A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 53 birthday.
Life looks different on this side of fifty, I can’t deny that, and all of us over on this side know that there are lots of negatives to growing older. We could talk about hot flashes and achey knees, or about needing to have reading glasses in every room in the house, but I’d rather look for some good things about middle age. There are some…really…if you take the time to recognize them.
In fact, the other day, while cleaning out my clothes closet, I had an epiphany about this very thing. You may think this is a rather strange place for a self realization, but I often do my best thinking while organizing.😊
Anyway, what I realized is that the contents of my closet have begun to represent what I want out of life In my middle years.
Stay with me here.
There have always been clothes that have ended up in my closet for the wrong reasons. Maybe I bought it because I was under a deadline to find something and had to settle, or maybe there was a really great sale and I couldn’t pass up a bargain. There are things I own because I caved to the opinion of a fellow shopper even though I knew the item wasn’t quite me. I will also admit that my frugal (cheap) nature occasionally causes me to buy something less flattering, rather that pay for a more expensive version. What I’m getting at is that there is a lot of crap in my closet that I simply don’t like. I used to just hang on to it all thinking that someday it might become more appealing.
Not anymore. All those ruffled blouses that are so not me (I’m more of a jeans and tee shirt girl), are out the door as well as all those scratchy, uncomfortable clothes that I bought because they were in style at some point. There will be no high heels, or big colorful jewelry for me no matter how cute they look on other people.
I will no longer wear anything that doesn’t feel like me. You know what I mean. We all have clothes that we put on and instantly feel at home. Clothes that make you happy. Clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.
What does this have to do with life over fifty?
Simple. At this age I feel much more comfortable with who I am and what I like or dislike. I don’t care so much about fitting in now. My younger self was notorious for altering opinions and views just to maintain the status quo. I wasn’t secure enough to just be ME.
Basically, I’ve been trying to do the same thing in my life as I’ve done in my closet- just keeping the things that I really love and that represent who I am these days. Gone are the friends I never really had anything in common with. Enter all those people who make me feel like me and whose company I really enjoy. I want to do things that I actually enjoy doing and not stuff that I feel like I should be doing. I’m going to ask the questions, whether they sound silly or not and, I’m going to try new stuff whether I look silly or not. I’ve found that being embarrassed isn’t such a big deal anymore.
It’s a very liberating feeling- this streamed down life. Clean and clutter free.
Just like my closet.
Oh I think this is soooo important! No doubt you will impress upon others to insure their wardrobe reflects them. I’ve always been this way, with the exception of heels. Part of being a teacher, for me, meant that I’d get to wear the kind of things I liked. (A lot of long skirts and sweater sets, haha!) But even now, I still look like a teacher/mom most days. I gave up on the heels in my 30’s. Nothing more than wedges or kitten heels for me.
I occasionally try new people and new situations on, but like you, I prefer the tried and true 🙂
Great post, Nancy!
Thank you! I stick to “casual teacher” wardrobe since I have lunchroom duty everyday and can never be sure of what food items might head my way.😊
Haha, oh you poor dear 😛
What a wonderful analogy! And you are so right…the liberating joy in finally, finally coming into our own and both recognizing and claiming who we really are more than offsets the negatives of the aging process. Personally, I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have in my entire life. And I like it!
Me too! I knew you’d get it.😊
I absolutely love this post! And I agree….I’m turning 60 in May and my fifties have been liberating. Now I’m inspired to go through my closet and streamline it. Almost 2 yrs into retirement and I’m hanging on to pantsuits just because they were so hard to find given my 36 inch inseam. I’m never going to wear them. Thanks for the nudge! A great winter activity.
Yay for you! You and your closet will feel light and free!
Leggings girl, here, with a comfy big shirt! Sigh………..it just says “Hello comfort!” the moment I put them on! Oh, and I love Skecher’s Go Walk shoes. Very comfortable. As for getting older, and I’m only older by the number, (Certainly NOT by how I feel!) but what I love best about it is realizing I don’t have to be embarrassed when I do something clumsy, or say something silly. I’ve learned it’s far more fun to laugh at myself, and keep on smiling! Great post!
Exactly! I used to be sooooo worried about being embarrassed! Let me tell you, I have embarrassed myself more times than I can count and you are exactly right, it’s much more fun to laugh than cringe!
It’s even MORE fun when your kids are with you, and they not only are embarrassed by the goof up, but are even more embarrassed by their parent laughing! haha
Well, of course! That goes without saying! 😄
Enjoyed your post! I’ll be turning 55 in Feb – YAY! to Sr. discounts! LOL! 🙂 I desperately need to clean out my closet and get rid of the clutter in my life but I’ve been procrastinating… you inspire me to get my butt in gear! Thanks Nancy! 🙂
I’m glad I’ve been of help! And thanks for the reminder about the “senior discounts.” I forgot about that perk!🙂
I believe the appropriate current phrase to use here is “You go, girl!” I used to worry that Approaching-Fifty Me should not be wearing orange Converse sneakers and nerdy t-shirts but then I shrugged and thought “Who really cares?”
I am just about to tackle my wardrobe (having gone through the three boys’ last week). I’m looking forward to a satisfying purge. 🙂
Oooo! I love Converse sneakers! I’ve been thinking about getting a pair and you may have tipped me in the right direction. Happy purging!
Get them! I have four pairs (orange, pink, green and blue/purple check) and a pair of Vans. I love them. 🙂
Hmm, I’m liking the blue and purple check…
I just cleaned out closets a few weeks ago and like you I got rid of all the things that aren’t me. I was rather ashamed that there was so much crap I had hung onto for whatever reason. Nice post!
Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a closet full of crap! I looked at a few things and actually thought “What the heck was I thinking?!” 😳
Lol!! Or the hope that one day I may fit back in that pair of cute jeans that I wore back in the day and now won’t go past my knees!
Yep, got a few of those too! 😊
I think we experience a comfort level in our 50’s that comes with understanding both the parts of ourselves we love, as well as the parts we still need to work on. It is liberating, that’s for sure!
True. I understand my strengths and weaknesses much better.
Love this attitude….and you’re exactly right…it does get much easier once we stop worrying about anyone else and just start living for us!
Yes, it is. 😊
That’s the way to approach these years, feeling as free as you possibly can. Nice analogy.
Thank you very much!
I can soooooo relate Nancy! Just turned 53 12/31 – and cleaned out my closet too! Gave away TEN XL Hefty Bags to Goodwill! enough of all that nonesense! When my son asked how it felt to be 53….. I said GREAT! 53 is the age to be! He was shocked – expected me to complain, but he smiled and laughed and gave me a big thumbs up! Lovin it! Even with reading glasses in every room or on top of my head or the tip of my nose and hot flashes!!
Hey, we are practically twins! My birthday was the 19th! I agree. It’s a great age to be. I actually feel better now than I did through most of my 40s.
And I’m exactly, to the day, eight months older than you. 🙂