Relaxed and happy is the new miracle crème

Happiness is a posse of friends and a dozen empty Champs bottles.

Joy joy joy. Our holiday party was a success, complete with shrieking kids clattering up and down the staircases at midnight. Our guests trekked in from Gotham, Brooklyn and considerably further away in Jersey, which was so sweet. And the catering – which Hubby fully orchestrated – rocked.

You gotta love outsourcing. And a tag team of energetic nannies to corral those tots like a herd of raging buffalo.

After a massive nap this afternoon, I’ve had a chance to reflect. And here’s what I found unusual about the chit-chat last night: There was much talk about how my great friend Alev, who has written for Momover several times and just moved back to the States from the Netherlands, hasn’t aged a bit over the last six years. “You’re just not seeing me in harsh daylight,” she demurred. “Trust me, I look older.”

This is my theory about Alev’s youthfulness: She’s a really happy person. She loves being a mom and she doesn’t want the stress of a super-intense full-time job. There’s nothing like being mellow and relaxed to take five years off your face.

Or maybe it’s because she’s spent so much time in Europe. Between a dozen post-college years in Paris, followed by the stint with her hubby and kids in The Hague, she is the most Euro-y American pal I have.

It’s a huge cliché, but one probably steeped in at least partial truth, that Europeans aren’t as work-obsessed as Americans. But that can also be said for other parts of the U.S. that aren’t in proximity to New York. And that I can say with complete certainty. Why? Because I hail from the heartland, lived in New England for 10 years, moved to NYC to go to college and never left.

This morning, there was a kindergarten class playdate at a park by us. (Yes, on a Sunday at 9 a.m. In December. On the East coast. Brrr.) And as I sat on a bench, shivering and trying to read a few pages of Keith Richards’ kooky krazy autobiography, I caught snippets of a blistering conversation about careers. It was the mom of one kid talking to the dad of another kid, and it was exhausting.

Oh, where am I going with all this? I absolutely don’t want to posit anything ridic, like that women who stay home with their kids and aren’t freaking out about work are categorically more beautiful than women who kill it – corporately or in their own business – and have to deal, daily, with high doses of stress. Because that is just straight-up inanity. Inane, and cruel; tons of moms work because they don’t have any choice.

I’m just drawing a conclusion about my pal Alev, who hasn’t come within a 10-mile radius of a Botox needle in, oh, forever. She’s just relaxed and happy. And that reads youthful – even in blinding sunshine.

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