A few days ago I saw my friend from college, and before I get too distracted by how weird that sentence is to say, I want to tell this story. For those of you in the home audience, yes this is yet another one of those inspirational stories that should lift your self esteem. I hope you stretched.
Like I was saying, I just saw a friend, Kate, from college. We met for a late lunch in one of Tucson’s oh-so-trendy cafes on 4th Ave. I’ll give you a hint: it was B Line. I walk into B Line, she says hi, we exchange hugs, she gets guacamole with her chips, I get salsa, we trade life experiences. About four stories in she stops me. “You are so cool, I want your life,” she tells me.
I think I actually looked behind me for who ever she was actually referencing, who she had to be referencing. It couldn’t be me. But it was. I was cool. I was more than than that, I was worth aspiring to be. I was, frankly, confused. Who wants to be me? Heck, sometimes I don’t even want to be me. Melodrama aside, I wouldn’t have said that I’m cool.
Part of what took me so completely aback by the situation has less to do with my own clout and more to do with the fact that I think that Kate is freaking amazing. I’m not just saying that to be humble on the internet. She is, first of all, beautiful. And I’m sure that her feminist streak loved that I started there. But she is. And she rocks a septum piercing that very few can. She makes Target clothing look the way it looks in Target ads, that is to say, good. She is smart, she’s getting her masters right now. I think what I envy the most about her is that she unabashedly studied (and is getting her masters in) history but flat out announces that she does not want to be a teacher. Let me explain for those of you who didn’t major in a social science: for those of us that did, teaching is pretty much the only answer your doubting relatives will accept when they ask just what are you going to do with that history degree. In a nut shell, cool.
The question that we should be asking ourselves isn’t whether we are or aren’t cool. But what is up with all this self doubt. Probably most of us are like Kate and I, able to see the immense value in the people in our lives but somehow not attributing that same value to ourselves. So what gives?
What is it about us personally that we can’t see we are cool? The thing about when I was told I was cool is that I didn’t think I was cool but the things Kate listed off, things that are all from my resume, are cool. But because I look at my resume so often (God bless this endless job search), it was all commonplace stuff. And, interestingly, what about her life I thought was really cool, she hadn’t considered because it was the things that made up her everyday life. I know the sample size is small, but I see a pattern. Seems like it isn’t that we aren’t cool but that we in fact are cool with such regularity we don’t even realize it.
Did I just make a breakthrough?