Top Five List of TREASURES for 2009

Organize Your Closet‘Tis the season for joys, toys, and noise, for buying and baking, for sending and re-gifting, for gorging and gulping.  

Over the next month, the cacophony of commercialism will be all but intolerable.  Whacky widgets, gabbing geckos, syrupy singers, butt-naked bimbos–not to mention those panoramic palettes of eye shadows and lipsticks pawned off as â”bonus gifts” from overstocked cosmetics companies–will assault us with ads day and night. 

To preserve my sanity this holiday season, I’m DARE-ING myself and other women over 40 who are wily and wizened, chastened but champions, to think differently about all this. 

MINE THE MERRY in the midst of the muck!  GROPE THE GIFTS–intangible and tangiblethat are right in front of your very own commercialism-bleary, recession-wracked eyes!  TREASURE YOUR TRIED AND TRUE, rather than treating it like so much trash.  REVEL in what you do have rather than revolt about what you don’t!   And, DARE to SHARE! 

Has there ever been a more appropriate time for women over 40 to appreciate the irony and insanity than this, the worst oppression-recession no one DARES to call the Irate Depression?    

Instead, I’ve decided not to look gift horses in the mouth.  Instead, I’m going to do what I’ve done every December for the three decades or so since I’ve become a responsible adult:  Look for the real TREASURES in my life and DARE to SHARE them with others. 

I’m starting below, with my Top Five List of TREASURES for 2009–each one includes a Go-DARE TREASURE suggestion for how YOU too can find and appreciate your TREASURE.  

Top Five List of TREASURES for 2009

  1. TREASURE your health and your loved ones–regardless of the Capitol mess.  Last January, I saw an astronomical number on my scale. I torpedoed myself to my computer, registered for Weight Watchers online, and vowed to â”lose 57 by 57”–reach my goal weight by my 57th birthday, June 19th.  I enlisted the help of my greatest TREASURE, my husband, who devised more healthful ways to serve luscious food than any blow-dried bobble-head on The Food Network could even imagine. (He lost ten pounds himself.)  By mid-June I had achieved my goal, was four dress sizes smaller, and felt better than I had in twenty years. 

    Go-DARE TREASURE for YOU:  For your health and a confidence boost that even a dozen â”free” mauve lipsticks can’t match, DARE yourself to set a deadline and get to a healthy weight.  You can do this!   For many women who succeed on Weight Watchers it’s about the support and camaraderie of weekly weigh-ins and classes.  But, if you’re like me, and time doesn’t allow for that (or you don’t relish all the â”sharing”), the charts and graphs online make it so much easier.  Check out www.weightwatchers.com, or any safe, reputable program that advocates a doctor-approved diet regimen combined with exercise.  Studies have shown that aerobic exercise also gets your brain going.  Chomp the apples, pump the treadmill, lose your gut, gain more mental stamina.  What better TREASURE?  

  2. TREASURE the current contents of your closet.  But if you don’t, DARE to SHARE.  Once I’d started to add smaller sizes to my closet, it wasn’t long before I had so much stuff that I needed not just another closet to store it all, but a Seeing Eye dog to find it, and then another life (or surrogate) to wear it all.   I needed a wardrobe exorcism. So, on a rainy Sunday afternoon I went in there and didn’t emerge until I had sorted, re-sorted, and culled from my TREASURES the things I no longer wear.  I donated clothing, shoes, handbags, coats, and even shoes.  This is not a sanctimonious gesture:  I TREASURE the fact that I no longer need those things and can make them someone else’s TREASURES.  So, yes, it’s a GIFT that’s both FOR me and from me.  

    Go-DARE TREASURE for and from YOU:   Go through your closet with a ruthless editing eye, or a ruthless but loving girlfriend (of any sexual persuasion).  Label three bins:  Keep /Alter, Toss/It’s No One’s Treasure, Girlfriend!, and Give It Away.  Whatever your reasons, there are hundreds of places online and onsite where you can donate or sell clothing you no longer want or need.  A few to try: Dress for Success and Bottomless Closet focus on suits for women; Goodwill shops and those affiliated with local churches are always looking for clothing.  You can also sell unwanted jewelry, especially gold jewelry.  (Shop around before you part with that gold bracelet from the guy you can’t believe you used to be in love with before you came to your senses.  You should get the best ROI for the time you put in.) 

  3. TREASURE the fact that now you can send ONLINE greetings of all kinds, occasions, sentiments, length, style, content, or medium â–and DO IT.  Rather than just inserting your name and â”Happy Holidays” on a quick e-greeting, take time to TREASURE and thank those individuals who helped you during the past year–whether their generosity was small or grand.   When I started thinking of all the people that came through for me this year, I realized I could be writing at least three such thank-you notes per day for the next month, and I would still have more to write.  But, it’s a TREASURE just to realize that I have so many people like that in my life, so that time will be well-spent–better than hair-pulling tirades at the mall.

    Go-DARE TREASURE for and from YOU:  It doesn’t matter how short or long your list of people to thank–in a year when the media covered thousands of stories about out-of-work baby-boomers, DARE to TREASURE and send a personalized thanks to the people who have helped you. If you’re one of the lucky ones, TREASURE the presence of the people in your life that help you realize just how fortunate you really are, reach out to help them.  

  4. TREASURE the fact that there are creative zanies out there who never tire of dreaming up new ways to spend until we can almost see the whites of our pockets.  DARE to say no to debt but make sure you seek out TREASURES that make your life a little easier this year and are worth the investment.  While we all might gape and gawk and lust for celebrity excess, reality doesn’t always have to bite!  So many innovative and relatively inexpensive products and services were created over the past year by companies in every industry, and so many of them with women over 40 in mind. 

    Go-DARE TREASURES for and from You: The practical geniuses who dream up pots and pans that allow us to make french fries without frying; food manufacturers who devise products that generate 30-minute meals that taste and look like they took days to prepare; tech wizards who are bringing us new iterations of products and services that make us stop and wonder, â”Why” before we say, â”Why not–I’ll take six!”   Also, TREASURE retailers who are depending on this holiday to compensate for a miserable year.  The price wars Target, Sears, Wal-Mart, and Amazon are fighting equal more TREASURES for you.

  5. The most important and valuable TREASURE for women over 40 is the proliferation of colleges and universities–both online and onsite–that welcome us as students.  More than ever, institutions of higher education are making it possible for women over 40 to share, experience, expand, and enhance our intellectual TREASURES, which we then can utilize in new jobs, new careers or other worthwhile endeavors.  Whether you’re in pursuit of a new hobby, passion, or profession, there are limitless choices for you to consider. 

    Go-DARE TREASURE for You:  Don’t wait to get stuck, bored, or downsized before you decide to enhance your current skills, finish your degree, enroll in a certificate program, or just take a course in gourmet cooking, wine appreciation, Shakespearean literature, or personal finance.  The greatest TREASURE you can mine once you’re over 40 is your beautiful mind, and the confidence it can provide you in these tough times. 

Next week: We DARE-Supply you with reasons why it’s so important to TREASURE, even in these, the toughest of times most women over 40 have ever experienced.  We’ll follow that with our list of favorite organizations to TREASURE, especially those started by women over 40, or that are currently run by women over 40.  And, by all means, DARE to SHARE with us your own list of who and what you TREASURE

Just please re-gift the coral eye-shadows and $2 photo-coasters of naked Levi Johnston to someone else.