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Lessons learned from lifestyle changes

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
For those who don't already know, the onset of health problems just a few years ago, left me unable to work. My brain is still catching up to this reality, and moving to a disabled/retired lifestyle without any prior planning, throws up all manner of unexpected revelations.

I'm just discovering how much it changes the approach to the wardrobe.

Some things were obviously expected. The steel toes and workwear trousers have gone. Sportswear and cycling gear isn't required. The need to wear anything formal is fairly remote. Other things are proving less intuitive.

I started a thread a while back about where we start when choosing an outfit to wear. For me, it was always the shirt, or at least the more prominent upper body garment. I've just had to overhaul the wardrobe due to weight gain from being inactive, and my shopping followed the same logic.

Choose the shirts/tops I want
Choose appropriate legwear for those shirts
Ensure suitable shoes for the trousers

Simple. Or so I thought. I had recognised the impact of not working, but not fully recognised the impact of not driving. If I need to get anywhere, there's usually walking involved. A fair amount too. Shops are a mile or more away, and so is the doctor's, and the railway station. The hospital is somewhat further, and this area is very hilly too.

I went to my first "event" in my new clothes a couple of days ago. I should add that I was still adjusting to the new lifestyle, and living in the pre-disability clothes before. Then Covid hit. Hence lifestyle revelations being slow to appear. So anyway - new wardrobe - and a meal out with family, which involved a mile to the station, two forms of public transport, and another mile (which thankfully I had a lift for) at the other end of the journey. Obviously, same again on the return trip. Well, I certainly looked the part in cords, deck shoes, and smart short sleeve shirt, but my feet were killing me when I got home.

Suddenly, I realised I got it all wrong. It's no longer "what am I doing today?", but "how am I getting where I need to be?". Everything starts with the feet now when choosing an outfit, not the shirt. I have "event" shoes (brogues and derbies), but they're only any use if I'm travelling everywhere by car (taxi or lift). There's deck shoes, loafers, and sandals for short jaunts and nipping to the local shop for bread and milk. Then there's the hiking boots and trainers for clocking up the miles with on the days when stuff needs doing.

Before: Choose shirt > choose trousers > choose shoes
Now: Choose shoes > choose trousers > choose shirt

So now, I'm going back through the newly assembled wardrobe, seeing if everything still works. For example, I've just ordered some walking shoes, which will (hopefully) look more presentable with smart cords than either my hiking boots or trainers, yet still let me stagger as far as I need to with my walking stick, without doing my feet or knees a mischief in the process. Not entirely how I'd want to be dressed when out for a meal, but some compromise is required.

I'm also revisiting jackets/outerwear the same way too. Pocket vs bags, headwear and waterproofing (I can't use a brolly) also factor in. Essentially, I'm having to shift focus from having relaxed, regular casual, and smart casual, to <1 mile, >1 mile (+ train/tram/etc), and door-to-door, while still being dressed to the level I want/need at the other end. It's totally changed how I view my wardrobe needs, far more than I expected, and ultimately, practicality has to come before style.

So yes, lifestyle changes everything, and not always in the ways we expect.
 
Thank you for your honest summation. A more difficult change than loosing a job. A change most people, myself included, haven’t even considered.
I hope your alone times are not dark.
You obviously have much to share.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
Thank you for your honest summation. A more difficult change than loosing a job. A change most people, myself included, haven’t even considered.
I hope your alone times are not dark.
You obviously have much to share.
You're welcome. I thought it may be interesting to share these insights into such changes that others likely haven't considered either, but maybe others have had similar revelations. Maybe through retirement, profound career/location changes, or other life events.

While it's all too easy to assume others live lives in similar ways to us, or to underestimate elements of difference between us all, I myself, after living with this unplanned change for a few years now, am still learning new things about the change. I felt perfectly prepared for the day, but totally underestimated how much cushioning I need in the heel of a shoe, particularly when tiredness starts creeping in of an evening. I'm obviously landing heavier on the heel than I myself presumed, and over even modest distances, that matters.

That's the great thing about forums such as this. A chance to see life through many very different lenses.

As to the other stuff you mention, it's a gradual period of adjustment, but I do have others I can call on if in need. Beyond that, the health is wildly variable, and every day is a new adventure :biggrin1:

I hope others have something to share in this thread too, as there's many things that can change how we view our attire needs. Not necessarily as profound as disability, or even becoming a parent, but maybe as subtle as needing extra pocket space for the reading glasses, or having to lug around a huge bunch of keys due to being on call in a new job.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
Another such change of thinking, was the walking stick. Fine, I need a stick to walk with... but what to do with it when it's not needed? A few times now, I've been somewhere where there isn't a convenient place to put the stick while having a meal or drinks. A walking stick is a real liability if you end up on a table in the middle of the room. Maybe I should consider getting a folding one for those days?

