From Beige to Vibrant

I’ll use redecorating as a metaphor for life changes.

January 2020.  Covid-19 was emerging but still seemed so far away. Instead my family struggled with the failing health of our sister Patti. We were all with Patti at the end, held her hand, talked to her, supported each other in our grief.

Coping with grief can manifest itself in many strange ways.

For me, it was paint, because it was during this time that I realized that the colour beige had taken over our home. Beige is a safe colour. It doesn’t require any thought, or challenge, or decorating skill. Allegedly, it feels “warm” and it’s easy to coordinate with drapes and art, because you don’t stray too far on the colour spectrum when you have decorated in “earth tones” for forty years.

On that day, looking around my home, I realized that almost everything in my line of sight fell into the colour range of beige, including a worn-out sofa, side chair, cushions, drapes, carpet and walls. My grandmother’s home was beige.  My home was beige.   I thought I should do something about it, but what? Sigh.   

And then one day, the clouds parted and the sun shone and I received a sign as sure as any I would ever receive: I won $364 in a 50/50 draw at a local pub. It has been a long time since I painted, but I figured that should be enough to get started on our home renewal project (Reader- I was naïve). My partner Dave, ever supportive, agreed to start painting. I started throwing out furniture, donating household objects and art. Covid-19 restrictions meant shopping became an online preoccupation.

So far, we have spent about $7,500 on new paint, furniture, pictures, drapes and more. The beige is gone, replaced by colours that are bright, sunny and modern.  I will use that as a metaphor for our lives because change can happen at any age. Retirement doesn’t mean the best is past, it means you have time to look forward and choose a new path.

Take a chance. Make plans. Make changes. It’s easier than you think.

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