(I guess that's what happens when your kid goes off to school, your husband off to work, and you're left to ponder your belly button all by yourself - just you, your cats, and the insurmountable job postings/house cleaning/Praxis studying/Christmas gift making responsibilities staring you in the face that you figure can be put off for just a little while longer while you figure out just exactly what you are destined to be doing in this exact moment in this exact location in the universe.)
I used to be a very wishy washy person, and I do mean that in a very wishy washy way. I couldn't make up my mind about anything. I couldn't choose which side of any argument to come down on - whether important or not. I never felt like I had anything to add to most conversations because I didn't feel well informed enough about what was being said to be able to intelligently contribute anything. And because of all this, I felt less than. Insignificant. Not smart enough or concerned enough or informed enough to actively participate on so many levels. I felt like an outsider looking in at all the cool kids who obviously were so much more exciting and worldly than myself.
Today - I still do not always feel very well informed, especially on national or international topics such as politics, finances, business or what have you. I am still one of the quieter members of my family on both my side and Hubby's.
But I am now occasionally able to speak up with something funny, smart, thought provoking, or simply with my personal opinion(s) on whatever topic is at hand. I am able to think more clearly for myself these days. And I'm able to generally share my opinions without feeling like I'm permanently damaging my relationship(s) with friends or family who I know have different ideas than my own.
Yet I still do carry a bit of that "outsider" feeling. But, more and more, I'm not so much minding being seemingly "left out". Because I'm realizing more and more how much I don't want to be - or have never been - like the supposed "cool kids". That's not me. And that's okay. I'm still cool in my own right.
I am not a shopper or a partier. I was trying to remember the last piece of clothing I bought myself and I think it was a skirt I purchased while Hubby and I were on our cruise. Three years ago, wasn't it?
I do like to go out to nice restaurants every once in awhile. But with just Hubby or Hubby and Sweetie is my ideal. I don't need to go out with huge groups of friends or family to needlessly spend money or party at a loud and crazy location. I am a homebody. I like certain T.V. shows. I like to read. I like to do needlecrafts. I love spending time with family - immediate or extended, it's all great! But a simple gathering at someone's home where we can sprawl out and mingle amongst each other at our own pace is much preferable to me than an "outing" with events and activities to rush along to and feel overwhelmed by. Simplicity - that's my style.
I like to host and go to some parties - elegant home parties where fancy appetizers are served along with nice wines. Jazzy music playing softly in the background. With three to 5 other couples gathered to chat with, catch up with, maybe play fun party games with. Nothing crazy or that last well into the wee hours of the morning. Just a festive collection of some of my favorite friends all happily eating, drinking, talking and relaxing together.
I like certain things more than others. My favorite color is red. My favorite animal is the giraffe. I like Jack Johnson's music. I think snowmen are probably the cutest of the winter time decorations.
But all this doesn't mean that I want my wardrobe to be solely comprised of red clothing. Or that I need to add to my giraffe collection (I have a sizable giraffe collection already, but of all that I have, I think I purchased exactly one of those giraffes for myself. And I don't feel any sort of desire for anyone - myself or others - to spend oodles of money to expand my collection just for expansion's sake. To me, that's needless spending). I'm not destined to love every single song that Jack Johnson - or Jack Johnson-like folks - ever puts out. I don't need to fill my home with more and more snowmen with each passing Christmas.
See, I like what I like. But I like so many other things too. I don't like being put in a box. I'm not a materialistic person at all. As I've told Hubby for years, I'd much rather be gifted with experiences rather than things any day of the week. He and I haven't exchanged anniversary or Valentine's Day gifts - or cards! - for a very long time. But we do go out to dinner. Take me to the theater, give me a gift certificate for a massage, take me to eat at my favorite restaurant, or plan a family road trip during which Hubby, Sweetie and myself will all find personally thrilling activities in which to indulge. Those are my most favorite kinds of gifts. I couldn't care less if another giraffe or snowman enters this house. I'm happy when my favorite songs come on the radio - I don't necessarily need to hear the same CD over and over again. And when I do shop for clothing, I tend to buy colors I know I don't already have a ton of in my closet but that I know will go with much of what I already own. I guess this is all to say how practical I am. I do not need things just to have things. I love gifts. I appreciate true quality. But I value good memories more.
It's not my intention to have this post come off as an "I'm right, everyone else is wrong" statement. Nor to concentrate specifically on surface topics such as partying and spending. Everyone's different. Everyone has a different social comfort level. Everyone has different thoughts and feelings, not to mention abilities, for how they spend their money. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc on all sorts of different things. We're all free to be you and me, after all.
It's just that I'm happy to finally be comfortable with who I am. I no longer feel like I'm less than. I no longer feel like I have to live up to other peoples' ideals. I am confident now to realize my own standards, ideals and opinions on so many topics. They may very well be different than yours. But that's okay. In fact, that's wonderful!
Let's talk about what each other believes, over a nice cup of coffee, perhaps. It will make for a lively discussion from which, hopefully, we both can learn and grow.