Every year at Christmas a few of my friends and I buy gifts for Toys for Tots in lieu of getting gifts for each other. Which means that once each year this single, happily childfree gal drives herself to a toy store, during the holiday season, and walks in. Deer in the headlights, right? Actually, no — I love going to toy stores. Why? Because, um, they’re toys. They’re fun. I remember all the things I used to love as a kid and, let’s be honest, would still happily play with if they were plunked in front of me and I had a few hours to kill.
Up until this past semester, I’ve been a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to homework and studying. I work best by myself so I can spend time tackling problems quietly and looking through notes and books when I need to understand something better. I have spent countless hours at my favorite coffee shop working through problem sets and searching for help online. This has always worked really well for me and I enjoy it. I learn well by reading and reviewing examples and then working through problems on my own, building up different tips and tricks in my head as I make mistakes and then correct them. It’s a solitary process, perfect for my highly analytical, introverted self.
After a particularly difficult day in class a couple of weeks ago, I blurted out to my friend, “This semester has broken my spirit!” As soon as I said it, I wished I hadn’t. “Is that really true?” I thought to myself. If so, it’s pretty dire. I have revisited the statement numerous times since I said it, wavering back and forth between feeling that I was being overly dramatic and feeling that it was entirely accurate.
So I was invited to a painting party about a week ago. This is an event in which a bunch of friends get together at a little storefront in a strip mall wherein a bunch of canvases are set up. A “lead artist” takes the friends through the creation of a chosen painting while the friends drink wine, eat snacks and each person tries to convince the group that they are, in fact, the worst painter at the event. When it was all over, we each had a more-or-less identical painting of a whimsical little Christmas tree in a snowy grove at night.