Moving is a great time to change. Little changes like adopting a new habit, or breaking a different one can sometimes be made almost seamlessly as you are already in the “everything is new” mindset.
Sometimes you can even spring into giant shifts and reinvent yourself.
For instance, when I went away to college, suddenly I was a vegetarian. I’m not sure how long I had been mulling that over in my mind, but the day I got there, I was Jeanette the vegetarian, because that’s who I wanted to be then, and it fulfilled some sort of need I had to be different.
I also started to dress like a damn clown and my hair was the color of bleached nothing, and I tried really hard to take up smoking and mean it.
My point is, no one knows the ‘before’ you, so you can be anything you want to be in the ‘after’. Did that sound vaguely like a metaphor for death? Eep.
Since I am slightly beyond trying to get attention for being different, I’ve decided that with this time around I will try to make a bunch of subtle changes in an effort to become happier and healthier.
I’m a sucker for podcasts and have been listening to buttloads of them with our giant school commute now, so I’ve picked up all sorts of wise tips and tricks that I will be attempting to implement into my daily life. More on those later.
The whole point of this post is to tell you about one of them: I am trying not to worry so much about what people think of me. Jesus, that’s a crazy one. Being 45 helps a lot, but I still find myself not doing or saying things because of how people might judge me. We all struggle with this- some of us more than others, obviously.
When I walked into Target yesterday, I spied a fellow re-painting the big red Target balls that presumably protect Target from runaway cars. I instantly felt the need to get a photo of him, because I love those balls. Who doesn’t love Target balls? Balls.
Instead I walked right past him, into the store, quelling my urge to take a photo of him. I told myself that if he was still there on my way out, I’d get up my nerve and snap a photo.
Then I had an even brillianter idea. I wanted to paint that ball. I wanted a photo of me painting that damn ball. I obsessed and giggled about it the whole time I was shopping, and when I exited the store I scanned left- no ball-painter. I scanned right, and BOOM he was on his last ball.
I’ll be damned if I didn’t turn into a little pansy chicken butt right then and walk straight to my car. As I drove past him, I felt that horrible feeling of being disappointed with yourself. This is the moment I would ordinarily silently yell, FUCK IT, and drive away, letting that tiny disappointment fester in my brain forevermore.
I think we build up a little reserve of scar tissue in our brains from moments like this.
This time, I quietly said aw, fuck it, hopped out of my car and approached the guy. I was too mentally tired from all my internal chatter, and physically tired from having a cold, so I didn’t even pretend like I was asking him this crazy! wacky! bizzaro! thing.
I was pretty much like, ‘hey, would you mind taking a photo of me painting the ball?’
So he complied. He even took 2, because he didn’t think the first one was good enough. Bless his little Target ball-painting heart.
I thanked him a whole bunch, and he laughed and said that was a first for him. I slapped him and told him to keep his eyes on his balls and strode away, confidently.
That last part probably didn’t really happen, but the photo did.