How Did I Turn Out This Way? (Or Why My Parents Are Way Cooler Than Me)

Webster’s dictionary defines “success” … eww. No. I can’t even joke about how awful that cliche is. In fairness though, I did kind of struggle writing this post. Not for any insightful or intellectual reason – mostly because I’m tired and it’s an inhumane 8 degrees outside.

Anyway, you’re probably thinking, “What monsters raised this woman – full of potential and wonder – to be utterly uninteresting and useless???” You should know though that my parents are actually pretty cool. Even when I was a kid, they made a point of living a life outside of us, which in turn showed us the importance of developing independence and interests as adults. My dad played basketball on Monday nights and raced sailboats on Wednesdays.  My mom played bridge regularly with a few friends and joined a book club. (We also weren’t allowed to talk to her from 8-9pm on Wednesdays because that’s when The West Wing was on, but I guess that’s not really related to the point of this post.)

Seriously you guys, my mother is super talented.

Anywho – I’m not really sure how I missed that message as a kid or why it didn’t sink in effectively, but I totally blame my parents and it’s all their fault! (Not really – My parents are super chill. If I wasn’t related to them, they would be the cool kids I was jealous of/wanted to hang out with.) Somehow, I’m simultaneously just like my family and nothing like them at all. I have plenty of interests and understand the values they taught me – all the usual parental influences. Where we differ is our ability to invest in those interests.

My parents are basically experts at doing things really well. Not in a weird flashy way, but in a truly genuine and enviable way. My mom has successful launched 2 business ventures in my lifetime, both based on a genuine passion and willingness to teach herself new skills from scratch. This includes running a wholesale cut flower business out of our backyard and opening a crazy-successful Etsy shop for her hand-dyed Shibori fabrics (<- shameless plug). My father has recently taught himself videography and invested in several state-of-the-art drone cameras. He even went so far as to get himself licensed with the FAA (as required by law) and is now the local go-to for small businesses and non-profits in need of a media messaging expert. Even my little brother has continued to play basketball weekly after work, despite no longer being able to play on a school-organized team. (He only gets half a credit for this. Not because it doesn’t fit with my point, but because he’s my sibling and can never be lead to think he is superior to me in any capacity. He’s actually turned into a pretty decent human being, but I’m still better.)

My mother’s studio. Not gonna lie, if I had to work in a dark, windowless basement, I wouldn’t get much done.

In college, I actually found people like me – capable, intelligent people – who didn’t have any defined hobbies or didn’t want to keep doing the same things that had defined them in grade school. Unfortunately, they also seemed to catch on to all this faster than me by joining student orgs and developing non-work-related skills. One friend now runs her own hand-made jewelry business, while another has become so proficient at home brewing that he now has multiple beer taps in his house. Even as I type this, Adam is sitting next to me on the couch, teaching himself how to play “Dust in the Wind” on the guitar! Damn him for being talented and motivated and making me feel bad about myself. (The Patriots are playing and they need me! See? Sometimes it’s necessary to sit on the couch and do nothing.)

I guess I don’t really have a point to this post. Just that I’ve been surrounded by amazing examples of hobbiests and self-motivated individuals my whole life and can only hope that a little bit of it has rubbed off on me over time. After all, there are only so many weekends you can spend binge watching 14-hours of Netflix before even that gets old.

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