On a continuum there is uncool, cool and jaded. There were times I wished I were more in the cool zone than the uncool, but I’m glad to say I have yet to fall into the jaded. Because jaded is just sad.
I first recognized these categories when I was working at Busch Creative. It was the funnest division of (what was) an already fun company. Our group was in charge of things like spring break activities and conventions for a company that sold FUN. You would think this would be staffed by a bunch of really fun people.
Some were, but most were at least too cool and quite a few fell off into jaded. They had an attitude of ‘been there, done that, nothing exciting’ (said in a monotone voice). Most were not old, but they were worldly. For them this was the job they got after traveling the world running tours for bands. They had seen a lot and done a lot by the time they were 35 or 40. So maybe they were justified in being jaded, but that didn’t make it all any less sad (and a memorable lesson for me.)
I was 25 when I started working there, so I had youth combined with a natural joie de vivre that stood out in stark contract to the others. They laughed at me for getting excited about any and everything. I would be like, “we get to go out to lunch on the company dime — WooHoo!!” and they would counter by complaining that there wasn’t a single good restaurant to go to in all of St. Louis. Wherever we all ended up eating they would have to tell me what was wrong with the food there and how you could get much better (insert name of food) in Shri Lanka or Prague. Each of them carried a big bottle of Tabasco in their briefcase which they would use to liberally douse on their lunch before ever taking a bite to see how it tasted. It was almost a contest of who could be the most blase and jaded while having this amazingly cushy, fun job.
I was young enough that I considered becoming more like them, acting too cool just to fit in with the group. But it was just too much against my nature. I was super excited by everything that happened there. I traveled, met celebrities, and had swag coming out my ears that I could share with my friends and cute guys. There was too much to like not to be all happy puppy about it. When I left I had a swag-filled apartment and a promise to myself to avoid ever being jaded.
Generally I think I’ve kept that promise. I still get ridiculously uncool and overly excited about small things: a new restaurant, a new store, a new flavor of pop tarts, the movie theater that is opening near me. I’m working in another environment where too cool is in. University instructors who get all excited about cookies at the faculty meeting or a small bonus check are seen as something less (usually less smart). But I am standing firm in uncool and unjaded. It works for me. Big joy over little things gives me a fuller life, more fun along the way, more joie de vivre.