My friends all wore small, shiny, strappy things and teetered glamorously in tall, shiny, strappy shoes. There were sexy blowouts and bejeweled clutches and complicated manicures.
I, meanwhile, had been living out of a carry-on for the last six weeks. I’d existed on a diet of black and grey stretchy things I could layer. I had exactly two accessories to choose from: a pom-pom-edged scarf from H&M or a giant leather belt I’d purchased from Salvation Army 8 years ago. I did not, perhaps, look the part of Painfully Hip Club Attendee.
If this club had been in my hometown of Minneapolis, I might have turned inside out with embarrassment about my non-outfit of maxi skirt + tank top. But in this one instance, I felt completely at ease, tucked between fashionistas in my tank top and stretchy maxi skirt. I felt 100% comfortable because I was essentially wearing pajamas.
I also felt 100% comfortable because I opted out.I took embarrassment, fashion shame, intimidation, and style envy completely off the table. Click To Tweet
If these gorgeous, stylish ladies were running a race, I wasn’t even wearing a number. I was in the parking lot next to the race track, eating Combos and listening to mid-90’s folk songs on my car stereo. I was across the road from the race track, gardening and thinking about how the frost would affect my tomato plants.
Now, I’m not always this zen. Not by a loooooong shot.
That temporary zen was born of the fact that I literally didn’t have any other outfit options. It was either a tank top + maxi skirt or grey jeans + a tank top. And I didn’t see any point to freaking out about my lackluster outfit when I could be drinking on a rooftop with women I only see once a year.
But I remembered that freeing feeling of opting out and started applying it to other areas of my life.
And I realized that there were plenty of things I could opt out of – things I could simply choose to not care about.
- Holiday gifts for just about everyone
- High heels
- Traditional ideas about how marriage and parenthood should look
- Christmas cards
- New cars
- Professional manicures (but I am all over pedicures)
Of course (of course!) I don’t care if other people love giving oodles of holiday gifts, sending Christmas cards, or driving a 2015 Camry.
If it brings you joy – do it! But these things don’t bring me joy, so I’m not doing ’em.
And if someone hassles me about my never-ending parade of ballet flats or my slightly rusty 2003 Ford Focus, I just shrug and say “Eh, it’s not really a priority for me.”
I’m opting out of the things that stifle me and (as cheesy as it sounds) opting into the life that feels right.
What are the things that you opt out of? Is there anything you’d like to opt out of but you can’t seem to extricate yourself? Tell us in the comments, maybe someone has some good advice!