Having a Capsule Wardrobe

It strikes me today that having too many clothes is a liability.

Your mental health suffers every morning when you stare at a bursting closet and lament: “I have nothing to wear!”

Seeing everything take up all that space in reality you subconsciously think: “I’ll never get my act together!”

Having a routine and prioritizing what’s important to focus on is imperative at mid-life.

After the arrival of the Uniqlo package over a year later I understood that it can cause distress to be overwhelmed by the act of choosing and using items in your wardrobe.

To wit I had written: “Where would I be able to stuff yet another sweater?”

Having a capsule wardrobe is the antidote.

Ever the radical that I am I created a genius plan that beats Marie Kondo at her own tidying up game.

The solution is to only buy clothes you truly love instead of schlepping home impulse buys.

When you do this you won’t have to stare at a bunch of clothes and ask yourself if you truly love each item enough to keep it.

Choosing and using only a core collection of wardrobe items saves your sanity at the front end.

So that you won’t have to engage in clutter control at the back end.

Elsewhere this concept is calling having a capsule wardrobe.

Most experts say this involves having and using about 30 items of clothing each season.

My goal is to replace the clothes I buy in the future with fewer items of better quality.

Really one hack for front-end clutter control is to know Your Self and determine your Style. (More about creating your own style here in the future.)

Then you’ll be saved from purchasing mistakes that only hang in your closet unworn.

Here I can tell you that limiting the amount of clothes you buy frees you up to spend more time on things you truly enjoy.

Some of us hate to shop–at least in actual stores.

Putting careful thought into the clothes you buy is a good habit.

I plan to go 2 years without buying another sweater, pair of pants, skirt, or dress. I’ll talk about this Fashion Challenge in a coming blog entry.

My goal is to do what experts advise: “shop in your own closet” to create new outfits every week.

It seems about right to have 30 to 33 items of clothing you rotate every season.

For the original source of the Capsule Wardrobe Makeover you can read about Project 333 here.

The Be More With Less blogger edited out her clothes to help herself better manage a medical condition.

I’m confident that this approach can S.O.S.–save our sanity every morning when we open the closet doors and ask:

“What do I have to wear?”

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Making Changes at Mid Life

Last week I used the last shred of dough to hire a Health Coach.

Her fee was customary and not at all exorbitant for health coach services.

The coach quickly figured out that I needed to change up my eating plan:

I’m to cut out carbohydrates like any kind of grains. I’m to buy full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of 0 fat yogurt. I’m to add protein and healthy fat to my breakfast and lunch meals.

Out, out will go the granola, and the pasta of any kind except only rarely as a treat (once a season as opposed to weekly.)

Eggs are perfectly fine to have for breakfast. I buy the organic eggs and scramble them with organic mushrooms, diced peppers, and broccoli.

At mid-life I buy and cook mostly organic food. It tastes better. It doesn’t have cancer-causing pesticides. It’s cheaper than paying medical costs when you become ill.

Alas, lifestyle choices are often the culprit in ill health at mid-life and beyond.

I’m lucky that as a young kid I always detested cigarette smoking so didn’t take up this awful habit.

In my Flourish blog I’ve talked about how the food we eat can impact our mood.

Emotional distress can cause physical fatigue too according to a doctor.

At 50 and beyond–even starting at 40 and younger–it pays dividends to make your health a priority.

Living in health and harmony can enable you to live longer if you ask me.

I also think that making conscious choices at mid-life is the way to go. Instead of acting or reacting on autopilot not aware of what you’re thinking doing or saying.

At 50 and beyond there can be a lot of stress. Some of us might be acting as our parent’s caregiver.

It can also be quite a shock when we realize we need to make changes to sustain our health as we get older.

In the Flourish blog is where I will continue to talk in detail about fitness and nutrition.

In here I would like to talk about practical lifestyle changes.

The coming blog entry will be devoted to managing your wardrobe better to ameliorate your health.

Who really needs 100 sweaters?

Viewing the World at 50

My newfound alarm at the hazardous conditions garment workers labor under has been part of a series of revelations I’ve come to post-50 years old.

Every week I log on to the Accidental Icon blog.

In one comment Lyn Slater wrote:

“Creativity can move one forward into doing what one really wants to do in life.”

Being resourceful. Veering off the beaten path. Deciding for your self how you want to live.

These things seem to have taken precedence in my life as I near another birthday.

When I turned 35 that was the start of realizing that living only for self-gain and making tons of money wasn’t such a great idea.

Fast-forward to 53: I don’t think anyone will get very far in life acting selfish and greedy and materialistic.

The point is that feeling good about ourselves and doing good is why we’re here on earth.

How old are you? If you’re not in your fifties yet what I’m writing will be a preview of the years to come.

At 53:

I’m done with the hate in the world.

I’m done with caring what people who sit in judgment of you think.

I’m done with fearing acting true to yourself because you worry people won’t approve of the Real You.

In your twenties and possibly going into your thirties you have different ideas about what’s important.

