Jeans

24 days to 50.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Vitamix.

Plus I did a few juice cleanses in the last 2 months (hence the rather impulsive Vitamix purchase). Plus I work out A LOT. I lost some weight. No, it hasn’t solved all my problems (yet) and I’m really not where I need to be (yet) but… I was searching in a drawer for a pair of pants this morning and saw my jeans. I pulled out a random pair and bit my lip, arguing with myself- “Should I try them on?” “Will I be devastated if they don’t fit?” “Isn’t it too hot out today for jeans anyway?” I am working on becoming more myself. Taking risks. So I pulled them out, determined they fit well enough and wore them to work.  I could not have anticipated what would happen because of these JEANS.

jeans

People were beside themselves all day, they could not tell me enough how they loved my JEANS. People were running across the room to tell me things like-

You look so different and casual in those JEANS.

I almost didn’t recognize you in those JEANS.

You should wear JEANS more often.

It seems like YEARS since I’ve seen you in JEANS.

Here’s the thing- I haven’t worn jeans in probably a year. I got tired of being disappointed when I tried them on so they are all in the bottoms of my drawers under things I actually wear. Like most women, I have jeans of different sizes. But they all look the same so it can be difficult to differentiate which jeans are the “big” “comfortable” jeans and which jeans are the I-feel-skinny-today jeans. Plus the size doesn’t really mean anything since I’ve had them all tailored and every label fits differently. So I just stopped wearing them. It was a bit of a fluke that I even came across them to wear them today.

The real issue, however- aside from the fact that everyone I come into contact with has an opinion about what type of pants I wear each day- is that I probably own 20 pairs of jeans. I’m embarrassed to admit that. When I was in high school I had ONE pair of jeans and I would save them to wear on Fridays with a special t-shirt that had hundreds of the word “ladybug” assembled to make a larger graphic of a ladybug. I loved that outfit. It was my special Friday outfit. Those jeans were important to me.

Now I am so rich with jeans that I’m not at all sure how many pairs I actually own. These are not Plain Pocket Jeans from JC Penney, they are all hipster friendly hand distressed designer jeans. Obviously all of which really mean nothing to me since I haven’t worn most of them in 3 or 4 years. (OK- maybe even longer) Yet they are in my house, taking up precious room in my closets and drawers.

When I move I will have to look at each and every pair and contemplate what to do with them. “Hmmm- these might fit me again one day.” Or conversely, “I really should keep these “big” “comfortable” jeans (AKA fat jeans) in case I gain any weight back.” I guess I’ve wanted to be prepared with the appropriate pair of jeans for any scenario.

What does that say about my life and my current situation of moving with freight train speed towards my 50th birthday? Shouldn’t I have been able to get it together by now in this one situation? The JEAN situation? Shouldn’t I have 2 perfect pairs of jeans on pant hangers in my closet? One darker wash for evening and one lighter wash for more casual situations? I mean really, why would any woman need more than 2 pairs of jeans?

JEANS are a small microcosm of a much larger problem. A borderline hoarding problem. An I need to be prepared for any event at any time with exactly the right dress/coat/shoe/oblong scarf problem.

I heard Carolyn Myss speak a few years ago at a friend’s graduation ceremony and she used the phrase “stuffologist”. As in- My friend, the stuffologist… Stuffologist. A person who studies stuff. A person obsessed with stuff. A person who worships stuff. A person who thinks that getting more and more stuff will solve problems or make them happier. I thought a lot about this term the last time we were in Africa. In the areas we went to in rural Africa they don’t have any stuff. They are lucky to have a toothbrush or a pen. I decided then that I would try to come back and work towards becoming a recovered stuffologist. I did come back and make some progress. I cleaned out my garage, went through my closets and took a lot of bags of stuff to Goodwill.

But I see today that that wasn’t enough. I don’t need 20 pairs of jeans. As hard as it is to go though all the things I have acquired it is important to let some things go. I may not get to that ideal place where I have 2 and only 2 pairs of freshly cleaned pristine jeans in my closet, but I can start the work to get there.

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