I have some nice jewelry – not diamonds or gold – mostly unique silver pieces from when we lived in Egypt and silver, turquoise, coral and sugilite from the American southwest. I viewed them as wear-to-work or out-for-dinner, and I’m not doing much of either these days. My retirement wardrobe is functional and not particularly stylish.
For some reason, I worry about what happens to our stuff when we die. We have wills and all that, but there’s this weird dark side of me that considered selling everything little by little, so that by the time we die, all the good stuff will be gone. My dad used to sell our toys if we took a bathroom break, so I’m thinking this may be another oddity from the gene pool.
So, yes, I thought about selling my jewelry, among other household items, but silver isn’t all that valuable and I don’t really want to part with the stones. As they say, you can’t take it with you. I’ve decided to start wearing it, possibly even adopting the look of a crazy lady who wears all her jewelry at once. By the way, this does align with my vision of pretending I am a Bohemian heiress who spends her later years dabbling in what amuses her.
I’ve always leaned minimalist, and it was not hard to follow Coco Chanel’s advice about removing one piece before you leave the house. Why not add one piece before leaving the house? Or two? I’ve also decided items I reserved for special occasions can now come out to play. Kind of like using your good china, because it’s just sitting there otherwise.
My silver concho belt with a rash guard and denim shorts? Birkenstocks? Why not? I shined up the belt and wore it to the grocery store. We were walking down the aisle, and Dale said, “That belt looks beautiful.” Wow, so that was worth it, right?
The bad news is I need to polish up the rest of my silver, but I’m excited about wearing some pieces that have been tucked away for quite a while. And wondering how I am going to mix it up … unusual combinations I hadn’t previously considered.
I’m also thinking about new ways to wear some of the work clothes I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of. And, oh, those cowboy boots from Texas.
If we do it right, retirement can be all about freedom. Maybe with aging, we lose the fear of being judged. Wear what you want, think what you want, say what you want, do what you want.
Just live your life. Wear the jewelry, use the good china.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.