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My new mantra: I’m 65, and I can do what I want to.

I worried all my life that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself at an older age. I thought I would need the structure of the office. I’m happy to report that for me, 65 rocks. It’s the new 21, or the new 4-year-old if you want it to be.

I spent my life in school, military and office conforming to and making rules, following rules, enforcing rules. I discovered that 65 gives one an excuse to break the mold on occasion (or more).

For decades I wore a blue banker suit five days a week and again Saturday nights and Sunday church. Now I sport a sarong at home. Yes, I wrap myself like a Tahitian native. COVID introduced the world to my leisure lifestyle. Yoga pants, gym shorts? Pshaw. That’s amateur stuff.

Did you know in New York City only one restaurant now requires coat and tie? They have to accommodate rock stars like Kanye and me who want to enjoy dining in a golf shirt, khakis and tennis shoes.

Society cuts a lot of slack to those who can draw Social Security. I now think of rules as mere suggestions. Cross double yellow lines to pass? Walk across the street in traffic? In my book it’s not illegal for experts like me. Just frowned upon by some with less experience.

As a young employee I used to anxiously rush back from lunch to be back at my desk by 1 o’clock. Even after five or 10 years I couldn’t take an afternoon off until the end of the week. I once tried Tuesday golf, but the worthless feeling so unnerved me I didn’t repeat it.

If you were in my field and had not pulled an all-nighter at the office for a trial or large business transaction, you weren’t working hard enough. Oh, you want to take off New Year’s Eve or Columbus Day, do you? Not on my watch you don’t.

I used to get all bent out of shape over protocol. People who went to work without a suit and tie drove me crazy. When I was on our management committee, I was so mad at casual Fridays I almost wore my sarong into the office just to let employees know where the road to Dockers and polo shirts was leading. Now I discovered they were just ahead of their times. I’m happy to say I’ve adapted and loosened up.

BTW, sarongs rock. I worked a year in Southeast Asia and came back with this wonderful custom. I’m pretty darned conservative about a lot of things, but sight of the human body has never been one of them. I could take off all my clothes and walk down Main Street if it weren’t for frightening small children and horses.

Now I work mainly from my home office in my wrap. I may choose to dress up, but I’m leading the charge away from suits. Why stop at small measures, you casual Friday anarchists? Tell your managers you want nudist Fridays. I won’t object.

J. Grant McGuire is a Huntington resident. His email address is Grant11955@aol.com.

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