The first house I bought was built in the 1950’s. It was very old-fashioned, with ugly bright green trim, polished brass hardware and a rounded kitchen nook. I loved everything about that house. It was the symbol of my independence, and it still is.
When I bought the house, I didn’t want to change anything about it, even the things that needed to be changed. The only thing I did was replace the doorbell, which didn’t work anymore.
I still have that old doorbell somewhere.
One time shortly after I moved in, someone from work gave me a ride home. When she saw the house she said, “So this is it.”
“This is it,” I said. “It needs some work, of course. I’ll have to paint over that trim.”
I didn’t tell her that I secretly liked it just the way it was.
As it turned out, though, I regretted not telling her that, because she beat me to it.
“I like it how it is,” she said. “It’s cute. It’s old-fashioned. It’s perfect.”
A few years later, when I finally did repaint the trim, I used the original shade of green. It is still an ugly color. And it is still perfect.
It takes a long time to learn not be embarrassed about being weird, and it is much harder than anyone makes it out to be.
I learned something from that girl’s little comment, and for the next year, I worked on being whoever I wanted to be.
I would never become materialistic, I decided. I would live as an artist for the rest of my life, probably unmarried (at least until the age of forty). I would decorate my house in bright orange and other bright colors. I would take lots of walks and eventually be successful but never famous, and even if I was famous, I’d never wear expensive clothes—I would wear crazy things from thrift stores instead. Or I’d dress very plainly, to show that I wasn’t trying to be different.
If I did decide to marry, I would only marry someone who was very deep, someone, I told myself, who would understand why even though he was a man, I called him beautiful.
I discovered things about myself, too. I discovered that I was strong—stronger than I ever realized before. I discovered that a little loneliness was actually necessary for me to be really happy, and that in some ways, being alone was better than being in a relationship—more romantic.
Then, a year later, Jake proposed.
I said yes.
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“I don’t know what to say other than it is the most beautiful book that I have ever read.” – Ashley
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Get What I Learned from Jane on Amazon.
More Stuff to Read:
Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.
There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)
These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
Kids, here it is. Have at it.
- Spiritual-But-Not-Religious Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
- All Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday
I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.
Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.
- My Mostly Ridiculous Self-Improvement Journal
- 150 Life Hacks for Getting Suddenly Awesome
- Suddenly Awesome Miscellany (And, Let’s Be Real: Book Promos)