It’s odd what you think of at unexpected times. I was backing out of a parking spot at the grocery store recently and I suddenly remembered the first time I backed out of anything driving. I had just gotten my license and it was my first morning to drive to school by myself. I vividly remember putting in my CD of choice, the perfect tune for the event, putting my Ford Focus in reverse and easing myself out of my driveway. Would I go Austin Highway,the back route, or go Highway 410 to Starcrest? I went the former waving at my fellow licensed friends as we passed each other and feeling such a high that could only stem from liberation.
Liberation. Defined as a freedom from limits, thoughts or behaviors, I began to think of all such milestones in my life that evoked such feeling, such euphoria. Buying beer without the fear of cops getting called, buying tobacco (I bought Swisher Sweet cigars on my 18th birthday just to enjoy the freedom granted to me by my government), getting into my first bar without carrying in paranoia with my favorite clutch, and my first rental car experience (wait I thought it was $60 a day? I was unaware of all these charges and insurance fees. Where’s a Porsche for this money?). Nevertheless I got in my Taurus and drove to my destination with my signed rental agreement but I sat in that car a bit more straight up, I walked into the bar with a bit more of a strut, and out of the HEB a little more taller with my Swisher Sweets. One limit down and man the wait was worth it.
Present day. I smile driving home after successfully backing out of Central Market but I also feel a bit remorse. I smile not only because of my milestone marking memories, but also because of how I felt. Its feeling evincible, its feeling like the path ahead of me just opened and widened a bit more, its gaining confidence, its an excitement of getting older that goes away after 25, in my opinion. I feel remorse because I miss those feelings. Where’d they go? Did they stop when I finally walked into a bar without getting carded? Did I outgrow them like my first pair of designer jeans? That was an incredible feeling by the way. It was freshmen year of college and every girl was wearing Seven by All Mankind jeans and I was in my Gap. I came home for Fall break and told my mom college was great but it would be even better in these jeans. Lucky enough for me I have a mother who provided for me the world and beyond so we went to Julian Gold to shop. I came out with my first pair of Seven jeans and my butt and I had an agreement. We will never look as good we do in inexpensive jeans and I felt like the hottest thing since Brook Shields in her Calvin’s the first time I wore them back at school. But seriously, if getting older means taking for granted the little things then I want to go to Never Never Land.
It is the little things. It is the milestones. As I get older, I notice less milestones. Yes I have yet to have kids and I look forward to that milestone everyday. I remember mailing my first check for taxes and I actually felt cooler, how adult of me high five. Ha, not anymore. Adulthood has become underrated and why? I argue its because something changes. For me I became more and more aware of costs, sacrifices, certain realities and realistic fears, bigger problems and not easier solutions, and just how tired adulthood makes you. And that’s sad.
When I signed the lease for my store, I felt a sense of anxiety but it was overshadowed by a sense of pride and again that amazing step towards adulthood I felt during my 20’s. I didn’t need a beer or a Swisher Sweet, I was starting my own business and it was going to be awesome! And it is awesome. It has been 5 year’s of Aquarius and I could not have asked for anything different, well maybe a few things but that’s between my bookkeeper and I. After a long debate and many come to Jesus talks with myself and from my husband, I decided the store needs to move and signed another 5 year lease at our new location effective Feb 2016. I signed my lease over a burger with my husband then went about my business like it was any other day. I didn’t walk a bit taller, I didn’t pop up a bottle of bubbly, it was business. Hashtag adulthood. What is wrong with this picture? That’s a milestone people and all I did was eat a burger for it!
We celebrate milestones for our children to encourage, love, and support. I still go to my mom for cheerleading every now and then. But what happens to our milestones as we get older? Sadly everything is at our fingertips as a an adult. I can buy beer anytime I want, I can vote, I can rent a car, I can buy a car, I can apply for loans, I could buy a trip to Outer Space if I wanted..if money grew on trees. I have so many liberties that I have become jaded. It’s just another day, it’s what you do, comme si comme ca. How depressing honestly.
My husband and I went to Austin this weekend just to get out of the norm which we don’t do as much as we should. Sunday morning we decided to veto our hip brunch reservations and just walk to a coffee shop then to ol’ faithful always good Galaxy Cafe after for breakfast in our sweatpants as ourselves. We were sitting having coffee reading the Sunday NY Times (yes we did read it) and I was reminded of my previous thoughts backing out of the grocery store concerning milestones and liberations. This was a perfect moment. No cell phones, nowhere to be, no talk about business and next steps, just us in black and white reading black and white print. It may not be a milestone, but it was a liberty right in front of me and why aren’t we celebrating it? As we get older, I think the meaning of liberty changes for us. We may still free ourselves of thoughts, limits, or behaviors but in this moment with my husband I wanted to celebrate THIS liberty: the power to act as one pleases.
Stress and conflict liter our daily lives and unfortunately command and consume us more than they should and let’s be honest they’re exhausting. It’s in this litered path that we must celebrate what pleases us. It may be taking a minute to get a latte at your favorite coffee shop, it may be taking a long lunch, it may be having a glass of wine just because, it may be starting your morning late because your bed felt so great: GOOD FOR YOU! Let’s feel gratitude and allow ourselves to enjoy this power, this liberty. Take a moment to turn an ordinary into an extraordinary, enjoy the mundane, and applaud unexpected moments that may not be Hallmark worthy milestones but they should be. I’d love a card that says Congratulations on Taking a Personal Day!
Life is a dance floor, get your groove on. Don’t be surprised if this is what I look like coming out of the dry cleaners. Woo clean clothes!
Signing another 5 year lease was a milestone for me and it wasn’t celebrated. I didn’t get a card from my parents, I didn’t get flowers or balloons, in fact I haven’t had one person say congrats. What is wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is me. I needed to send myself flowers, I needed to buy a balloon, and I should have written myself a card. I ate a burger and got back on my phone for business without taking a moment to express gratitude for this liberty to continue being in business and celebrate a milestone that is 5 years of successful retail. Funny thing about milestones in adulthood: we have to become our biggest cheerleaders. It is up to us realize and acknowledge the big moments…and the little. That’s what makes up life. Often we get in the grind, the to-do lists, the system that is our day and miss the liberties that give us pleasure and the milestones that make us a bigger and better person. I admit I have been looking for the balloons, the cards, the singing telegram because I needed my business decision to be celebrated. A bit for validation, a bit because I’m in the grind of it and needed someone to stop me and pat my back, and a bit because well I didn’t.
My middle and high school had a motto. It was “Teach us delight in simple things.” I remember that now as I type this. Just something we read in the head office and in school programs at the time, but man I get it now sorry! Its not about milestones or new liberties for me as I get older, its the delight in simple things that deserve gratitude and celebration. It’s these moments that are true milestones or by definition changes in development. They’re blessings that make us a better person and that is something you walk taller and more straight up for.
Come on you know you want to sing this iconic George Michael it after reading this 🙂