I read somewhere that retail sales have been surging on lipstick, dresses, and shoes. I imagine this is because, following a year of mandatory masks and lockdowns, contrasted with vaccinations and lower infection numbers, the entire world has decided to reschedule weddings, parties, family reunions, and travel for the summer of 2021.

We had been invited to a dear friend’s son’s wedding nearly two years ago but due to the pandemic, this was going to be their third wedding date! Since the wedding was out of state, it required a plane ride, rental car and we decided to sleep in a vacation rental to be safer.  This way we could come early and leave a few days later.

It was so exciting to prepare for a wedding.  The bride and groom are adorable and they have been waiting so long for this. We were thrilled to celebrate this long-delayed special occasion.

Not a surprise, but the big issue was that nothing in our closets seemed to fit the same way.  Luckily we did a survey of our formal attire choices soon enough to realize that we would both need to purchase something new.  I can’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t purchases any clothes for so long.  

As a new retiree, I don’t need to shop for workwear anymore and I now have plenty of shorts and tops for the summer, along with my new golf outfits.  Not so with our formal wear.  My husband opted for an online shopping experience and he purged and replaced all of the older fancy clothes in his closet, a rare occasion.

I, on the other hand, asked a friend who is an amazing shopper to help me find something to wear to a “black-tie optional” formal wedding.  After so many months at home, to finally go on a shopping trip, have lunch and a car ride was a long-overdue treat. Even my least favorite thing, finding shoes, turned out to be a positive experience.

With masks coming off it has been wonderful to actually see big smiles and the lower half of people’s faces.  Lipstick was definitely on my shopping list too.  

Everything about the wedding was fantastic.  The weather in southern California on the coast was gorgeous, the venue a five-star experience, and the ceremony touching and beautiful.  At the reception following the ceremony, the meal, music, and dancing all combined for a memorable night. 

What struck me was how much we can take for granted.  Before the pandemic and my retirement, I’m not sure that I always just took a moment to truly appreciate the life I was experiencing.  I was busy and always in a hurry and tired.

1 year retirement journey with Barbara Mock

But post retirement I have had time.  For this wedding, I was able to notice a gorgeous bride’s smile, a beaming groom, and the tears in their parents’ eyes.  I saw the tiny flower girl walking with her beautiful mother, smelled the soft breeze, felt the sunshine on my face, and heard the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. The dream and vision of the bride and her family was now finally fulfilled by the hardworking musicians, florists, photographers, chef, bartenders, waitstaff and DJ. 

I’m so grateful for this time in my life and I feel privileged that for just a few days that I was finally free to put on some lipstick, a pretty dress, and a new pair of dancing shoes. Dancing with my sweetheart as the moon was rising is an experience I’ll never forget.

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