making the old new…

Today is the wedding day of one of my oldest friends.

It is also day 21 of my mission to de-clutter my wardrobe and eradicate my thread-bearing ways…

I am proud to announce to you all, my fashion-forward, couture-procuring followers; I have not bought a single piece of clothing in 21 days!

[confession: I actually bought a pair of socks from the supermarket; day 12. A bad day, I was needing a quick fix. I was suffering from extreme purchase withdrawal. It was a cheap thrill. I do not feel good about it]

Okay, we can move on from that now.

I have quite proudly managed to pull together an outfit for todays auspicious occasion, from my very own collection of pre-loved garb. I had a ball fluttering through my past ‘lovers’… In amongst the 3 or so hundred black shirts and thousand beige cardigans, I found a beautiful vintage dress that I have only worn once. Hallelujah!  It is perfect. It fits me like a glove. I still like it and It was there under my nose the whole time!

It has got me thinking. All of this consumerism seems to be clouding  our view of  the things that we truly love. The objects in our life that we cherish are being neglected through our attraction to the ‘new‘, the ‘better’, the ‘more advanced‘. A lot of the time those things are just the same thing we already have in our possession, but repackaged, in a new way.

We grow. It’s what humans do. We grow, not only physically, but spiritually, and emotionally. It is natural for our needs to change as we grow, and for us to want our possessions to reflect those ever-changing needs. But lest we forget, one of the benefits of growing emotionally and spiritually, is to be able to see things differently. This may mean that some of the possessions we have held on to may actually have ‘grown’ with us. And may , in fact, look more attractive through our new eyes. If only we would stop and look at them every once in a while, instead of feasting our hungry eyes on the new all the time.

I have good friends. I have old friends. I have friends that work for me. They will always be there. As sure as I know that the clothes that I own will be in my wardrobe; my good friends will be in my life, hanging around, looking pretty.  However, my desire for procuring new things has also had me meeting new people, all throughout my life. Tapping into new minds, searching for new connections. This keeps me alive, and creative and happy. It helps me explore pockets of myself that I may not know are there. It allows me to keep experiencing raw emotions, like a child. To fall in love again, with myself. To view myself from different angles. To ‘repackage‘ my life.

I don’t see anything wrong with this. New people always carry the prospect of becoming an old friend, one day. What I am doing wrong, in the same way I am with my clothes, is investing too much in the new. And, sadly, with this, neglecting the old.

Remember for a second if you will, one of life’s helicopter moments. You are spinning far into the hemisphere. Not only have you lost your footing, but you have momentarily lost the ground completely. You are having an existential crisis. You suddenly feel like the entire world you have sewn around yourself has begun to fray. You start to focus on the little holes, and loose threads. You just want to pull it apart and cry over the sad pile of tangled yarn.

Instinctively, before yanking at that last piece of wayward-weave, you phone an old friend . A childish whinge and a blurry-eyed explanation of your un-mendable mess pours out with ease…before you know it your cry tumbles into laughter. Old Friend bluntly but sympathetically (not unlike a good GP giving you tetanus a shot) reminds you that ‘you always do this’. Those four words coming from an old friend are an antidote you can’t buy. Because they know. They know you. They don’t need to give you advice, because they know you know. Old Friend just has to remind you, that you know how to deal with this. This is where the investment pays off.

I have a feeling none of this need be told to anyone that has ever nurtured a friendship for years. It is basic. But  just like most basic grammar and mathematics, it is easy to forget that you know.

So as I throw on my ‘old’ vintage dress, buckle up my patent leather shoes that were leant to me by an old friend, and set off to watch another old friend make her vows to nurture her new love.  Why don’t you go and sew that button on to your old shirt. Slip it on, I bet it fits, and I bet it makes you feel amazing.

You know what I mean.