“Sis, I’m not sure about this!”
That was all I could manage to get out as I attempted to force my legs down into the pant legs of a pair of brand new skinny fit Levi’s.
My sister was outside the change room, waiting for me like a wardrobe consultant.
“Just try them and show me”
I managed to squeeze all my pieces into all the right places, and then bravely stepped out into the corridor to model for her.
“Yeah, see, that’s much better.”
“Much better?! I feel like I am wearing jeggings!”
“They suit you. Trust me.”
“Hmmm. I don’t know…”
I was in transition; in no mans land. Standing in the middle of the corridor, wearing the tightest pair of jeans known to man. Or so it felt.
You see, for the past three months I had been working out and getting myself into better shape. I’d gone from 190 down to 175 and was feeling pretty good.
Now that my sister was visiting, she told me I needed to get new jeans because the old ones looked like ‘Dad Jeans.’
I had agreed to go a little more snug to match my newly svelte figure, but standing there in the back of the Levi’s store, I was starting to miss my Dad Jeans.
Then, something came over me.
“Ok, I’ll do it. As long as I don’t look like an almost 40-year-old guy trying to look 25”.
“You look fine. You won’t regret it. The skinny jeans life is what it’s all about.”
I went to the counter, certain that the 25-year-old guy behind the register was judging me as a skinny-jeans-hipster-wannabe. I shelled out and bought a few new pairs in the same skinny cut, and walked out of the store uncertain about the future ahead.
That was the day I became a new man. A man with much less room between me and my pant legs. But a new man, nonetheless.
After a week or so of my new lifestyle, I got the hang of things. I started to forget that I’d once struggled so much with the decision, and my new skinny jeans became the new norm.
It was around this time, that I realized that skinny jeans were actually reaffirming some important life lessons.
Thus, by the power vested in me by Levi Strauss & Co, here are the three important life lessons I learned from wearing skinny jeans.
Lesson # 1: You have to get uncomfortable if you want something new.
I’ve had this lesson many times, from when I started my own business, to moving country, to getting into a committed relationship. All these decisions didn’t come easily, yet they did require me to move away from my comfort zone.
Squeezing into my new skinny jeans was so uncomfortable at first I literally couldn’t feel any circulation below the waist. I seriously wondered if it was safe to wear them. But then, amazingly, after an hour or two, the jeans started to fit better. Soon they had molded to my leg shape and were feeling good.
So too, life seems to mold around you, if you are willing to get somewhat uncomfortable.
Lesson # 2: The changes you make will change your identity.
During my early 30s I had somehow unknowingly started to morph into a ‘Dad Jean’ type of guy. This is the type of guy who doesn’t really want to stand out, or do anything extraordinary. He just wants comfort and is willing to forfeit some things for that.
My Dad Jeans lifestyle came to end when I dared to try on a new style. And soon enough, my identity started to shift and I saw myself as someone who had a different look.
I found myself with a different perspective, something a little fresher and more avante-garde. I soon added a little more flair to other parts of my dress style, and it even made its way into my attitude towards life.
The more often you make changes, the more often your identity shifts. Some things are obvious changes, like changing jobs, having a child or moving to a new city. Yet there are a great deal more subtle changes that occur that we don’t realize.
Life changes us, just as much as we change life. The trick is to accept the changes as the new normal as soon as you can. Trying to stay fixed to the old way of being, is how you end up miserable.
Lesson # 3: Nobody really cares that much that you’ve changed.
The first time I left the house in my new skinny jeans, I was convinced people I knew would start laughing. I thought for sure I would get questions about my new look, or criticism for changing.
But lo and behold, not one person even noticed! This is so often the case when we make a big life decision or change in some way. We fear the negative comments or backlash that might come, but in reality nobody really cares that much that we’ve changed.
In fact, most people (you and I included) are so preoccupied with our own life and worries that we hardly even notice someone else has changed something.
So whatever you are worried about doing, just do it. The chances of somebody criticizing you, or even noticing, are almost non-existent.
These three simple life lessons were my reward for trying something new.
Now, at times life may choose the change for us, but I believe there is always a way to benefit, or at least learn something valuable, if we look close enough.
For me, that reward came the day after I bought my new uncomfortably fashionable pair of pants, and then had the courage to wear them to work.
The cute girl in the office next to mine stopped me in the hallway…
“Hey, did you get new jeans?”
“Uh yeah, they’re skinny jeans.”
“Good choice. You look cute in them.”
She smiled at me coyly and kept walking.