One more... pocket space. This has been highly variable for me over the years. I had years when I was on call to two organisations at the same time, one work, one play. When I first stopped working, I still kept lugging around way more than I needed to, and it took me a while to shed the excess. But then other stuff started creeping in instead. The second pair of glasses for example, and the vaping paraphernalia.

I now have a lightweight summer jacket on the way. I might not need it all the time, but the extra pocket space will be handy, and not snag on things as much as a shoulder bag might. That's all still a work in progress though :biggrin:
 
In reference of the walking stick. In books and movies the walking stick is used by distinguished individuals. It is obvious it is not a decoration. Place it on the table. Don’t think of it as an annoyance.
No one says you must have a store bought massed produced one. Have one made for you ( or make it yourself). Have a maple or oak shaft. A molded handle.
 
Interesting update on your considerations for choosing "outfit of the day". I did not comment on that original thread as I never really chose one an orderly manner. But similar to what you are sharing in this updated lifestyle adjustments thread I probably start with the most "constraining" part of the day, whether that is meeting with someone in a professional/social setting, the level of physical activity, amount of time spent outside exposed to the weather, etc.

I don't carry a messenger bag to hold things like glasses, hat, umbrella, water bottle, etc , but have been thinking of doing so to make travel in a city environment easier to manage, especially when out all day and needing to bring a full day's supply of stuff. As you allude to that might make it easier to manage your EDC (including a collapsible walking stick?) as compared to jacket pockets which will vary is size between garments.
 

Lefonque

Even more clueless than you
There is much of what has been written on this thread that reflects much of my own story. However others seem to have adjusted to change in a way that I have not been able.
I too had a medical incident that meant that I was forced into retirement, had to move into a smaller house amongst other things. My continuing medical condition is without positive resolution. I am struggling with a lot of internal anger. There has been so much that has changed which has caused an unfortunate ripple effect on my family and relationships.
I feel that I am just waiting and marking time.
 
A walking stick with flat or hook handle may be hung on table edges, chair backs, or hat racks.
 
There is much of what has been written on this thread that reflects much of my own story. However others seem to have adjusted to change in a way that I have not been able.
I too had a medical incident that meant that I was forced into retirement, had to move into a smaller house amongst other things. My continuing medical condition is without positive resolution. I am struggling with a lot of internal anger. There has been so much that has changed which has caused an unfortunate ripple effect on my family and relationships.
I feel that I am just waiting and marking time.
Keep your chin up my friend, and seek help if you feel you need it 👍
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
There is much of what has been written on this thread that reflects much of my own story. However others seem to have adjusted to change in a way that I have not been able.
I too had a medical incident that meant that I was forced into retirement, had to move into a smaller house amongst other things. My continuing medical condition is without positive resolution. I am struggling with a lot of internal anger. There has been so much that has changed which has caused an unfortunate ripple effect on my family and relationships.
I feel that I am just waiting and marking time.
PM sent
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
A walking stick with flat or hook handle may be hung on table edges, chair backs, or hat racks.
These can help, when I remember to leave the house with it... (not my pic)

aa8244_-_1.jpg

It's a spring clamp, which sits on the shaft of the walking stick, and not slip foam pads help it sit better on the table.

I've found hooking on the back of chairs to be ineffective, and then you have the public indignity of trying to get down to the floor to pick the stick back up again. The only thing I've found I can hook the stick over securely, is horizontal rails, and door handles. With anything else, it's just a matter of time before the tell-tale clatter of a falling stick.
 
First of all, I salute you in tackling these changes in a thoughtful way and wish you every good thing. I understand all too well the linkage between activity levels and weight management. In theory you can lose or manage weight by taking in fewer calories but the way limited activity affects the body is insidious and makes such an approach far more difficult. Exercising is a powerful reinforcer for good eating.

I do not know where you live, but where I live, Austin, Texas, a light jacket as a way to get more pockets would be a challenge. So I have pared what I carry to a credit card wallet carried in my front pocket, a pen knife, and a handkerchief. I need readers for menus and such, and when my shirt does not have a pocket I use a monocle on a cord, usually hanging inside my polo or tee shirt. If I have to take a phone it goes in the other front pocket. My knees have been horrible for ages, and when they are bad enough that I need a cane it just comes with me as part of the package. I usually put it on the floor across the front of my chair rather than hanging it on the back of the chair.

All the best!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
First of all, I salute you in tackling these changes in a thoughtful way and wish you every good thing. I understand all too well the linkage between activity levels and weight management. In theory you can lose or manage weight by taking in fewer calories but the way limited activity affects the body is insidious and makes such an approach far more difficult. Exercising is a powerful reinforcer for good eating.

