When I was a teenager, it never occurred to me to take my jewelry off before going to the beach or pool. You weren’t dressed without plenty of jewelry and dark black waterproof mascara. Jersey. What can I say?
I carried that tradition well into adulthood. I wore irreplaceable jewelry to beaches and pools everywhere I went. I just got lucky that I left with what I’d come with, and that the pieces weren’t worse for wear. In recent years, though, I’ve been buying inexpensive pieces I consider “pool jewelry” every once in a while. They sparkle and offer the bling factor without damaging the good stuff. They make me so happy!
Why don’t I leave jewelry home altogether? It’s not that I want to look a certain way, or that anyone else cares. I just really enjoy seeing anything sparkling in the sun with the water’s reflection. Nothing looks as good as fingers gliding through the water in front of you with freshly painted nails and glistening rings. It’s a whole experience. The rest of my pool wear is usually pretty toned down. I’m sure no one even notices my pool jewelry, and I like it like that.
My younger self would have been aghast at the thought of separate pool jewelry. That girl believed her life and future pool experiences would resemble the 1980’s Chanel No 5 commercial that bid her “share the fantasy”, a sleek gold-threaded coverup discarded here, a high heel sandal placed just there, a black bathing suit, and perfection all around. I had no idea that the commercial’s director – Ridley Scott – was offering me a fantasy as unlikely to come to fruition as any scene from his Alien films. It all seemed attainable.
One of the pleasures of growing up is that I’m not so wedded to a larger fantasy. It frees me to enjoy experiences for their own qualities instead of their congruency to an overall vision. Sure, I love diamonds, and they have their place. But I can also appreciate crystals that sparkle in the sun in a place that’s shared with others having their own good times. I still do like the idea of that Chanel pool. But I love watching families at Reston pools playing with their children, hearing them giggle and remembering those younger family days in my not-so-distant past. The girl I once was would have grabbed the solitary pool scene any day. The woman I’ve become thinks that might be fun for an afternoon, but it could never be as rich as my real life.