I went and had the strap on my watch changed yesterday. It was like magic. In less than a minute I had a brand new watch. Presto! For a fraction of the cost. Just a simple, little refresh was all it took, to make me love it all over again. So much so, all afternoon I kept glancing over, admiring it, as it lay wrapped around my left wrist.
But the real significance of yesterday’s experience was, it’s taught me that the change doesn’t always have to be as radical, or costly, as we may have originally thought. I love this watch. It works perfectly. I didn’t need a new one. That would have been a totally unnecessary and extravagant purchase. And in a few years’ time, I’ll wager I’d be just as bored with the new watch, as this old one. The new band did the trick!
And this, of course, has made me think of all the changes we can, sometimes should and, often do, make in our lives; in an effort to breath new life into our wardrobes, our homes, our careers, our relationships, our lives, and even ourselves. Both the changes, themselves, and how dramatic (or not) they need to be.
Ask any fashion editor or stylist and I’m sure they’ll agree. Most women who are considered to be well-dressed, don’t necessarily have tons of clothes. They have equal amounts of fabulous accessories, imagination, style and daring. Make an old skirt new again, by adding a spectacular belt. Last year’s dress is unrecognizable when you make an interesting pin the new focal point; or toss a new jacket, cardigan or shawl on top of it. Shorten an old mid-calf length coat to mid way between your hips and knees, and everyone will think you’ve just bought it.
Instead of buying a new wide-brimmed hat, that’s sure to be ‘in’ fashion one year and ‘out’ the next, borrow one of your husband’s fedoras. The same outfit, worn with stilettos once, then boots, and with flats and thick tights another time, will have everyone wondering how you can afford such an extensive wardrobe.
Bored with yourself? Maybe a new hair colour, or cut is all you need. Do you really need a face lift, or will new make up and a facial suffice? And there’s no pain involved — physical or financial.
Bored with your house? Selling and want it to fetch as much money as you can get? Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint, in a different colour. New carpet. Or just the addition of an inexpensive area rug, tossed on top of your existing carpet. When I was selling my house, the floor in the kitchen had a hairline crack in the tiles. I had bought it that way and never got around to replacing it. It wasn’t that noticeable and it never bothered me that much. And, I had other renovation priorities.
But when the time came to sell, it had to be done. Unfortunately, because of the cabinetry and a centre island, it was an extensive, expensive job. Everything had to be removed, including the tile floor. And, more than likely, at least some of the cabinetry and island would have been damaged beyond repair, in the process. More to replace.
Well, it took me several weeks but I found an amazing floor that could go down right on top of the existing tile floor. Nothing had to be removed. It was industrial flooring, which was a perfect compliment to my stainless steel counter tops and appliances. I had a really large, eat-in kitchen. The new floor, including labour, cost me considerably less than $1,000. In fact, I am sure it was less than $700.
When my house sold, the final price was very, very close to my asking price. The floor probably paid for itself more than twenty times over.
Many married couples renew their vows, maybe to reaffirm a commitment to each other, maybe for the sheer romance of it, maybe because they’ve come through some really rocky times. Whatever the reason, it can be a great way to revitalize a tired relationship. The economic downturn has forced most of us, I think, to take stock — of our lifestyles, our jobs, our chances of re-employment and our skills. Just how relevant are we now?
What can we change to assure ourselves of a decent future? Or should I say, a viable future? What must we change? What can we do to make ourselves new again? Fresh? Current? Desirable? Does it have to be as drastic (and terrifying) as a total kitchen make-over, or can it be as simple as a new watch band?
I can’t speak for you. But in my case I knew, long before the financial meltdown in 2008 changed everything, that working in advertising was not as enjoyable as it had been — at least not for me. Over the years I’d begun to see a decline in the quality of work; and in the relationships between clients and their agency partners. My problem was, I’d worked as an ad agency writer for so long, I was afraid that all I could write were ads, commercials, direct mail packages and the like. It took me a while to figure out that I didn’t suddenly have to walk away from who, and what I was, and try to learn a whole new skill.
I could still be a writer. But now, I could write anything. On any subject. For any need. For any industry. Or institution. Or publication. Or, or, or. From white papers to websites. From points of view to presentations. From articles to reports. From instruction manuals to screenplays. From brochures, to blogs, to books. And that’s when I decided to freelance.
Like my watch face, I’m still the same, old ‘me’. I’ve just wrapped up my talent and skill and re-packaged it. With a nice, new ribbon. And a great, big, shiny bow.