You never wanted to be a “little blue-haired lady,” did you? Yet here we are.
In a recent issue of More Magazine, which I love, editor Lesley Jane Seymour suggests we stop buying classics and branch out with some kind of flair. “That’s how we spotlight our uniqueness (as opposed to what we wanted to do in our twenties, which was to blend in.) Find a killer coat in an unusual print or color and wear it to death.”
When we get older, a new song begins to play in our heads, over and over again. It’s the “I’m not going to live forever” anthem.
It can make us go through our dresser drawers and closets and get mad about how we’ve missed out on all the fun of wearing our favorite things, because of public opinion. But if not now, when? Then we get a murderous light in our eyes. We hold the object up, shake it at the ceiling in a clenched fist, and shout:
I’m going to wear this and I don’t care WHAT they damn think.
You have something like that, don’t you? Something you love, but you’re never quite sure of wearing. Maybe a nice pair of shoes that would really only go well with a very nice pair of slacks, to a very nice event. You look at them, and sigh, and think, some day. Then you hear my voice in your head, saying ever so politely:
SCREW THAT! They’ll look fabulous with jeans!
Maybe you have a flashy jacket, or a sweater with little baubles sewn all over it. What are you waiting for?
Maybe you have a big red hat that feels just a bit pretentious. So you let your granddaughter wear it, for fun. But only around the house, because you don’t want it to get wrecked, or lose it.
Maybe you have a pair of earrings your sweetie bought for you on your late-in-life honeymoon cruise. You wore them on the ship, but then when you got home and realized they’re not really for every day. So you put them away.
And then, years later, you’re going through your stuff and remember that morning in Bora Bora, when the two of you ran through a tropical downpour, laughing at your umbrellas turning inside out, shaking off the drops in the doorway of the magical jewelry store near the boat docks, strategically placed to take advantage of the idiot tourists.
You’re looking at those earrings one day, and the anthem begins. Suddenly, you don’t give a shit that they look like giant black marbles on your ear lobes, you’re wearing them to the grocery store. Maybe with the hat.
Because at this age, we have learned the hard way that there is something way more important than what other people think.
It’s called mortality.