Friday, May 18, 2018

Some things never change...

When I was a teenager, my favorite thing to wear was jeans and t-shirts. I favored pony tails and skipped the make-up most of the time. Flip-flops were my shoes of choice. I wasn't exactly a tom-boy, I just wanted to be comfortable.  And, because I, like most other teenagers, wasn't all that comfortable in my body I sought to be comfortable in other ways. And, I liked the way I looked in jeans and t-shirts.

This was somewhat of a friendly battle between me and my mom. She wanted me to be more girly. She didn't tell me what to wear, exactly, but thought I should wear make-up and do something with my hair, maybe wear something with flowers on it once in a while. When I began to attempt to attract boys, I tried to make more of an effort, but I never was very good at being interested in things that would make me "prettier."

Twenty-five years later, not all that much has changed. I'm still not all that interested in things that would make me prettier. I care about being comfortable, just like I did when I was sixteen. I thought this was likely (thankfully) one of the only things I have in common with my younger self. As I considered it, though, I think I may have sold myself a bit short. Maybe there is a little bit of who I was way back then still lingering inside me, deep down.

When I was tossing on my Deadpool Taco's t-shirt and jeans this morning, hair in a messy bun, no make-up, I realized this was exactly something my teenage self would have worn. It made me smile, but it also made me think about the things about us that change and those that remain the same. My mom's favorite saying is "the older you get, the more like yourself you become." I never understood that when I was a kid--grown-up mumbo-jumbo, if you asked me. But, as I've grown older, I don't just understand it, I both believe it and don't. I have a relationship with that particular bit of wisdom.

In some respects, I've become so much more who I was always supposed to be. In others, I thank God that I've changed so much that my former self is unrecognizable. Still in others, I've grown into someone my teenage-self wouldn't necessarily approve of. I think this happens to everyone, we're all a big ol' ball of hopes, dreams, and disappointments that make us who we are today. I'm able now, though, to step outside my comfort zone and do things I never could have back then. Maybe that's the difference between being an awkward sixteen year old girl and a 40 year old woman. The ability to differentiate between comfort and hiding. The ability to put yourself out there because you have to, or need to, or just want to.

I still want to be comfortable. I'm older now, but I'm still wearing my jeans and t-shirts. I imagine I always will. But when I leave my house, I usually wear make-up now, too. I straighten my hair so it looks good and try to be generally presentable. Not so I can be prettier, attract men, or look more my age, but because when I look better, I feel better and have more confidence. That's something my teenage-self didn't much understand or care about. I just try to do those things while wearing what will make me most comfortable.

Then there are times when comfort still wins over looking/feeling good and I leave the house wearing slippers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How I learned (a little bit of) patience...

I'm old enough to remember a time before online shopping. If we wanted something, we went to the mall and bought it. We drove to the store, looked at things, tried on clothes, and paid with cash or credit cards. While I still do this sometimes, it's much more common for me to buy things online. I even buy my groceries online and go pick them up at Walmart without ever getting out of my car.

I'm all about hassle-free instant gratification. I don't have to go to the mall--I absolutely hate malls--or even to stores. I get the experience of shopping, but don't have to leave my house. They just arrive at my door and do so pretty quickly at that. Thank you, two-day shipping. It may seem like going to the store to buy things would be much quicker than buying them on Amazon, but when you factor in going out to get said items and all the time it takes to shop in person... forget it.

This, however, has led to some impatience. I don't like to wait for all these things I'm buying online. With quick shipping, I rarely do for more than a day or two. Considering I can buy virtually anything, virtually, a short wait is easy to swallow. And, if what I'm buying is books, there's no wait at all. I can buy e-books and start reading them almost instantly.

Then, one day, along came Kickstarter. This is practically the opposite of instant gratification. If you haven't done this, Kickstarter is a way to support projects you believe in while getting some sort of reward for your investment. We've backed 11 projects to date, all of them hobby-related (dice, gaming books, collectors edition paper dolls, etc.) and the wait has been fairly long each time. As an example, we backed a Kickstarter in October 2016 that has still not been completely fulfilled. We've gotten about half the books in the set with the other half to come over the next year.

Even knowing that backer rewards won't be available for most Kickstarters for six months to a year, I still back them. I still give them my money and then I wait. I don't just wait, in most cases, I'm happy to wait. This is how I learned to be patient... Kickstarter taught me patience. In a world where I, like every single other person in the first-world, don't want to wait, Kickstarter has made me more patient. It's allowed me to embrace the old adage that all good things are worth the wait.

Okay, well, maybe some good things are worth the wait. It hasn't exactly made me a paragon of patience... I'm human, after all. But, it has helped me to develop just a little bit of a virtue that I never, ever possessed before and that's something, right?