It’s really nasty out today. Cool, rainy and sloppy and the dogs want no part of it. Going out will be a challenge for they are delicate and melt in the rain. In reality they are smelly beasts who are now spoiled past any resemblance to their wild canine origins. Yes, seven dogs is beyond ridiculous and add two cats and you have absurdity, but you do laugh a lot and that counts for something.
It’s about 60 degrees and I’m wearing flip-flops which is normal for Christmas in Southeast Texas. In fact, I should probably get a pedicure since I will want to wear my dressier flip-flops on Christmas Day. I often wonder what it would be like to have a Christmas with snow and wear warm winter clothes, including gloves, a scarf and hat – none of which I’ve ever had to wear all at the same time. You live out here and winter accessories are an afterthought, something you come back inside to grab because your ears are cold or because you just remembered that you have those winter items somewhere in your closet and they would look nice with your coat…and flip-flops. I believe flip-flops are a year round accessory and should not be dismissed as an all occasion shoe.
I wasn’t always so casual in dress and footwear. For years in my 20′s working downtown Houston, I wore the required office attire that included a dress or skirt, a full slip, pantyhose and high heels. That’s a lot of clothes in the scorching southern heat, especially when you have to walk four city blocks to get to your building, but I was young and I didn’t think anything about walking around in heels all day. That’s probably why my feet hurt so much now. Office casual is now the trendy thing, but sometimes I miss the more formal workwear, it seems more professional and elegant.
Working downtown in your 20′s is fun only because you don’t know any better. When I started working at age 18, I rode the bus since I couldn’t afford to pay for parking, but I look back now and remember sitting with my girlfriends laughing and talking or reading all the way home. We didn’t have cell phones so you were forced to just sit back and relax until your stop. On Fridays at lunch there was always something going on downtown, a concert in the park or in the lobby of one of the buildings so you’d take your sandwich and drink, and find a place to sit and enjoy the music for an hour. I remember at Christmas one of the banks always had a huge gingerbread house display and they served free wassail and gingerbread so my office friends and I would walk the few blocks outside or maybe through the tunnels underground to get there, along with all the other workers escaping from the work day routine. Things change, they always do. The bank that served wassail closed, the economy tightened up and the free concerts went away, but that was a good time, when expectations weren’t as grand and time moved a little slower. I’m glad I got to experience those things.
I heard a quote yesterday, “You either improve or you decline, you don’t stay the same.” I’ll be 49 this May, I’m in the autumn of my life, preparing for the coming winter over the next decade or so, and I’m both elated and afraid. I know there are losses coming, that’s what winter brings, but as with winter, it’s the natural order of things. Still, if I allow myself to dwell on it, I can’t breathe. I don’t want to be that person that is ruled by fear, barely breathing, just tipoeing through life. I want to embrace the season, run in the sloppy muddy rain with the dogs, cry when I have to and laugh when I can. I am finally here, I no longer care who sees or judges. I want to say at the end of my life, “I’m glad I got to experience those things.” I’m ready for the coming winter, I’ve got my gloves and flip flops ready and you never know, the rain might turn to snow.