Dare to Be Colorful!

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years”. Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click this link for her website:   http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Gate Huck          4-17-15 editedAs you can see in this photograph, Gate Huck knows how to swath herself in color. Some don’t. Have you ever noticed people who dress only in neutral or drab colors: blacks, whites, grays, beiges, browns, pale blues? Or, maybe you dress that way.

I’ve always wondered if those people feel they don’t deserve to shine. Maybe they don’t want to attract attention to themselves. Their color palettes often match their personalities.

In physics, color is a function of a specific wavelength of visible light. Black and white are not considered colors since they do not have specific wavelengths. White is made up of all wavelengths of visible light, and black is the absence of visible light.

We use the word color to denote a certain lightheartedness such as colorful jokes which are risqué, daring, and fun. We describe something as being off-color if it is somewhat offensive. I’ve heard it said that color makes a statement, whereas lack of color only makes a suggestion.

There is a medical condition occurring mostly in the winter called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) where low light causes depression in those who suffer from it. One of the treatments is exposure to light boxes, which are small walls of light.

Color and light are uplifting, perky, jazzy, exciting. Color can be visual, auditory, emotional, and more. Some people dream in color.

A neurological phenomenon called synesthesia is where stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway creates automatic, involuntary experiences in a second such pathway. So, synesthetes (people with this ability) may feel, hear, or taste color, and it may aid their creative process. Artists such as Franz Liszt, Vincent Van Gogh, and Leonard Bernstein were synesthetes.

If your comfort zone won’t allow you to dress colorfully, at least bring color into your life in other ways: flowers (not just white ones), colorful paintings, tropical fish, etc. Dare to lighten up; dare to brighten up; dare to make a statement.  Maybe color will aid your creative process or at least bring some cheer into your life, and one additional perk: it’s free!

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7 responses to “Dare to Be Colorful!

  1. Sheila Sauber

    Nice one! Learned a new word…synesthesia. I need to dream in color! Sheila

  2. Just last week, I bought a bright orange blouse. As I waited in line another lady approached me and remarked how brave I was to purchase such a bright color. (Not sure if that was a compliment or not) Anyway, it looks great and I am happy wearing it.
    I have a friend who wears nothing but drab (browns,blacks) since she was 16. What does that say about a person? There must be some study somewhere on the subject.

  3. zimatravels

    Sometimes colors of clothing are culturally determined. When I lived in China, I was told that women over 40 should only wear darker, drabber colors.
    I’ve met only one synesthete. Quite fascinating how every person’s name was a color to her.

    • What a shame that China used to encourage (or maybe still does) dark, drab colors for women over 40. That is so in many cultures of the world. Even more shameful is when those women acquiesce, assuming that someone else knows better what is good or appropriate for them (kind of like our fashion and cosmetics industries here). We need to start a movement: “Senior women are people, too.” A friend responded privately to my blog and felt that senior women should not wear flashy colors but instead should dress conservatively exemplified by a black dress with pearls. Of course, I am not advocating neon chartreuse when I talk about celebrating color. Here was my response to my friend: I did not suggest that seniors should dress in “flashy” colors. I certainly agree with you that a lovely black dress with white pearls can be striking. I have a few black and white outfits. What I’m talking about is the person who always dresses in a drab manner. I believe color can be uplifting to a person, and the constant choice of drab colors in clothing can be depressing. If, for example, you choose a black or brown suit, you could wear a nice blouse or scarf or jewelry with tasteful colors instead of a gray or beige blouse which makes you look all one color. Just because you’re a senior, doesn’t mean that the rejuvenating benefit of color is not for you.

  4. Great article. I do agree about color being ultra important. When young, a victim of WWII and hard-up, I tended for years to buy basic colored clothes that “went with everything”. When I sewed my own garments I could, and did, introduce color.
    In my home I am surrounded by my own colorful paintings—although I have much more color in my life now, I still have to fight the old demons, avoiding to choose black and white shoes and other items!

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