Freedom To Be Myself

An elderly man walked past me. He wore a red, white, and blue button-up shirt, resembling the American flag.

“Nice shirt!” I said. “You’re ready to celebrate the Fourth of July!”

 That’s not the first time I’ve complimented a senior citizen on his appearance. Living near a retirement community, I’ve seen the freedom that comes with age.

Men grow a white ponytail. Women stop dying their roots. Fingernail polish gets redder. Their clothes have more color, more bling.

I envy them.

These retirees aren’t eccentric. They’re finally old enough (if I may stereotype) to not worry about other people’s opinions. They own the freedom to be themselves.

We talk about individualism in America, but magazines and television shows spend millions of dollars, telling me what to wear and how to decorate my home.

Does the Marketing Industry Define Me?

Peer pressure first surfaced when I was nine years old. If I wanted to be “cool” like my female classmates, I had to own white Go-Go Boots.

Even now, the fashion industry dictates the length of my skirt. Every year styles change so I’m always at their mercy. Do I tuck in my shirt? Is my blazer supposed to be shorter or longer than my blouse? Am I wearing Stiletto or wedge high heels?

Our first “cool” home had yellow shag carpet and olive green kitchen appliances. Six years later, my kitchen had country blue wallpaper with geese. We moved often, so each time I decorated according to the trend.

However, I’ve lived in this house thirteen years. At some point, without my knowledge, someone decided the valances on my window are passé.

Excuse me, I like valances.

And I want the freedom to be me.

So here’s my secret for those, regardless of age, who fret about fashion and home décor.

When my nose is in the Bible, my eyes on Christ, I’m less self-conscious or insecure.

My focus shifts from the valances to the people in my life.

I’d rather phone a friend and listen to her heart than hear someone tell me I NEED the latest gadget.

 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.” (Col 3:2)

So this Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving for that matter, I might wear a red, white, and blue button-up shirt, resembling the American flag.

I just have one question.

Should I tuck in my shirt?

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

10 thoughts on “Freedom To Be Myself”

  1. Love this post, Karen. Funny and great message. I remember those gogo boots. My mom had a black pair with a red plaid skirt and some sort of top that matched and we kids thought it was so cool. I’m just about old enough to die part of my hair purple – maybe in a few more years! The nice thing about past 50 is that you only have to look good “for your age.” And it’s a lot easier to look good for a 50+ person than it is for a 20+ person! I would love to help young girls not worry about how they look, though, and see themselves as God sees them.

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    1. Sorry you weren’t old enough to own your own pair. HA Yes, it’d be nice if young women would not fret about their appearance, but I was the same way at that age. Who am I kidding…I’m still that way which is why I’m still dying my roots. 🙂

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  2. This is what I needed at 5 am. It said just the right sentence to me at the right time. Thank you, deeply.
    xo mary

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    1. AWESOME! I love how the good Lord uses something in my life to speak to someone else? I don’t know why it spoke to you, but for anyone reading this, I hope you’re not fretting about having company. Tidy up the house. Put out the welcome mat. Give them a cool drink on a hot day. And shower them with love! .

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