A good friend recently told me a story about an old lady who lived in her house. Whenever she passed a window or a mirror, there she was . . . following her around! The old lady never caused any trouble; she could even be helpful. Once my friend caught a glimpse of her in the mirror, putting away the laundry.
Then she had to admit her discovery . . . she was that old lady.
It’s not an easy thing to learn as the years go by—our appearance stays the same in our memory, but not in our reality.
There are millions of products to help us slow that progression, and I’ve always wanted to invent something significant. I think that was part of the “get rich” idea of my generation, to invent the next latest and greatest gadget, gizmo, or product. In my 30 s, I wrote out that famous catchphrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and taped it to my bathroom mirror for motivation. Today, the get rich idea
is to be a social media influencer—I just don’t get it.
My sister . . . okay, full disclosure here . . . is really my aunt. My mother’s youngest sister is a mere two years older than I am, so we grew up like siblings. Starting a family early is a popular theme in my family, although it seems that my children are breaking the mold of that idea.
Anyway, my almost-sister had a great idea. Before the major cleaning brands came on the market, she was cleaning everything with baby wipes. Baby wipes were a big part of her day . . . we’re talking four children under the age of eight. She came up with the idea of mixing cleaning solution with the wipes to clean and disinfect quickly. It was genius! The only problem was that Clorox got it to market first. And that led to the other piece of advice I had taped to my mirror, “Take action, or someone else will.”
One product idea I wish I would have acted on was a type of modern-day girdle. I spent years cutting off the legs of panty hose to wear under my clothes. Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx, was doing the same thing, but she figured out how to keep the legs from rolling and to sew the panels just right to create the best body silhouette. She took action! Now Sara Blakely is one of the most successful businesswomen in the world. She is so successful that she is now a philanthropist. Sigh . . . I would like to be in that position.
But maybe it’s not too late. They say 50 is the new 30! I’m not sure who “they” are, but I like the advice, so I’ll repeat it. I tend to take the advice I agree with—like coffee is good for us again, and so is a daily glass of red wine.
So, while I continue to dream of my invention, I’ll start each day with a cup of coffee, end each day with a glass of red wine, and raise a heartfelt toast to Sara Blakely, the original shape shifter.
We just had a business idea come to us but as you said, if we don’t put legs under it, someone else will. Maybe this is a God wink 😉!
I love this article Stephanie… I have to admit that I laughed at a couple of my sisters ideas for inventions… One was the upside down umbrella and my niece and I laughed for a couple of years about that and then someone put that on the market… My sister has never let me forget that and I could name a few others… Same thing… That she came up with… So when she told me recently of her latest idea I encouraged her to put it to market and every single morning as I think how I could use her new idea I have continued to encourage her to put it to market and I told her to get it done before someone else comes up with that… Thanks for sharing!