attachment and loss, you will lose what you love


You will lose everything you were once most proud of, you will lose everything you love. I’m not talking about your house, car, or occupation, although you’ll lose those things as well. Here I’m talking about those little things you were once a bit vain about, those things. The slim legs, the bountiful hair, the radiant complexion, those. It’s about attachment and loss.

This is personal. I used to have a great back and arms, especially the arms. I got lots of comments from both men and women on my arms. Whether I was working out, or teaching yoga I got lots of looks. Not to belabor the point, but Michelle Obama’s arms look like pudding compared to what I had. You can tell by the way I’m going on; I really loved my arms.

I had guns, not nasty guns, nice guns. I didn’t have Madonna guns, although personally I admire hers. My biceps and triceps were perfectly toned, not just big but strong looking, perfectly but not overly defined. Pretty much the same went for my back. It was perfect for summer dresses, and because I have a  small waist, my back was accentuated in just the right way.

Lost, gone, sayonara to all that. After a particularly trying time, during which I lost quite a bit of weight fast, wrinkles appeared. With age, the skin and muscle tone are simply not what they used to be. What’s more I seem to have lost it in these areas more quickly than other women. I’m sure my years of smoking and sun worship did not help.

This is the last rule of beauty. We will all lose it all. If we’re lucky we’ll end up wrinkly, old ladies. We’ll have to rejoice in that. In Buddhism, the notion of attachment and the follies of attachment are central. You really can’t argue with it. Someday we are going to give up everything, and we have to be okay with that. If we’re not okay with it, it will result in suffering. 

I’ve spent weeks rambling on and on about the lessons I’ve learned about beauty and fashion. Here’s a synopsis, if you want to go back: Don’t try so hard. Color can be difficult. Beware of patterns. The only thing I would add to all of this is: break the rules.




  • Elena Peters says:

    Wow! I totally understand you here. While I never had the sculptured arms you had, they were nice in tank tops. Now I’m embarrassed to wear anything sleeveless without a cover up. I guess I will have to just suck it up and accept my body as is once summer kicks in.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      I know, it’s hard to suck it up sometimes. It’s ok, no one says that we have to be happy about the inevitable. To me it’s about, ok, arms not so good, but I still want to be beautiful, so what do I do? Oh wow! I love big earrings, they look good, I look good in them… Go big on big earrings. Or scarves, or kimonos?

  • Jennifer says:

    Powerful post Anita! We do lose it all. Whether by dribbles or leaps, it goes eventually. I had great legs. Really nice legs. They’re still not chopped chicken liver, but they’re not what they were.
    i smoked for years and worshiped the sun as well. Those lines around my mouth are nasty and telling, but they’re me.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Thanks! I think of the lines around my mouth as karma. Karma is cause and effect. Smoke is cause, wrinkles effect. I yell at young women I see smoking these days!

  • Vilma Sceusa says:

    Great article! So true, there are losses and gains while traveling the aging journey…

  • Carolann says:

    Agreed! If we are lucky enough to experience it as you said. I rejoice in the everyday experiences of life…that’s good enough for me 🙂

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