I am in the midst of a giant Covid high colonic. I waited two years to give my closets and drawers a deep cleanse. It was a long wait, but I didn’t know how I would actually look and feel after this era of limbo and anxiety. As it is, I kind of lost my identity, and so has everybody else. It was time!
As many stores kept closing, I kept clinging to what I had, figuring I would need it all “on the other side.” What “other side?” Now I don’t care anymore and was ready to unload it all. Letting go is easy but be wary of the urge to go out and mindlessly shop. That pre-Covid condition feels over. REALLY OVER!
Shopping used to be a high-octane sport and diversion and a celebration. After all, I had places to go and people to see. Now I am two years older (two years now feels like a long time). The landscape is totally different, and I haven’t had an “occasion” or a celebration or much of anything to get dressed for. Not that becoming a sweat suited slob is the new reality, but where’s the joy to “get decked?” FOGO (fear of going out) is now my accepted lifestyle, except I wouldn’t say “fear” anymore — I say “careful.” COGO. Either way, it doesn’t make me want to “dress up” let alone “go shopping” the way I used to.
I just read where fashion maven Iris Apfel just turned 100 and is still going strong with her creed of “more is more and less is a bore.” It has served her well. She should keep piling all those necklaces and jackets on and continue to wear it all. Many fashionistas followed her idea. So did a lot of drag queens of late — making their overstated visual popular.
Recently, head Gucci designer Alessandro Michele spoke about his obsession of acquiring objects. “I don’t know why, but there is a way to think that objects are stupid things that you don’t need, you can live without, or blah, blah. I’m obsessed with all things jewelry and fabric. I love it all. I mean acquiring is a way to enjoy the life you are living.”
Living? I suddenly feel like I’m drowning in all of it. So last week I purged my closets and drawers. I set up all my jewelry on a dining room table (none of this would be The RealReal acceptable — remember resale is tough now) and opened my front door to anyone who would take it at no charge (my gift back to the universe). I pleaded with my landscape team, as well as the FedEx and Amazon drivers to come one, come all.
No one wanted any of it. I could have felt insulted that my collection of “treasures” was so callously rejected. But instead, after a week I bagged it all up and took it to Goodwill praying they would take it — they did! It was hard to accept that all my “somethings” were now worth “nothing.” But I am living with that realization about everything lately. So now my closets and drawers are BARE. I like the look of Zen emptiness. And I don’t feel the call to “restock” … yet!
As popular New York Raconteur George Hahn believes, “Ours is a culture obsessed with more. The pitch is that more clothes, more rooms, more closet space, more cars, more gadgets, more money, more food, more growth will make you better or happier. We are trained to fix our discontent, our dis-ease or even our sadness by acquiring. In the immediate wake of September 11th, George W. Bush literally told us to “go shopping.” Sure, the ostensible message was that we had to keep our economy going. But there was an underlying notion that shopping would help us heal. When the going gets tough, the tough buy stuff …. After sitting still, exercising restraint and “underindulging” (a word that doesn’t exist, go figure), we’re only left with ourselves — a prospect that seems too uncomfortable, difficult and depressing for many. That, in itself, is depressing.”
Yet … that is what this two-year period has made many of us experience. What do we honestly need with this relentless grab for handbags, watches, shoes, and the constant luxury upscaling. Obviously, we all need to learn from this new leaner (meaner?) way of living. Otherwise, have we lost out on an opportunity to grow and improve in this time of suffering and loss?
Personally, I have decided to pivot from clothes to home improvement. I’m sick of the turnaround of wearing things for a season and tossing. I am too old for that anyway! My 34-year-old house needs “serious attention” (and I’m not talking about the “fashion” of just interior decorating). I decided to give it the structural “facelift” I should probably get for myself. But with my house, it feels more purposeful. Home improvement is all about “function” that should last unlike a closet full of unworn whims. I feel on target since Covid has taught all of us the importance of “home is where the heart is.” So, I am paying attention!
But be aware, if you are not already dumping your belongings the supply chain is soon going to dump you! Dozens of cargo ships are anchored off the coasts of LA and NYC facing long wait times due to lack of manpower to unload the goods. Railroads and trucking routes are hopelessly clogged. Target has announced its one and only giant holiday shipment for sure on Oct 10th. After that, they can’t guarantee how much stock will be on the shelves.
Halloween was sold out last week. Forget Valentine’s Day. My local small stores are already sweating out Xmas — their big dollar sales season. Their shelves are already empty. No candles, no puffer vests. So watch out for your Peloton order and all those leggings from Vietnam — much less toys and cars and furniture.
The world supply crisis is telling us all to “cut down and get real.” Maybe the best Xmas gift for some will be the new Covid Merck pill or the latest neon pink MDMA capsule — a mere $40 a pop to heal your PTSD with this popular hallucinogen. But forget Xmas cards since the Post Office already announced its slow down with stamps going up.
Face it, supply chains now rule. So when stagnation and inflation come to a neighborhood near you, you will start to feel your own “expiration date” closing. Start editing!
And what about travel? many are still booking holiday get-aways, but others are cutting back to experience less but more “meaningful” excursions. Airlines have already announced fuel rate raises and plane shortages (i.e. higher ticket prices). Is there still a reason to have the frequent flyer program? Travel bingers who used exotic trips to escape their unhappy lives at home may have to settle for a few local day trips nearby or enjoy a neighborhood block party. How about finding enjoyment in your everyday life?
Meanwhile travelers need to stop expecting hotels to be cheaper and cleaner and less crowded. Currently many hotels, restaurants, and other customer-facing businesses are sick of the increasing occurrences of guest rudeness amid a pandemic staff and supply shortage. “Be nice and leave” is the latest wave of signs posted outside of many hospitality businesses. Who can blame them? Rage has been on the rise for months.
Even private jets are having trouble as more people are turning to them as a last-minute desperate alternative. But private jets have gone ballistic with astronomical rates and excessive wait times. They don’t have the planes and the sanitation crews have been cut in half, so those quick turn arounds are now flying petri dishes. The rich wouldn’t even fly their golden doodles alone in all that (but they still do!)
The truth about all this Covid cutback is that some of life will have to be discontinued to be re-invented in a better, more efficient way (forget Washington DC on this matter). Look at Judge Judy (my mom’s personal heroine to the end of her life) who recently ended her reign as daytime TV queen (beating Oprah) for 25 years. She admitted she “wasn’t teary and didn’t feel emotional … I felt gratitude that I had completed that part of my journey and had done it respectably. It was just the end of the job. I cleaned the bathroom — the bathroom is sparkling.”
And she’s now onto streaming another show called “Judy Justice.” I was hoping she would do a Home Improvement show.
First episode: “Sparkling Toilets.”