Wisdom & Wardrobe

Life is like shopping for the perfect outfit.

We demand knowledge every second from the moment we make our debut into the world—begging to learn about life and what it all means. Think about it, we are constantly learning—sometimes forcefully—sometimes by accident. It never stops.

But what if life only stops once we have made it to our personal learning limit?

Maybe once we feel we did our best, we can return home so another cycle can begin. Maybe we get second, third, and fourth chances to gain all the knowledge in the world. Maybe we are all just looking for what we missed in the past lives we’ve held like running through the clearance rack for that one shirt that would complete our outfit. And like our best outfit, that one missing piece is hard to find!

Life is a lot like shopping. If life is the shopping experience, the lessons learned are the accessories.

We are constantly trying to show off what we have, what we know, and all we want is for someone to notice us.

We are born naked, completely void of knowledge or life lessons. We squirm around in a panic begging for something, anything. And what do we get? Swaddled with a nursing blanket and placed on our momma’s chest. We lay listening to her soothing heartbeat, the one we grew beside for nine months, and it puts us back at ease.

First life lesson: Mommy will always keep you safe.

Accessory: Blanket

Our childhood is about exploring the world around our crib. We hear things like “No!” or “Don’t touch!” We run and jump and do things we never thought possible, like ride a bike, climb a tree, or even jump from the top step of the staircase. We don’t understand why we are told “no,” so we continue, until it is way too late and we get a booboo.

Life lesson: Take baby steps.

Accessory: Shoes.

Something happens around puberty where we lose our shit! Our hormonal imbalance transforms us into anxious pre-teens with deep insecurities. Suddenly, joking around with the boys isn’t funny anymore and feelings get brutalized after a joke goes too far. Being a “friend” is hurtful when you want the person to “like you” like you. Underwear is upgraded from pampers to actual panties or briefs and bras. The expression is formed during these years: “Put your big girl/boy draws on and grow up!”

Life lesson: Don’t be so sensitive.

Accessory: Underwear.

We did it, we made it to our twenties. By now, we should’ve had at least ONE heartbreak. Our idiot selves are so clueless. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and wonder why we get them stolen and returned with bruises. We throw our money around like nothing and basically don’t give a shit about anything other than having fun. The concept of a bad investment and losing it all comes to mind. We lose our income to unnecessary wants and it feels like we are losing our shirts too.

Life lesson: Money can’t buy happiness.

Accessory: Shirt.

And just like that, our thirties have arrived. We still think we can chug that beer and bounce back the next day. We have real deal responsibilities now. Bills, perhaps a family, a steady job and did I mention BILLS? Everything is different, more serious and quite frankly, scary! We are more responsible now. Our silly spending habits have turned to strict savings plans. We’re adults now. Those bills that haunted our twenties will be paid. Our reckless ways have come to an end–it’s time to put on some pants and grow up.

Life lesson: Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Accessory: Pants.

Your forties are meant to celebrate successes. By this time, that uncomfortable feeling of being unsure should’ve evaporated and left a pretty self-aware individual. Relax, the worst is over. Now it’s time to enjoy all we have worked for. Take a vacation and soak up the sun. We’ve earned it!

Life lesson: Hard work and dedication pays off in the long run.

Accessory: Sunglasses.

By our fifties, we might start to feel like a change is needed. Maybe home life is stagnant, or work is redundant, either way we are about to go crazy! Forget the hormonal changes with women and the midlife crisis men go through, it’s more than that—it’s the simple fact that we have lived through enough decades to know that there must be more to life than the mundane work, home, eat, sleep routine. We’re starting to think about our childhood and our twenties. Understand that there is no “rule book” for life and we don’t have to feel stuck. The first change that usually takes place is with our hair: dye it, cut it, whichever, it will be a HUGE difference from the simple look we’ve had for years. SNIP-SNIP!

Life lesson: Change is often a good thing.

Accessory: Hairstyle.

Retirement is approaching my sixty-year-olds! Our children are grown, the house might be paid off, and our debt should be close to zero. It’s the first time we can actually exhale and not worry about anything. Sounds scary enough, but never you mind. This is a start to a beautiful chapter of self-awareness. Can we handle what life has to offer in its purest form? When we aren’t working, what will we do? Take up a fun hobby or explore the world! Ditch the doubt and buy a backpack.

Life lesson: Don’t be afraid to explore and discover new things.

Accessory: Backpack.

When we get to our seventies, things take a wicked turn. We’ve spent our lives helping others, taking care of our families, even helping some friends, and now it’s time for us to accept the help of others. The things we used to do with ease have been quite burdensome and we have to be willing to ask for assistance. And just like the outfit we have put together thus far, it may also need some help. The quickest way to doll up an outfit is to add some sparkle.

Life lesson: Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

Accessory: Jewelry.

The big eight-zero is a time for reflection. Yes, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves in the mirror. Don’t you always check to see if your outfit is on point? Finishing touches are what the outfit needs right now. We’ve learned many lessons but perhaps a few sweeps of some blush may brighten up the ensemble. Or perhaps get those nails manicured–it’s not just for women!

Life lesson: It’s never too late to learn a thing or two.

Accessory: Makeup.

Once again, our nineties are spent looking back at our past. What we did, what we didn’t get to do, and what we still want to do. By now, we shouldn’t have any regrets. If it didn’t happen, do it! If we made mistakes along the way, fix them! It is our responsibility to protect ourselves from disappointment. We must be ready for any consequences.

Life lesson: Hold yourself accountable for the choices you make.

Accessory: Jacket.

One hundred years of growth and wisdom. Our outfit is just about ready to show off. I left a very important life lesson to complete the ensemble. Time goes by whether or not we’re doing something. An hour feels like a minute and a decade feels like a day. Make sure to live in the moment. Don’t think about the time, that’s what clocks are for.

Life lesson: Live in the moment.

Accessory: Watch.

It’s okay if your outfit isn’t what you thought it would be. It’s okay if your pants don’t match your shirt.

Own the lessons you’ve learned thus far.

Flaunt the outfit you put together!