Three pieces of joy

Lately we’ve been getting a little deep talking about big life things like homebuying and optimizing your friends circle. Today is not that. It’s starting to feel like summer is right around the corner, Chicago is moving into our next reopening phase which means big things for my wedding and that I may be able to go to the Old Town Art fest this year – what?! Let’s just say the good news has been rolling in this week so we’re going to not have serious podcast and instead let’s have some fun!

As I get older, I start to realize the things that excite me look very different than in my 20s and early 30s. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that excite me now that would have also brought joy to my 20-something self like happy hour. I went to my first happy hour in what like 15 months this week. $2 oysters and $6 glasses of rose. What?! For those of you that live in Chicago, New York or the state of California, you may be thinking what’s so big about $6 glass of wine? Let me give you some context. Two other times this week, I got wine after work and I was not at a happy hour and the avg. price of said wine was $20 a glass. And yes, i realize there are cheaper glasses, but this girl doesn’t drink the cheap shit ok? You arent’ going to find me sippin on some Meomi at a restaurant. So for those of you that don’t like doing math in your head, at this happy hour, I could get 3 glasses of wine for the price of 1 and still have money left over for tip! And bonus, the wine was pretty good! Was it as good as the $20 glass? No, but it was decent enough! It wasn’t Meomi!

But there are other things that make me really happy that are a clear indicator I’m getting older. Doesn’t take away from my joy, but it’s just like a reminder that I’m not in my 20s. The first one I thought of the other day was Crate and Barrel.
Crate and Barrel is one of our main registry stores for our wedding. We had CB and Bloomingdales and a little on Bed Bath and Beyond. Some people love Bed Bath and Beyond – like my mom. She loves those damn 20% off coupons – you know the ones. You get on that mailing list and you never have to pay full price at that store. I’m still convinced they just raise thier prices 20% and then send you coupons. It’s like Banana Republic. Have you ever gone into a Banana Republic and paid full price for something? If you have, then you got had or swindled ok. Joke is on you. I walk by Banana Republic all the time because they have a big one on Michigan Avenue and it’s on my route when I walk Ginza and I swear to you, I have never walked by that store when there wasn’t a huge % off, sale sign in the window. Usually it’s 40-50%. Every time. No fail. So if you always have 40-50% off – then is it a sale? Or is that just the price? To me, that’s Bed Bath and Beyond. And honestly, for whatever reason, that’s annoying to me and one of the reasons I don’t shop there.

I like getting a good deal, but I hate bad pricing strategy and confusing marketing calendars so I don’t like supporting retail stores that can’t figure their shit out. Anyway, back to Crate and Barrel.

I remember when my mom would bring me to home stores like CB and I hated it. She was an interior designer when I was growing up so I had to go sit at furniture stores, fabric stores, blind stores, wallpaper stores and home decor stores. Which BTW, the fact that I was dragged around town and had to sit at all these different stores so she could do research shows my age. She wasn’t just googling anything. She had to physically go to multiple stores to see inventory and browse catalgous for samples. But I hated it! It was boring. It was always too quiet and the music was that soft rock or music of yesterday, today and tomorrow station.

Now? I literally go to browse when I don’t even need anything. I find the quiet calming and the same radio station music soothing. Delightful almost. I love how they have things setup, I love looking at plate designs. Small appliances, the different glassware. Love it. Who would have thought I would get so much joy over coasters? Or tupperware options? Napkin rings! I have napkin rings. I own them. I feel like that makes me an adult. When you buy napkin rings – you are officially an adult. And I use them! Not every day, but everytime we have guests for dinner. They come out. And they perfectly match my dinnerware and linen napkins. My dinner table when I host dinner is on point. I have to say. Thanks to our registry because i will admit, prior to our registry we had quite the mixmatch of items that were from IKEA and a mix of Christian’s and mine. But since registry and therefore Crate and barrel – That shit is put together now. Love it.
Next to Crate and Barrel, and not necessarily by priority order but another thing that makes me happy now that didn’t when I was younger, is the laundry. Yes, I said it. And some of you are probably thinking – omg I hate the laundry still and you’re crazy if you like it! But hear me out. Out of the household chores, the laundry makes me happy in multiple ways and touches on multiple senses. Let’s break it down.

