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Making Time For the Important Things │ Living a Simple Life

 A couple weeks ago, I stood in line outside of a thrift store I frequent waiting for it to open at 9:00.

I'm not sure why there are unwritten rules for this thrift store (none of my Goodwills have this issue) but this thrift store -which is one of the many thrift stores I frequent to source for my online vintage shop - has a long line on Tuesdays. They're closed on Sunday and Monday, so I'm sure that's part of it.

Tuesday is also their sale day and people like me who resell vintage, as well as others - many retired folks looking for a good deal - stand in line waiting for the doors to open. I feel very much like cattle being prodded into a pen.  

I was standing in front of a woman who reminded me of my grandmother. Next to her, was a young man, maybe 25, who was doing his best to ignore both of us. He was there to do what I was doing: sourcing for items to resell. I think I heard him say something about electronics.

The woman? She was there because she was on a fixed budget and she loved thrifting. I felt like I could relate to both of them.

She was a talker. She probably needed to talk badly. I assumed her days got long and boring at times and having someone to talk, to because we were stuck in a line, was a dream come true. 

After all, women need to talk more than men. Like, three times as much, just to feel good. This lady was living it up and getting in her words as quickly as she could! Who knew when she would have this opportune time again.

It's no wonder women talk to themselves. It's a part of our physiology and a part of being the phenomenal group of the female species.

I wondered how much talking this lady took part in for a day, particularly this Monday morning. I also wondered if she stood in line just to talk. Totally understood if she did.

Throughout the ten minutes we stood, this woman would ask the young man what he was looking for, and then she got onto vintage clothing and specifically mentioned an Eddie Bauer jacket that she still owned. She said she loved that jacket and that things just weren't made the same anymore.

I could not have agreed more. Vintage is superior to so much of our modern counterparts. 

And I thought about telling her that, but then that would mean answering questions from her, and this young man was doing fine fielding all of the questions.

I could tell he was a little exasperated with her. He was essentially answering questions from his grandmother. I'm sure he just wanted to put his nose into his phone and ignore her, but he kindly answered each question.

And kept answering her questions. 

I wanted to congratulate him on being the kindest Generation Z kid I've ever met. But, I didn't want to make him think he was talking to his mother. Being next to your grandmother is one thing, but also your mother? That was a sandwich I'm sure he wanted nothing to do with.

This day was a great reminder of several things:

  • Women need to talk. Let them talk. 
  • Vintage is (almost always) better than modern 
  • There are young people out there who care... and they care about older people! 

I feel like he reinvigorated my trust in younger folks. This young man could have thought he had far better things to do than answer questions from a grandma he didn't know.

Nevertheless, he let her talk and responded with a sweet reply to each question.

The thing about living a simple life is this: we get to spend time doing what really matters. Sure, making a living is important. But, that's a small part of our cornucopia of the rich life we're learning to keep.

This young man was at the thrift store to make money, but he was also being kind, and honest. He let this woman he'd never met before ask him questions and tell him things he would never need to know, and he did it without telling her to leave him alone.

Grown and Flown Book: For parents with College Age kids
Grown and Flown Book!
He was living the tenets of a simple life and I was so proud of him.

He'll never know I heard all of this, or that I cared, but I really did. It was endearing and a beautiful thing to witness.

Speaking of proud, Grown and Flown (a fabulous website devoted to a range of issues relating to parenting teens and college students) recently published a piece of mine about how I felt when my son told me he wanted to enlist in the Marines

My son may not want to do this still (he's a high school senior and is figuring out all of it), but my need to express my thoughts on it oozed out of my heart and onto the proverbial paper.

I don't need to speak 20,000 words a day but I surely think them. And if I'm especially lucky, I get to write them onto the computer screen for all of you to read.

But here's what I know: sometimes living a simple life looks like choosing quiet over chaos. Other times, it means listening to a lady you don't know talk to you in line at the local thrift store.