I Miss When Things Felt Special
It was Valentine's Day and I was maybe 23. My boyfriend was taking me to Outback Steakhouse for Valentine's Day dinner. I spent weeks planning my outfit. You would have thought I was having dinner with the Queen of England. We each got a salad and we shared one entree because he couldn't afford two. It was one of the best Valentine's Days I ever had. I don't know why, but that night has been etched in my memory for years and if you're close to me you've probably heard that story. I tell it because now, a dinner at Outback wouldn't mean that much to me. It definitely would't feel as special or important. It would just be dinner at a restaurant. And that's the point of this post. I miss when things felt special. This isn't about money and being able to afford things I couldn't afford in the past. It's about the sense of joy and excitement about new things that become more normalized over time.
Is there something in your life now that you don't think much about anymore, but it used to be a big deal? Maybe you hop on a plane at a moment's notice, but a few years ago air travel and going on a trip was a huge deal. Or maybe you drop $50 on a mani pedi without batting an eyelash when years ago $50 was a splurge and you wouldn't be able to afford such luxuries. For the record, I could NEVER drop that kind of money on a mani/pedi. I do my own nails and get about 2 pedicures a year.
I remember a few other things that used to feel special.
The first time I was going on an international trip I was about 22. Two weeks in Greece and Italy. I remember laying in bed a few nights before the trip thinking "Wow! I can't believe in just a few days I'll be on the other side of the planet." Now I hop on an international flight without much thought and am mostly thinking about having enough snacks for the flight (priorities).
Want a good laugh? I remember the first time I was asked to sit in a meeting at work. I almost did a backflip. "A meeting??? Oh my gosh yes of course I'd love to join. I'd be honored." I felt so grown up and important and marched into that meeting with my head held high.
I remember the first time I spent time at the ocean. I was on vacation with my family in Cannon Beach Oregon. We rented a cabin on the ocean and I would just sit and stare at the ocean, amazed at how vast it was.
I remember the first time I drove my car by myself. I was 16. I drove it around the neighborhood when my parents were at work (I wasn't supposed to be driving alone yet). I screamed with joy at the top of my lungs going 15 MPH. Freedom.
I giggle at my younger self now, but at the time those all felt like earth-shaking, exciting, new adventures. I sometimes wonder when something will feel special again. REALLY special. I mean, I have a few ideas:
- When I get engaged
- When my book becomes a New York Times best-seller
- When I meet Oprah
But what about a steak dinner? Or the ocean? Or a meeting? I have to wonder (using my best Carrie Bradshaw voice) - do things stop feeling special after we do them a few times, or have we simply forgotten to see the specialness in everything? What I know for sure is I loved that feeling and I'm pretty sure we can all recapture at least a little bit of it by choosing to see the magic in everything around us.
I also recorded a Podcast about this topic. Listen here.