Alterations

Early American style displayed at the dressmaker's shop, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, November 2004

Early American style displayed at the dressmaker’s shop, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, November 2004

“Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.”  —  Faith Baldwin

I imagine most of you remember Scarlett O’Hara’s reinvention of her parlor curtains, as well as Carol Burnett’s hilarious parody of it.  I admired Scarlett’s ability to work with whatever she had, which often wasn’t very much.   In our era, when new clothing is relatively easy to obtain, we scarcely ever re-fit or repurpose garments, but time’s alterations continue unabated.

As Jeff and I have aged, I have reached the conclusion that no trait is more necessary for thriving in late life as the ability to adapt to change.  For some of us, change is exciting in certain situations, but the types of changes that go along with getting older are not all of the stimulating, desirable kind.  Research tells us that even positive change is stressful.  How to cope, then?

Perhaps Baldwin’s analogy is helpful.  Start with a lovely, flattering dress that has gone out of style, or no longer fits.  A clever seamstress can refashion the cut and details to accommodate the new circumstances, keeping the classic features of the original while adding touches here and there that disguise and decorate.  And a really talented seamstress can do this more than once with the same gown.  Maybe we can do something similar with our daily lives.

I’ve grudgingly made some adjustments to what I expect my body to do now.  I cannot tolerate the same amount of eating, exercise or excitement I relished when I was younger.  I’ve added some interesting details, though, that weren’t part of my life thirty years ago.  Focusing on the wealth of experiences, memories and relationships that have deepened over time keeps me from wallowing in regret over what now belongs to the past, or what never was.

Have you been busy with time’s alterations?  Have you a new lace collar, some eye-catching buttons or different hemline to share with us?  Give us some hints on re-inventing!  And enjoy your new look – on you it’s fabulous!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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