The last years of my working career was as an elementary school principal. I loved working with elementary children! I had also worked in middle and high schools and with gifted children. They all brought joy to my life.
One of the things that I learned as a beginning teacher was there was an official and unofficial dress code for each different level of employment. Teachers dressed like teachers. Denim jumpers. Khaki skirts. Turtlenecks. Cardigan sweaters. Corduroy slacks in winter. No blue jeans. No sneakers. Absolutely no flip flops.
If you earned a graduate degree and had thought about administration, your clothing began to change- to become a little more professional. When you became an assistant principal and then a principal, your clothing took a real turn to the more expensive side of clothing. Even though you stood a lot on concrete floors, your shoes really changed. I always had a pair of sneakers under my desk. I would change into them when loading busses in the afternoon. When winter came, I swapped the sneakers for pull on snow boots! During the regular day, I wore dress flats or dress shoes with small heels. My feet were nearly always unhappy. Sometimes I wore my sneakers during the school day. The staff would always tell me when they had sighted the “county bosses” so I could run back and change shoes.
When I retired, I spent almost a whole year learning to readjust my life from educator to retired person. This process caused me to also readjust my clothing. After 32 years, I had some clothes that just had bad karma. They reminded me of difficult times-times when I had to do distasteful things. Bad karma. I had this fabulous linen coat dress that I loved. It was RED. It had double buttons down the front and it looked great on me! I loved it! But at the same time, I had been wearing that dress when bad things happened. I couldn’t wear it anymore. I just couldn’t. So I folded it carefully and placed it in a donation bag for one of our local charities. Whew! Gone! I was relieved it was no longer in my closet.
There was also a black suit that I donated to charity. Our system had this big event coming and I knew I would have to go in a suit. Only a black one would be acceptable. It had to be tailored. The only place I could find one was at Talbot’s. It was not inexpensive. And I had to have heels and blouse. So I sucked it up and did what I knew I had to do. The day of the event the weather was miserable. Cold. Windy. Drizzling. Ugh. The ground I stood on was muddy from construction. An overcoat or raincoat was a no-no. After that day, I hated that suit. It fit perfectly. But I hated that suit. Bad karma. So what did I do? I donated it after I retired. I was happy that I no longer had to look at it in my closet.
It has been over eight years since the purge of my closet. Today I live in workout gear year round. I am a water fitness instructor and wear a swimsuit three mornings a week. That is glorious! I wear sneakers. I wear Chaco sandals. I wear running tights. I wear sweatshirts in the winter. I wear running shorts in the spring and summer. Nothing in my closet has bad karma anymore. Hooray. Yippee! Awesome!