Last year, a man asked me, "Why don’t you take showers every day?"
I answered, "If I don't have to go out in public, why should I bother?"
(Remember that retired people are home more often than the typical working person. This is something you get to look forward to. 😊)
The man nodded thoughtfully, and replied, "So you let yourself go."
"Sure," I said, glad I was in a position to make this super important daily decision.
In retrospect, I should not have been so pleased, perhaps.
What does that mean, exactly: to let one's self go? Go where? Go when? With whom? Is this like being a teenager where you have to check in with someone more mature than yourself? (See last week's post, 23 Sept 2019, Second Adolescence.)
I'm pretty sure it's not about going anywhere. In fact, it's about going nowhere: not going to work, not going to church, not going to doctor appointments. Technically, as retired people, we are letting ourselves not go.
Therefore, if we don't have to go anywhere, we get the choice of showering, wearing clothes from the day before, heck, even wearing clothes!
Besides confusion about what "letting myself go" actually means, for me there is also a gender bias that is uncomfortable. It is usually women who 'let themselves go', rarely men. Can you imagine? "He's just let himself go. He doesn't shave, or shower, and he eats Spam all day." Heavy sigh. "I'm so envious."
See? It just doesn't have the ring as saying such a thing about women. RANT ALERT: With women, the implication is that we aren't trying to impress the world-at-large anymore. We no longer wear make-up, or skirts, or deodorant. If we don't do so, then we will not be attractive. Therefore, what use are we to a male dominant society that wants all females to be eligible for breeding? END RANT.
Maybe that sounds outlandish, but for me, all that make-up, dress suits and perfect grooming was tiresome. Whatever the reason for it, as a woman who is now at home most days, I feel relieved.
I have been relieved of duty, relieved of the duty of meeting outside expectations of my appearance.
So I am letting myself go, not because I have abandoned social norms, but because I am freeing myself of them. I'm letting myself go, letting go to be myself.
This week, try letting yourself go, just a tiny bit. You might feel better for it!