First, it makes me feel ultra productive. It’s one of those chores you can get done without giving it your full attention so you accomplish other things at the same time. And you can start it and finish it in the same day. How many things in life can you start and finish in the same day – and multitask while you are doing it?

Second, doing the laundry refreshes my closet. When the laundry is done, I have a full closet again and more options on outfits.

Third, the laundry smells amazing. I’m big into scent. I love Tide Sport with Febreze and then I add in Downy Beads – not Unstoppables, the Fresh Protect Beads. My laundry smells amazing as it’s cleaning and my clothes smell awesome after – and for a while.

Nothing is more satisfying than putting some smelly clothes in the washer – like maybe my workout or tennis clothes. Or I went camping and it smells like the fire smoke and you wash it and it comes out smelling as fresh as ever.

Fourth, I love when you take it out of the dryer and it’s warm. Don’t you just want to roll around in warm clothes when they come out of the dryer? Especcially if you wash like a blanket? And it’s winter. And you just wanna snuggle with the toasty blanket right out of the dryer? Heaven!

I mean, those are just four reasons and I could go on but I’ll leave it there on laundry. So you may have thought I was crazy but don’t even tell me after those reasons you don’t have anything nice to say about laundry. Cuz you’re lying to yourself if that’s the case. It does make a big difference if you don’t have in-unit laundry. Then I could get your point. Once you have it, you never go back to having to lug your laundry around for sure.
The last thing that I truly enjoy now vs. when I was younger is the quiet. My younger self always wanted to be out and about. Talking with other people, surrounded by others. I was always very social and I would get bored if I was by myself. And even if I was by myself, I would watch TV or listen to music or something that had audio.

Now? The quiet is music to my ears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a very social person and enjoy talking with friends or being with others. But it’s only been in the last couple of years I’ve truly started to appreciate the quiet. As I’m sitting here preparing for this podcast, I’m sitting in the quiet. I enjoy going for walks without headphones and just listening to the sounds around me. I love sitting in the park and enjoying the sunshine on my face and the quiet around me. In Chicago, the first time it snows each year is one of my favorite days. I live downtown so it’s rarely quiet, but on that day you could hear a pin drop in the city.

When I am sitting at the Tesla Supercharger, I like to just sit there in the quiet while it’s charging. Just enjoying the quiet by myself. I’m not sure what causes this yearning for quiet. Maybe it’s because when I’m at work I’m always in meetings or talking to someone or hearing someone talk. Maybe it’s because we are constantly surrounded by technology and the sounds it brings to our lives. Maybe it’s because I live in a big city and there’s a consistent volume of noise 24/7. Maybe it’s because as I get older I feel like I have a harder time shutting off my mind and the quiet forces me to not think for a couple of minutes. Give my brain a break for once. Whatever the reason, I notice the quiet now and instead of making me bored or looking to fill it with something, I just sit back and listen.

Crate and Barrel, the laundry and quiet are three things my 20something self would have never thought my almost 40something self would find joy in. But here we are and I have to say, thank goodness. I mean, these are healthy things to find joy in right? Home stores help you build a place that you can relax in and have memories with those you love. The laundry is a necessity so I might as well find some joy in it if I have to do it anyway. And the quiet? At a time in my life that can feel confusing and overwhelming all while time seems to be speeding up – finding joy and appreciating the quiet seems more important than ever. Relishing in the small moments, by myself, noticing the world around me seems like one of the best uses of my precious time. Maybe if I found more joy in the quiet when I was younger, I would have avoided some mistakes or not filled my time with people that weren’t worth it. One of the benefits of a midlife crisis is getting more comfortable with yourself – and that is something I wish I would learned earlier, but am so thankful I’m learning it now.
Until next time!

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