brand. I’m now in a competition with my 12 year old son over how many followers and Likes we have on Instagram. I feel sad that I am competing with young, hip 20-somethings and now understand why celebrities my age get plastic surgery.

    I keep plugging away blogging though and can’t wait until my product line really takes off, since that’s where all of us “old ladies” tend to shine – in problem solving.

  2. You’re such a gem. That honesty, that realness, is ultimately what sets you apart. Can’t wait to see the blog updates! Rooting for you.

  3. Kat

    This is so dead-on. I started on Live Journal (remember that!) in 2003 and kept blogs on travel and personal finance until 2009 when Facebook and everyone else seem to have replaced what I needed to say. I miss it at times but then try Instagramming or Tweeting for 5 days straight and hate myself. Thanks for saying it out-loud. I love my mid-30s and living it. Not tweeting it!

  4. Kat

    ha – I realise that my photo is from 2006, illustrating my point exactly. As we say in Britain, I can’t be bothered. I’ll update it when I’m 40. I love reading your POV so I selfishly want you to keep it up!

  5. I totally get where youre coming from. I finally went with my heart and switched Hello Dollface from featuring ALL BEAUTY and celebs to what I felt most passionate about- natural, non toxic beauty products with wellness thrown in. I feel more authentic about what I write about. Plus, Im not in competition with anyone really, least of all some 25 year olds. I am way too old for any of that.

    xo
    Cindy

  6. Steph

    Your words resonate with EVERYONE I know, and the issues don’t just apply to bloggers… It’s impossible in PR to keep track of the next hot young blogger that’s selling out products with a mere mention on her IG. And then there are the mommy bloggers who have cross category interests. From a media list comprised of hundreds of media contacts who we must know personally to a database of thousands and thousands. We are burning out.

  7. It’s so heartening to know that I’m not alone in feeling like this. Thank you guys for the kind comments, and thanks (Cindy, Steph, Shannon, Kat) for sharing your stories, too! If we don’t change and grow, we die…but it’s rather scary to watch the industry change around us seemingly NOT for the better.

  8. nerr

    i think we(the loyal readers) grew and changed alongside with you. whatever it is – you’re still doing it, Nadine – Great.

  9. Jayne

    Amen, Amen, Amen….and congratulations!!!! I remember when you were one of the best—and certainly kindest from a publicist’s standpoint—beauty editors, the fabulous Jolie in NYC days, the early blogs and the first book. If the twits haven’t studied the history of their profession, then shame on them. You might not have the largest audience, but I’m willing to bet you still have the audience I want to reach as a brand—smart, fun, looking for the next unique products and willing to stay with the products they like. Amen to Steph’s comments, as well. XOXXOXOXO

  10. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve only been blogging for a year, but I am 32 years old. At times, I’ve felt like I shouldn’t continue doing it because there was no way I was going to compete in this industry with 20 year olds. I thought that people would want to see young girls rambling on about makeup and outfits, instead of reading me who blogs mostly about lifestyle, specifically my travels. So when I came across this post, I clearly identified myself with you, maybe not in the long-time blogging, because I am a newbie, but in the sentiment that maybe I’m just too old for this. I also fret about my social media numbers (followers) and constantly convince myself that maybe it’s because no one is reading because no one really cares for what I write. This post has, however, convinced me that I must in fact continue, maybe not for anyone else, but for myself. I love blogging and I love sharing it with people and now I know that I just want real followers that truly love what I blog about. Numbers aren’t really that important after all. Thank you very much!

  11. Loved reading your comment, Claudia. It makes me so happy to hear that you will be soldiering on! There’s no doubt the industry is changing because of social media, and as we age, I think it’s inevitable that we’ll continue to feel more removed from the popularity of the young’uns. But I love that you’ll be continuing to blog and sharing what you have to say, and I agree that pushing forward for yourself (which makes it authentic, and genuine, and vital) is the most important thing. I hope the readers will follow! xoxo!

  12. alex

    I found this post via Ramshackle Glam and I didn’t follow you before, but will now. Because I’m 30 and from this post yours is a voice I’m interested in following. I have 2 kids and a full time job and a full wonderful life but not much time for beautifying. You’re probably saying other things also but what I’m hearing is that you’re similarly living life full time and maintaining a beauty routine / sharing that routine part time. I would fully support a blog showing honest, genuine, real ways to maintain beauty as a 30 yo busy, successful woman.

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