On Party Socks and Expensive Silverware
I own one pair of party socks. And by “party socks,” I mean a pair of white, no-show socks with red and orange stripes on the arch. They fit beautifully, and, in my opinion, look cute. I estimate that their retail value is somewhere around 50 cents. But they are my favorite socks nonetheless.
I usually keep them in my drawer, until one of two things happens. First—the more likely of the two explanations—I need a pair of socks because I haven’t done laundry in…well, a while. Or, the second option, it’s one of those days.
You know those mornings when you wake up and think, “Please give me something to get through today.” It’s on those days that I don my party socks.
Now you’re probably wondering how an old pair of dime-a-dozen socks has anything to do with The Smile Project or inspirational or motivation—but just bear with me for a second.
The party socks sound good in theory:
-Keep an emergency $20 bill in your car in case your wallet is stolen or you suddenly need $20 for, you know, an emergency…
-Don’t wear that beautiful necklace to the grocery store. Put it on when we go out to that fancy restaurant next week…
-Save the Snickers bar your friend gave you for tomorrow. It’ll taste so much better after you finish that big presentation…
-Wear the party socks on a day when you need extra encouragement in the shape of a foot glove…
That rationale behind all those sentiments is logical (or at least semi-logical). But in reality, all I hear is one big excuse for not making today as awesome as it could be.
I’m not saying “be impulsive and careless.” An emergency $20 in the car is actually a great idea! What I’m telling you to do is bust out the metaphorical good silverware.
What good is a beautiful new pair of earrings if you are too afraid to wear them for fear of them breaking?
What good is a clean pair of sneakers if you’re afraid of stepping in the mud?
Things are meant to be used! Places are meant to be explored! Why are you waiting for the snow to melt, for the sun to shine, for a better day?
What is wrong with today?
I’m constantly writing story ideas in notes section on my phone or sticky notes on my computer or in the margins of the copious amounts of notebooks I’m constantly carrying. I jot the idea down, as if I’m saving it for another day. As if there will be a better time to write it.
I save the idea so that, at some point in the future when I’m having writers block, I can refer back to the note from a month ago.
While I love having a constant stream of inspiration, I simply think that this ideology is another way to sell myself short.
When I write notes to a future “Liz,” it is almost as though I’m giving myself a free pass:
“Hey, Liz, I know at some point in the future you’ll be really stuck. How about you do this? I’m sure you won’t have any more good ideas so let’s stretch out the ones you have now so that you’ll have something to work with later.”
I’m undermining my own success. If I instead write the words I need to produce, I’m not only allowing myself to grow as a writer, but as a person who simply decided that the future will take care of itself. I will have more good ideas later. I don’t need to acorn-store them all right now.
Note: This isn’t to say you should wipe out your bank account and start living with reckless abandon. If we’re personally acquainted, you’ll know I’m much too organized and structured for that anyway. I’m simply telling you to use the good silverware at dinner tonight. Wear that new dress for no reason other than making yourself feel beautiful. Paint your toenails even though nobody will see them through your winter boots. But most importantly, wear your party socks the second they get out of the dryer.
I promise, you’ll realize that it was never really about the socks.