We’ve just joined the throngs of people who are catching up socially in outdoor situations. Guess we have been allowed to meet up in outdoor settings for a few weeks now, but aside from work and our already existing bubbles we kinda opted out of that scene until this week. Lately, being chill and mostly content with the tiny life I’m building with the spunky monk and our increasingly independent tribe of progeny, keeping mostly to ourselves suits my journey and keeps the PTSD and ADHD more-or-less in check. I still suffer from terrible anxiety and cycles of self-doubt and even self-loathing that can spiral out of control so I keep my circle small and only allow safe and lovely people near me. It is a strategy I strongly recommend! You’ll need to deal with assholes and toxic types from time to time as they still exist, but in your time and in your space, being incredibly selective and demanding respect, honesty, joy, and encouragement is a winning strategy.
Here’s what I think. Mindset and morality are essentially contagious. If you hang out with angry, mean, judgemental, greedy, scared people that behaviour will be normalized. You will be susceptible to catching it. If you hang out with joyful, interesting, quirky, kind, and hopeful people, well their light will brighten the shininess of those things inside you. Seriously. We become who we surround ourselves with. I choose to be surrounded with superstars and will suffer no fools or two-faced self-serving shenanigans. I tolerated that shit in the past, but my huge heart and shiny, happy, generous soul are far too wonderful a resource to be squandered on shitheads. Same goes for you. You will have your own magic and there’s always good bits and bad bits fighting it out in each of us, but trust me, you deserve shiny not shitty people. Being that energy is how you attract it too. It’s like an infinite loop of shiny. Don’t get trapped in an infinite loop of shitty.
Saying all that, we still have to deal with strangers and meet new people. Sometimes that’s cool, sometimes it is a challenge. How we react when we are challenged says a lot about us and changes the energy of that situation and countless ripples of situations that are affected by us in that moment.
Let me try to explain, using an example from last night.
We have been trying to catch up with our beloved friends for months and months. Lockdowns and chaos often intercepted our plans countless times, but last night, although we were running late, we finally managed to lock in a BBQ with this beloved family who have over the years become very close to us.
We were going to make dessert for the dinner, but work on the farm kept us much busier this week than we’d anticipated, so we rushed to New World and bought frozen desserts and then planned on grabbing a nice drop of wine at the bottle shop just around the corner and on the way to our friends home.
We unplugged the car and Damon parked up and I rushed into the store. I was reminded at the door to scan in (something I am usually epically good at remembering) and I rushed around and grabbed a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a really decent bottle of Central Otago Pinot.
Got the the checkout, and the very young clerk asked me for ID. At first I laughed. But he was quite serious.
Flustered, I pulled my mask down really quickly and said: “Oh that’s incredibly nice of you, but I am 43 see” and put it back in place. He didn’t budge. I said the ID was in the car, as I only rushed in with my phone. He politely said I had to get it.
I mumbled “Oh FFS!” and rushed out to grab my purse.
Damon and the kids laughed their asses off for a minute or two, and for some reason that still escapes me, nobody passed me my purse with my ID. Instead, Damon huffed in half chuckling half annoyed with his wallet in hand.
In the end, the clerk refused to serve him as well, and we rushed off empty handed and relayed the story to our hosts who thought the whole thing was quite a compliment and probably owing in no small part to the little house on the prairie pigtails I was wearing that evening.
So here’s the rub of the story I am trying to convey in today’s blog.
Being ID’d at the age of 43 is a huge compliment, but I kinda felt it was quite genuinely absurd too. How many underage people pull up in a Tesla to buy a $60 bottle of wine on a Wednesday evening I thought. Truth is, I am used to getting my way and being treated really well in most situations. I am a spoiled, powerful, wealthy, occasionally whingeing white woman. And both Damon and I were less than awesome in this situation. I could have/should have calmly collected my ID as he asked but the whole situation was just so surreal, and we were in a rush so it played out with almost Cohen Brother movie absurdity instead of just being simply resolved.
This kid was following procedure and actually doing a pretty great job in what I am assuming could be a stressful customer service role. But it all happened so fast and both Damon and I acted without grace but I look at it as a learning exercise.
I could choose to leave a terrible review or never return to that store. Or I can think about how the kid trying to serve us might see the situation. I could have been upset and stomped around and let the whole situation ruin my evening, or I could do what I did and tell the story (with my kids and fiancé as witnesses) and then carry on with a truly magical evening filled with great conversation and huge belly laughs with some of my beloved sparkly people.
I chose the sparkle.
Today as I reflect on the situation, I think I may even put a good google review up stating how professional and polite the clerk was.
So that’s my blog. Crazy wonderful evening, punctuated by a strange but interesting learning event and an opportunity for me to reflect on the kind of person I am and want to be.
Now I will be heading out to run errands and have to deal with many more strangers, and I just hope that I manage to be sparkly not shitty in each and every one of these opportunities today.
And gosh I am grateful for our gorgeous friends. The laughter and hospitality last night has left me almost stunned by how blessed I feel to have such special people in our circle.
Hope I soon get to see more of my favourite sparkly people too.
Thanks for reading.