Remember to Take Off the Tags

I was working from Starbucks earlier today and became amused at the guys sitting at the neighboring table. One buddy walks in and the one originally there instantly teases him about his big, untucked shirt and short tie. He had been on an interview and admits that it’s his Dad’s shirt. My eyes glanced over and there it was. The blue dry cleaning tag, small, but glaringly obvious still on the shirt towards the bottom. How had no one noticed? I so wanted to tell him, then I thought, bless his heart, let him enjoy the downtime with his buddy and not correct him. I’m sure his Mom will when he gets home as he mentioned still living there.

They proceeded to talk and jab decide where they were going for lunch, much in the way carefree friends do right out of college. Mr. Big Shirt dropped a few colorful words here and there, then talked about walking his dog and used the word poop as if he were talking with his Mom. In a weird way it was a sweet reminder of that stage in life when you’re trying to find your way as an adult, not quite grown up but headed in that direction, yet holding on to your freedom of youth.

I thought of my friends and that fun stage (minus the colorful language), how three of them flew out to Denver when I had moved here and we road tripped it to the mountains in a day and back just so they could see it, then dragged them out at night to meet up with this boy named Todd that I had met just a few months after moving to Colorado.

My reminiscing quickly turned to giggling at myself as I recalled my 1st corporate job out of college. Todd and I were headed to my company Christmas party in 1998. We had been dating almost a year. I had gone in 1997, but was just 2 months into the working world then. Now I had a whole year under my belt, was in a new role within the same Marketing department, traveling across the country doing tradeshows, happy as could be with my boyfriend, and felt on top of the world.

Most of the people there were headed home somewhat early in the night to relieve babysitters and get back to their families. I for one was excited that I was finally a “grown up” and didn’t get carded when I asked for a glass of wine at the bar (wine at 23? I was trying to be grown up).

A neighbor of mine came over to my apartment once Todd arrived to pick me up to take a picture of us. I had a Charlie Brown looking tree, decorated crookedly but it was all mine and it was real. Between that and my prized Laura Ashley bedding (it was the 90’s, and I am from the South), I truly remember feeling at that time like life was grand.

Todd and I danced. We danced and danced and smiled and enjoyed each others company. Carefree. 23 and 24. Then, as the night ended, he looked at me with a strange look on his face. “Mindy, I think there’s something on your dress.”

Oh no! Did I sit in something? It was a beautiful light grayish-lavenderish (I am part color blind, I honestly don’t know which color it was) dress that I felt beautiful in. And it was Ann Taylor. I loved shopping at Ann Taylor. There and Casual Corner to get the full “corporate woman” look. Now my cute boyfriend is telling me as we’ve been one of the only ones on the dance floor, that it’s ruined (I overreacted in my head a little).

Silly me, it wasn’t a stain. He said “come here, wait, there it is”. And in all its glory, the price tag was on the dress. In full view, hanging out of the criss-cross back. How I hadn’t seen that, felt that, Todd see it, or my neighbor for that fact, I’ll never know. To top it off, I found it on sale. I love a good bargain. So not only was I representing Ann Taylor, but also her clearance rack as the price tag had a huge red slash through it.

So for all you early 20’s out there (who am I kidding most of my friends are more likely their parents, but may appreciate this and reminisce themselves), in the middle of figuring out how to be a grown-up while you’re still enjoying being somewhat of a kid, please remember this: enjoy the moments.

What a special time in your life! Your friendships will grow and change. You’ll make lots of new ones + still treasure the old ones, and you’ll meet lots of interesting people along the way. You will find a job. And another one.

Don’t get “hung up” on the little things, but embrace the journey for the great big things coming your way. And whether from the dry cleaners or the clearance rack, remember to take off the tags 😃


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