The checkout line at Staples taught me all I ever needed to stay afloat.
At nine and seven, my sister and I played Goldilocks in the desk chair section, spinning in circles on tall-backed leather monsters and flimsy neon plastic seats.
We thought success was a matter of buying the right equipment, the perfect pens, the most comfortable chair, the most prestigious ream of paper.
And in some ways, we were right.
We’d line up behind my dad in the checkout aisle, scanning the treasures at our level—neon arrowhead erasers and jars of hard pretzels and bags of Swedish fish.
But for some reason, our eyes always landed right on the lifesavers.
The minute we learned that—that lifesavers were something you found in the middle of all the world’s structure—something small and safe clicked inside us.
We’d ride home, pocketing those suckers in our cheeks for sometime later. And thirteen years later, I am pulling that lesson back out for that Later.
It’s the reason I keep writing.
Yes, yes, there you are. Fingertips tracing the black on white words that are really only a series of one’s and zero’s. Really only a watered-down version of the beautiful ideas dancing around in my mind and pirouetting through the Staples aisles with my little sister.
Because what happens between Thursday and Monday and Thursday again is something quite magical. Sometime I’ve taken for granted for far too many weeks.
That the minute we start scouring the world for some lifesavers, some lessons to hoard in the backseat of our father’s favorite car, the one he someday sends us to the DMV with, we learn that they are all waiting for us.
Stamped with price tags and flashy promises about being So Good You Won’t Want To Put Them Down.
You won’t want to relinquish control on these gems of ideas that are just waiting the minute you look for them. The minute you train your brain to find the answers in the crevices between concrete slabs and the puckers in leather-backed chairs.
I hope you learn this lesson like you memorize the flavors of those lifesavers. Don’t you worry about getting greedy when you can’t choose between Wint-O-Green and Pep-O-Mint. Because you deserve both.
You deserve to know that lifesavers have been pushing themselves into our lives since 1912, when we realized the Titanic wasn’t resurfacing. That problems weren’t waltzing toward trash cans. That you deserve the feeling you get when everything makes sense.
You deserve one hand in each lesson, one lifesaver draped over each arm. You deserve eyes that see playhouses in office supply stores and lessons in the way she fixes her coffee.
That’s what this blog has brought me every single week. I cannot walk this world blind to the beauty lurking right here, right now, right at the end caps of the Staples shelves.
I hope you find it, too.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.