Reflecting on 30…
Ok so to be fair I am going to spend a few days on this whole “I am 30 check me out!” train. But I will get off of it soon. I am simply enjoying the reflection.
If I could think of one thing I have learned over the last decade I would sum it up in one word: Value.
I feel like I am starting to truly understand the value of things. Of hard work. Of money. Of friends. Of family.
Let’s start with a simple example. In my early 20’s, the summer would come a round, I would find myself squinting through the sun’s harsh rays and decided I needed to buy some sunglasses. And since I am a child born into a nation of consumers, I didn’t just want any old pair of shades, but I wanted nice shades. Fancy sunblockers. Because lets face it glasses are one of the easiest way to acquire high-end designer duds. And we have all been taught that owning designer things makes us cool, desireable and successful. So we have to have them. Therefore I would go to a store, and buy some expensive brand name sunnies and then I would lose them a week later. Or I would break them. Or a combination thereof. I would bemoan the loss/death of my beloved designer glasses for about five minutes, and then I would shrug my shoulders and move on with my life. Because at the end of the day I didn’t value the nice things I owned, I didn’t value the money that went into purchasing them and I didn’t value the work that was put into acquiring them.
And in the attempt to be totally transparent, many times these la de da sunglasses were purchased from my parents pocketbooks. So not only was I devaluing my own possessions/time/money, but I was devaluing my parents as well.
Sorry Mom and Dad. I hope you can forgive me.
Somewhere in the middle of the decade I realized that I clearly was not mature/cool enough to have fancy frames anymore. I had learned that I couldn’t hold onto a pair for more than two seconds and relegated myself to purchasing cheap frames where if I lost them (which I inevitably would) it wouldn’t be a big deal and I could easily replace them.
So now I am starting to grasp a few things
1) When you spend a large sum of money on an item you should respect it, the money that went into it, and take care of it. (which I apparently couldn’t do yet)
2) I clearly don’t respect nice things yet, so I shouldn’t have them (see, I am gaining some personal insight-rock on mid-twenties!)
3) I no longer feel beholden to designers for my own self worth. I am just as happy wearing five buck chucks (I just made that up, that isn’t a real thing…is it?)
So I spent a few years wisely staying away from nice sunnies. I wasn’t ready for them, and I know was mature enough to know this.
Then as the years ticked by amazing things started to happen: I learned how to keep a personal budget. I began to pick up extra work in order to save up for things I wanted. I began to take pride it the things I owned.
And you know what? It was kinda awesome.
This brings us to a few months ago: Summer 2012 the final summer of my twenties and I needed some new shades. Not because my old ones had been displaced or destroyed, but because this girl had managed to retain her bargain brand sunglasses for an(!) entire(!) year(!). It was time for an upgrade.
After some searching and deliberating I purchased a new pair of sunglasses. A classic shape from a classic brand. A pair that, as long as I took care of them, could be with me for a while.
And I am pleased to report that as of right now they are still with me (Knock! On! Wood!) I still have their case. I put them away at night. I take pride in having them.
Designer sunglasses aside, that is just a small example of what I mean when I talk about understanding value. I have begun to value the people in my life more. My family more. My husband more. My time, health and well-being more. Learning this lesson has intrinsically changed way the I view the world.
It’s as if I am….wait for it…. looking at the world through a new set of glasses. (It was a cheap shot but I had to take it!)
But to be clear, I still can’t seem to put my clothes in a hamper, use up all the vegetables in the fridge before they spoil, or floss daily. So there’s that.