I do not know where you live, but where I live, Austin, Texas, a light jacket as a way to get more pockets would be a challenge. So I have pared what I carry to a credit card wallet carried in my front pocket, a pen knife, and a handkerchief. I need readers for menus and such, and when my shirt does not have a pocket I use a monocle on a cord, usually hanging inside my polo or tee shirt. If I have to take a phone it goes in the other front pocket. My knees have been horrible for ages, and when they are bad enough that I need a cane it just comes with me as part of the package. I usually put it on the floor across the front of my chair rather than hanging it on the back of the chair.

All the best!
Thanks Tim. You're quite right that just cutting down on input doesn't fully compensate, and it doesn't help that on bad health days, cooking is difficult, and I'm left just eating whatever is easy (not always good diet options) until abilities return. That said, I have only gone up one belt size in three years (34 to 36), so I have at least been able to minimise the impact.

Being in the UK, I can comfortably wear a jacket more often than you. There are still times where it's not sensible though. However, a bag presents issues too, particularly in respect of snagging on things, or knocking things off shelves in shops, or tables in cafes, when you're already not in full control of where you are in a given environment.

A solution may be on the way though. My brother has recently started playing around with leatherwork, and he's offered to make me a low profile cross body bag, which might give me that additional stowage needed, without being cumbersome like so many of the commercial offerings.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
I mentioned hats earlier. They've become a key attire element for me since the lifestyle change too. As my brain and labyrinth in the inner ear don't always get along so well, I rely heavily on vision and tactile feel (through feet and walking stick) for staying upright. As such, it's now far more critical that I keep the lenses of my glasses clear of rain, and blinding sun. Also, being balance impaired, and already having one hand occupied with a walking stick, an umbrella is out of the question.

Also, hoods became pretty useless once the hair got much beyond collar length. Throwing the hood up, just threw hair forwards over my face. Now my hair is past the bottom of my ribcage, I have to make sure the hair is tied back, and tucked well into the jacket/hoodie/coat, before using a hood. Hats do make things simpler.

I've built up a few low cost brimmed hats and flat caps, which have really made a big difference. I started cheap on purpose, to see what works, and what doesn't, but so far those cheap hats have proven to be wise purchases in their own right. Wide brims for sunny weather, and rainy weather depends on wind strength. While a wide brim is great for shedding rain, it's also good for shedding me when the wind picks up, and dancing off down the street at a faster rate than me. Another good reason for sticking with low cost. If a hat does decide to abandon me, unless it gets snagged close by pretty much straight away, I'll instantly be writing it off and carrying on, not comedically trying to pursue it in totally the wrong direction to where I'm headed.
 

tankerjohn

A little poofier than I prefer
Well, I must say this thread is a treat to read - one of those discussions that I love finding on B&B. First, I would like express my encouragement to @AimlessWanderer and @Lefonque . I'm sorry to learn of your life changing health issues, but I appreciate your willingness to open up and share with us. I long ago shed my youthful notions of immortality, and I try to be grateful for the health I have now. But I know that one day I'll be right there in your shoes. I hope I adjust with as much dignity and grace as you are showing. I wish I could buy you guys a beer (or whatever your beverage-of-choice happens to be). You'll always have friends here on B&B.

Re shoes: Its so true. Foot health is a big deal. I like the perspective of picking the right shoes for the day first and building the wardrobe around that. I'm learning that some pant/shoe combinations look better than others.

Re walking sticks: I always image that if I need a walking stick, I'll get something cool like a shillelagh. Then I could whack youngsters on the noggin when they get uppity and have something to wave around while I yell "get off my lawn!". But, I don't know. Maybe shillelaghs aren't terribly practical canes. I saw a gentleman the other day at the store ambling rather slowly and unsteadily with two canes. I had to admire his tenacity to walk rather than ride a scooter or stay home. I'm not knocking scooters; I'm sure there are a God send for many people who would otherwise be bedridden. But I hope I have the gumption to walk as long as I can.

