I could get so into this – this neurotic behavior I’ve been noticing of late – consumerism, attention-seeking, self-interested behavior. It would be so easy just to fall right into those habits and pretend I don’t even know they exist.
I like this having money thing. I bought a few necessities when I came to Boulder, some coat hooks, a clock radio, a curtain and curtain rod for my unfinished room, some moccasin boots. Okay, so the boots weren’t a necessity, but they were cheap (relatively) at a second hand store and I’ve been wishing for a pair for years. See how easy it is to justify consumerism? To look at the boots and see how happy they make me for that moment and not see the underlying causes? I’m actually looking forward to some shopping this weekend, at thrift stores and garage sales to see if I can pick up a real mattress and a small dresser or set of drawers. The real test will be the Boulder Arts Festival on Monday.
It’s not that I really guilt myself over my spending habits, or ever regret my purchases, which I certainly don’t. I just know that in the end these are things I don’t need which I buy purely because they make me happy. And deep down I know that buying things can’t really make me happy. I’d like to get to a place where I don’t even feel the urge. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I’m meeting a lot of new people lately and that brings out the needy in me, or at least I notice it more. I’m living with a wonderful lady named Anne. We chat in the evenings and sometimes I can make her laugh. Her whole face crinkles up and she gives this wonderful chuckle. I find myself wanting to make her laugh more often, but it’s not a pure intent. Whenever she laughs she confirms that I’m witty and smart and funny and I like that feeling, more so than I like taking joy in her laughter. I think it should be the other way around.
At work there has been much “So what do you do and where are you from and how do you like Boulder?” going back and forth. I get the impression a lot of people are being polite, but that’s probably because that’s what I am doing. It took me many years to learn to ask people questions about themselves and many more years to genuinely listen. The refuge of the school outcast is to stop caring about other people in hopes that you’ll stop caring what they think about you. It never really works, but it is a deep habit I have spent years trying to overcome.
I always feel like if they just know a little bit about me, maybe they’ll find me interesting. Maybe I’ll be interesting enough to be their friend, for them to want to get to know and invite out to things or come to events I have. There’s a level of desperation, of lost little girl, in that feeling which I don’t like. I’ve learned to balance conversations and on the whole I’m making friends. The people at work are bright, funny, active, and interesting.
Being in a new place keeps me on my toes. It helps me notice my behavior and all the things going on behind my eyes, underneath my smile. It helps me develop and find my habits. It alters my status quo and shifts my comfort zone. Maybe that’s why I like travel, why I like to live in different places. As much as I learn about other people, places, and cultures, I also learn about myself. Either way, I think this summer will be good for me here. It’s new, but not too new, not so new as to be a struggle.
Just the right amount of shaking up.