I Took The One Less Traveled By . . .

I think it’s wonderful, the way we mid-life women have learned to own and express our opinions. Even in the realm of fashion/style, we don’t want to be sheep and follow other people’s rules.

This Steve Jobs’ quote from a commencement speech in 2005 makes me so happy: “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

For many of us, this courage of conviction has come with age. I so admire the young bloggers who are confident and outspoken, and follow their own drummer. In my twenties I was a hard-working professional and no wallflower, but I was certainly a conformist. I was a “good girl” who followed The Rules and didn’t rock many boats, style or otherwise.

It was while reading the responses to my recent post about wardrobe essentials that this realization hit harder: we are not sheep, baby! So many of my over-40 readers commented that they liked the list just fine, but they don’t follow “lists” or “guidelines” strictly anymore. Hooray! Love that. Love you.

This confidence shows itself in many guises. Our internet service was recently blocked at work. I wrote the IT department and asked for access to be restored to my usual professional sites, but also to my blog, because it benefits me during my (unpaid) down time. I never would have asked such a thing 20 years ago – for fear of being “too unprofessional” or frivolous or just uncooperative. Now it felt right. And my blog access was restored.

What’s the worst that could happen if we express our opinions? We might get disagreed with, or even ridiculed or shunned. Disagreed with?  It’s the spice of life! And those latter two outcomes are 1) unlikely, and 2) non-fatal. When applied to fashion, the risks are truly negligible. (When applied to politics, they have gotten me shushed from the in-laws’ dining table on more than one occasion. But no one died.)

Thank you, fellow bloggers and readers, for sharing your opinions, for being proud of them, and for stepping onto the road less traveled. As Robert Frost wrote ” . . . and that has made all the difference.”

Header image Image by _Alicja_ from Pixabay

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  1. Recovering Good Girl here.  I still have a long way to go….. but I'm optimistic! 

    I tend to swing wildly between Very Nice and Very Snarky (only with my trusted inner circle).  I think blogging is helping me learn how to express an individual voice while still being kind and positive.  In the blog, I can cultivate some healthy irreverence — and a sense of the absurd — while trying to express my point of view without disrespecting others.  It's an interesting journey.  I expect many bloggers are on a similar path?

  2. Its funny you say that as in my 20's I was extremely like a wallflower and would hardly say boo to a goose but as I have gotten in my 30's that changed and I have become more outspoken (and some people have not liked it). Confidence definitely comes with age and whilst I would say I am still not mega confident I am a lot better than I was when I was younger. xx

  3. Great post. We have fought our way to this point in our lives. I know I was taught to be a good girl and not open my mouth unless spoken to. As a young woman, I was't allowed to take certain courses in school because those were reserved for boys only (like drafting.) We have come a long way baby and I know I am still learning every day. I still feel the "rules" about what we should and should not do as older women. I hope that I can eventually learn to be myself and have that be good enough. Thank you, Patti, for such a nice post and for being so supportive of us all.

  4. thanks for another thought provoking question. I supposed it's an asian thing to not express our opinions too much, perhaps it started from our classrooms where children are most of the time told to be quiet and listen to the teachers. And we are also not given much freedom of speech when it comes to politics. But I think things are slowly changing in the sense our newer generation are bolder in speaking their minds, I would subscribe to the notion of of speaking the right things at the right moment and with the right attitude. 


  5. Good for you! I don't know that I could be that brave to ask for permission to my blog. But I'm glad that you still have the access that you want! You are right, there is usually no reason not to take a chance, or ask for something you need.

  6. Great post! I have never been one to follow rules, which got me into a lot of trouble when I was younger.  I still get told that i am sassy and spunky, but that's ok with me. I don't like being a wallflower  🙂

    Good for you for having the confidence to ask to have your blog restored at work. It's great that you were able feel like it was something worth fighting for!


  7. Hi Patti, thanks for your nice comment on my blog. I was the good girl when i was young but had a big mouth, still have but careful now to whom i open my big mouth. I always had problems with rules and guidelines never really followed them, got me in trouble often, but i always stayed true to myself and this is what people like about me, what you get is what you see.  Ariane xxxxx

  8. I'm kind of the same way you were.. I don't like to rock the boat and avoid confrontation!! I'd like to think I still am able to be myself though 🙂 -Rachel (adistinctstyle.blogspot.com)

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