Whimsy for Today

Becky Kueker

I had a bad fall recently—shopping at a furniture store when a young man pushed past me, and I fell backwards over a bench and went splat on the floor. Not funny of course, but the actions after the fact made me pause to think about how we have to take adversity and laugh at what happens to us.

As my husband and the salesperson hauled me up off the floor I heard a young couple say, “Did you see what happened to that old lady?” I stood up and looked around to see who they were talking about, and it took a minute to figure out it was me. I was the “old lady.” Seriously, I had my adorable shorts on that actually fit and a brand-new top with rhinestones and matching face mask from Cinderella Sea. Who were they calling an old lady?

When you get dressed in the morning, I believe you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. As I sort through my closet full of clothes that I have not worn in six months, I am now thinking, “You are not too old and it’s not too late!” Coco Chanel said, “You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40 but you can be irresistible for the rest of your life!” Style is very personal; it has nothing to do with fashion. So why don’t we strive to be irresistible at any age, even during a pandemic?

I have to admit, during the shutdown I have taken to wearing what my husband fondly describes as my “bag lady clothes.” Before I became thoroughly indignant, I was at the moment pulling on my five-year-old stretch shorts and a t-shirt I should have thrown out 20 years ago that is two sizes too big for me. I must admit I probably have worn pretty much the same five things for the last four months, and they all stretch. This “relax what you are wearing” thing has also given me pause to wonder why I ever wore a bra in the first place, really strange times indeed.

I never dreamed one day I would be a cranky old lady, but as my husband can affirm, I have been sad, lonely, frustrated, and angry and fed up with what is happening in our world. Some days I just feel defeated. My mantra now, nothing a bright red lipstick cannot cure, because looking good is also feeling good. So, this past month when I go out I dress better. I am now looking forward to social things outside that are a step up from lying around during the day in sweatpants with no bra, avoiding mirrors.

Life as we know it is too short to be serious all the time. As an author, I have learned when something goes wrong in my life I just say “plot twist” and move on. To dwell on the negative takes way too much energy. Some days are just going to be rough, but each morning I wear my “be positive smile.” It may not solve all my issues, but it certainly will annoy enough people to make it worthwhile!

After retiring from a career as senior partner in a commercial architectural and interior design firm, Becky published a memoir on life after retirement, Hiding in My Pajamas that launched a national speaking career. Her second book, A Classic in Clown Shoes was published in May 2019. Both books are filled with deep, funny, intimate discussions and poignant stories from women and men who have proven that aging does not have to define you, and laughter changes everything.