What is essential in your wardrobe? The blue blazer and black shoes may have become passe or may still be stylin’ – I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell you if you need a Katherine Hepburn little black dress or if a short white cardigan keeps you fresh. I don’t watch closely enough to know what is in or what is out.
But I am curious what you need in your character wardrobe. Is loyalty still in vogue or are we more unfaithful and indifferent? What about honesty? Has deception and deceit, that we see from political leaders rubbed off on our choices? Trust was once a very important staple for the character closet. Are you still choosing trust and giving people a reason to choose to trust you? Respect and self respect were once signs of maturity, in fact maturity once held an important place on the shelf.
I think men and women of true character wear loyalty, trust, respect well. They are honest, reliable, caring and persistent. Old words like charm and grace, honesty and sincerity are given honoured places. Curiousity, candor, compassion and confidence should be in good supply.
This past weekend, my mom (88 years old) started reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “If”. Written in 1895, it still seems to resonate.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!