Check out Tuukka's "I don't care about anything" face. Pretty cute on him. The title of my post is an exaggeration, but now that you're here, let me explain what I'm thinking. As you know, I work with teenagers, and I'm always floored by how much of their energy and attention goes into paying attention to what others think about them.
Here's a short list of things I get to do because I don't care if they're cool or make me look smart:
- wear lots of sparkles
- read romance novels
- laugh aloud at puns and tell "dad" jokes
- carry fruit snacks with me at all times
- knit in meetings
- swap out my shoelaces for bungee-cords
- admit what I don't know
- correct my mistakes openly
- apologize when I fall short/take wrong turns
And here's why I get to do these things: I realized a long time ago that I'd rather spend time with the people who don't care if I'm cool than the people who do. For the teenagers reading this, I've got a bonus fact here. Most of your peers are thinking about themselves, not about you. Imagine what the under-twenty crowd could accomplish is they shut off the I-want-you-to-think-I'm-cool part of their brains and used only the other parts (which have way more synapses firing than my older brain does). They could end/reverse climate change, create a just government and social support systems, end poverty, invent candy with the health benefits of broccoli. Think of how much fun people could have getting dressed each day if they chose each item based only on its comfort and ability to make themselves smile.
I'm not advocating selfishness or solipsism, just that we change our definitions of "cool" from one that forces us into little boxes to one that opens up all the possibilities.
I do care what you think...and hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments.