My daughter decided to put a monkey wrench in my plans by deciding against what we did last year; sharing my one big suitcase.  Instead, she managed to squeeze enough clothes for both she and her husband into one, small suitcase.  This left me with a dilemma.  Do I take the giant suitcase, even though I would only really use about half of it, or do I take the challenge and get everything into my small roll on with the matching tote?

I’m here to tell you that I rose to the challenge and got all of my clothes and assorted sundries into the suitcase, leaving the tote free for my shoes!  I even got a sweatshirt into the suitcase with all of the other clothes.  I must say, I’m quite proud of myself. 

Granted, my makeup, glasses, brush and contact lens paraphernalia still need to be fit in somewhere, along with a pair of dress shoes which have yet to be selected.  But I have ample room in the tote, some room left in my suitcase, and a carry on bag as well.  OK, so I pared things down to 1 pair of jeans, one pair of dress slacks and a pair of shorts for dancing this time.  I probably packed the same number of tops as the dancing will get sweaty.  I also limited the workout clothes to two shirts and one pair of shorts.  (and this time, because of our very well established routine, they’ll actually get used!)

What my daughter doesn’t understand yet, is that while she was trained by my brother-in-law who preached minimalism when taking the kids camping, I was trained by my mother who took everything but the kitchen sink!  I can’t help it!  I like to have choices!  At least I stuck to two color schemes, thus limiting the accessories and other assorted necessities. 

Even so, my girl friends will likely be more decked out than me.  I go for the simple cotton shirts which breathe and pack fairly well.  They tend to prefer dressing up, full makeup and matching jewels.  But as long as we are all comfortable with ourselves, what does it matter?  We plan on having a wonderful time, raising a little hell and dancing or butts off.  What could be better? 

Warning!  Topic Change!   
So I was sitting here, playing a game on my computer.  Suddenly, the sounds of a wolf howl were emitting from my speakers.  It startled me at first, but the real show was two of my cats.  They were sitting on the desk when the howling started, and, with ears laid back, were looking around trying to figure out where that darned wolf was, and whether they needed to flee before it got any closer! 
That was my giggle for the evening!

But back to the original discussion.  (I know, that was an awfully short detour!)  I have finally arrived at that point in my life where I dress to please myself without concern for what others might think.  (ok, except when it comes to wearing a bathing suit in public!  We all have our limits!)  My daughter figured it out much earlier in life.  She knows how to dress appropriately for various situations, and can really clean up well when she chooses, but when there isn’t any particular requirement, she opts for comfort rather than style.  She doesn’t allow the opinions of others to alter her opinion about what looks good and feels comfortable.  I give her a lot of credit, and have learned a great deal from her too. 

The real lesson I’ve learned, though, is to not only withhold any unkind comments about someone else’s choice of attire, but to halt even any unkind thoughts I might have.  Instead, I will remind myself that if the person feels good about themselves, who am I to judge, or tell them differently?  I certainly wouldn’t appreciate negative opinions about my choices, so the best thing to do is give as I wish to receive. 

In the process, I’m learning a new kind of respect for those who dress, act and carry themselves in ways which may not conform to popular opinion, but who also don’t give a damn what the rest of the world might think.  To all of them I say, “Stand up and be proud!  You’re setting a great example for the rest of us!”

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunities I receive to learn more lessons.
2. I am grateful that I was able to rise to the challenge and pack more lightly,.
3. I am grateful for girlfriends who just love me as I am.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to cut loose, be a little wild and laugh a lot.
5. I am grateful for the very diverse community to which I belong.

Love and light.

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