It’s later in life as the years roll along that I think:

Wasn’t it kind of entitled to be upset that your mother gave you a fluorescent green shirt as a Christmas present? (As recorded in my memoir.)

See what happens. You’ll turn 50 someday too. You hopefully won’t be the same person you were when you were 20. Or even when you were 40.

The famous boxer Muhammad Ali has a great quote I’ll end here with:

“A  man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Women: this applies to us too.

Hope and Healing

My agenda is to advance my vision of recovery, from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

I’m confident that it’s possible to recover from whatever disadvantage–an illness; a setback; whatever–that has derailed you.

My message of hope and healing is what people need to hear.

Every beautiful person living on earth has the right to be endowed with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Free from hate and oppression; free to be who they are without having to live in fear.

Here’s to us square pegs in round holes.

Here’s to the dreamers among us who envision a better life for ourselves and others.

What I really intend to do in this blog is to give form to the beauty of recovery in all its definitions and manifestations.

My version is Left of the Dial.

In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about this more.

Living for Today

I’ve figured out that becoming happier is possible when you commit to living for today.

What you want to achieve could be far off on the horizon.

Having gratitude for where you are in your life in the present moment is the antidote to the holiday blues.

Again it can be as simple as going to a clothing store and trying on items that fit and flatter. This can put you in a good mood.

It’s possible to be happy right here right now.

Regardless of what your bank account balance is. Regardless of whether you’re single or part of a couple. Regardless of whatever pain you’re in.

You can still be happy even when your life hasn’t gone the way you planned.

I’ve figured out that living life on life’s terms not my terms is the way to feel happy.

Doing this it won’t matter that life isn’t fair.

Life can be good living in recovery. You can have a better life post-breakdown than you had before the illness.

In the coming blog entry I want to spread more cheer.

Enjoying being yourself is the secret to having a good life.

I’ll talk more about how to become happier.

Sometimes you just have to slow down and pace yourself.

Today is the greatest day. It’s the only one we have.

Acting True to Yourself

I’ve learned a life lesson courtesy of having interacted with the jewelry vendor.

It’s a lesson I’m reminded of because on my job I deal with books and people every day.

The life lesson comes after years spent trying to conform by working in cubicles in corporate office jobs.

Mid-life is the time to get this schooling right once and for all. You won’t ever be happy trying to be someone you’re not.

This is a FACT in my book of life:

Taking joy in being who you are is the greatest gift you can give yourself. To be who you are when others don’t want you to be this person takes guts and grit. The glory of being you lasts a lifetime. To squander this gift is the greatest tragedy.

 

Talking About Mental Health With Others

I don’t like to talk about what happened. On an ordinary day I choose not to tell people. Only in my blogs, books, and public speaking engagements will I be open.

I’m trying to meet a love interest like a lot of women in America are. Even in this arena I don’t want to reveal too much information about anything, even about non-mental health things.

To empower readers I would like to talk about this:

When is the right time to tell your romantic partner about your mental health history?

I say: it’s after you’ve gotten them to swallow your bait and you’ve reeled them in on your fishing line.

The bait you should be dangling is who you are apart from your illness.

The first date or even only the fifth date is not the time to talk about any liability if you ask me.

If you agonize and obsess over whatever your mental health diagnosis is, constantly thinking about possible stigma and expecting stigma wherever you go, this might just become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s going to influence how you interact with other people.

My memoir Left of the Dial exposed the early mindset I had that I didn’t want to be viewed as “crazy.”

Yet discontinue your medication and get sick, and you’ll be farther away from attracting a romantic partner.

The reality is–to quote a shrink–“A guy will be impressed that you take medication because it shows you want to be healthy in the relationship.”

In my early fifties I decided I wanted to try for love. The diagnosis is off the table as a conversation starter.

First I might slip it in little-by-little by talking about how Kanye West has told people he has bipolar.  Then by talking about a real person in my life who has a mental health issue.

Send out the information like a canary in a coalmine. See if it kills the canary.

The point is people who lack compassion, who are going to get spooked because you have an MH thing, are really messed up themselves. They’re not so great candidates for living in love with.

When you do talk about what happened it’s OK to keep embarrassing details to yourself. Keep private of course the things you don’t want to tell others.

You can tell others the bare-bones if you’d like and only that. It’s your right to tell others only what you’re comfortable revealing.

My signature poem “What She Said” talks about how I’ll only give others parts of the story. It’s worth buying Left of the Dial to have on hand this poem that starts off the book.

Like it or not (it’s a fact), revealing your diagnosis is going to color and influence what another person thinks of you from that moment on.

It’s far better if you ask me that you tell your love interest when you’ve established a connection with them linked to who you are apart from the illness..

Lastly, I’ll give readers this counterpoint:

You have to realize that it can be a burden for another person to process what you’ve told them. This has nothing to do with stigma.

They should be told in a way that considers their needs too.

The person you want to get intimate with should be told at some point.

What to do if you’re rejected, if the person stops calling, if they ghost you or disappear?

Think of the good times you had up until then.

Remember the adage:

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Every experience you have in life with another person gives you the skills, abilities, and strength you need to succeed in the future.