Re pockets: I always struggle with that myself in the summer. Its much too hot and humid here in Virginia to wear a jacket or sportcoat in the summer, even a "summer weight" one. I can't bring myself to wear a safari vest or carry a murse/"European hand bag", so I usually end up over-stuffing my pants pockets (which I realize isn't a great look either). I find the bare minimum for upper body storage is a shirt pocket. I've got to at least have a place to put my sunglasses when I go into a building and preferably a pen too. Otherwise, I just carry a smaller pocket knife, try to keep my wallet slimmed down (B&B enabling helps plenty with that :thumbsup:), and pair down the key ring. I suspect one day that won't be sufficient for my EDC needs (that's "Every Day Carry" for the acronym-averse Brits in the crowd ;)), and I'll have to give in and wear cargo shorts or something. Or carry that murse. But that's probably hard to do holding a shillelagh, so safari vest it is. I'll be that old guy. :eek: Now, get off my lawn! :a31:
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
Well, I must say this thread is a treat to read - one of those discussions that I love finding on B&B. First, I would like express my encouragement to @AimlessWanderer and @Lefonque .
Thanks John, your comments are much appreciated.

Re shoes: Its so true. Foot health is a big deal. I like the perspective of picking the right shoes for the day first and building the wardrobe around that. I'm learning that some pant/shoe combinations look better than others.
Health of knees, hips and lumbar region too! Getting the wrong shoes for the wrong gait or situation can mess up so much more than just feet.

As to compatibility, I seem to have bungled my way to a healthy variety. No matter which item of footwear I reach for, I have a number of legwear options (styles, as well as colour) which work well with them.

Maybe shillelaghs aren't terribly practical canes.
Personally, I don't find them very practical. They're not that comfortable on hand and wrist if you're someone who really has to lean on a stick, and they can become very awkward items in the moments when you need both hands free. Even simple tasks like getting a note or card out of the wallet, can get a lot trickier without being able to hook your stick over your arm for a few moments.

I suspect one day that won't be sufficient for my EDC needs (that's "Every Day Carry" for the acronym-averse Brits in the crowd ;)), and I'll have to give in and wear cargo shorts or something.
One of the few acronyms I am familiar with :)

I don't need to lug all this stuff around each and every day, but whenever I leave the house, I do need to make an appraisal of what items are likely to be essential for that day, and how much can be sensibly carried.

IMG_20210719_180621_edit.jpg
 

tankerjohn

A little poofier than I prefer
Thanks John, your comments are much appreciated.



Health of knees, hips and lumbar region too! Getting the wrong shoes for the wrong gait or situation can mess up so much more than just feet.

As to compatibility, I seem to have bungled my way to a healthy variety. No matter which item of footwear I reach for, I have a number of legwear options (styles, as well as colour) which work well with them.



Personally, I don't find them very practical. They're not that comfortable on hand and wrist if you're someone who really has to lean on a stick, and they can become very awkward items in the moments when you need both hands free. Even simple tasks like getting a note or card out of the wallet, can get a lot trickier without being able to hook your stick over your arm for a few moments.



One of the few acronyms I am familiar with :)

I don't need to lug all this stuff around each and every day, but whenever I leave the house, I do need to make an appraisal of what items are likely to be essential for that day, and how much can be sensibly carried.

View attachment 1299149
Wow, pipe and vape. Dude, you're ready for anything! Love it! You ight need a Bat Utility Belt for all that.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
Wow, pipe and vape. Dude, you're ready for anything! Love it! You ight need a Bat Utility Belt for all that.
That's nothing to what I used to carry! 🤣

In year's past, there was also car keys, boat keys, boatyard and clubhouse keys, work keys, pliers multitools, work phone, second torch, one hand opening knife, buff, basic first aid kit, repair kit, electrical cabinet key, parent's house keys, book ... and if I was doing a stage production, I'd be lugging a script around too :facep:

It actually feels quite liberating choosing from so few options nowadays. Oh, and you missed the fact that the red box is actually a snuffbox :lol1:
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
One other thing I've thought of which the lifestyle has changed, but I had forgotten to mention before, as I kind of take it for granted now...

No ironing!

Balance/coordination disorders and hot appliances don't mix so well, so clothing that I can't get away with wearing unpressed has left the array. A couple of shirts do remain, and I'll press those if I absolutely have to, health permitting. Sometimes arriving in a jacket, and taking it off on arrival, is enough to excuse a slightly creased shirt. Otherwise, anything that's always heavily creased and in need of attention after washing, is unlikely to ever be worn, and has been evicted.

This may mean I occasionally fall below the standard I would like to dress to. Tough! It would take a brave person to challenge me about not dressing up to their standards ;) I can deal with other people's ignorance far easier than ironed fingers, or even a slightly ironed paunch, as has happened occasionally. That smarts, I can tell you! That said, I haven't had any really disparaging comments so far.

With the right clothing items, drip drying on hangers, and a period of wearing and warming to body temp before leaving the house, it's not that noticeable, and certainly doesn't seem to draw disapproving looks. The absence of any need for formal dress does help considerably though. Maybe I'm just lucky to be surrounded by bad dressers, because despite my limitations, I never seem to be the worst dressed man in the room.
 
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