Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Cool Kids, Revisited

Tonight is the Howard County Libraries annual fundraiser, "Evening in the Stacks." For many years I have lamented that I couldn't afford to go. I would look at the photos of the event posted online and have that sense of regret that I wasn't one of the Cool Kids who go to this event and other big-ticket charitable events around town. I did go one year thanks to a free ticket extended to me by a friend. It was wonderful, but for a shy person who came alone it had its limitations.

Now that I am working full time, I am coming to grips with having more disposable income. I am trying to choose wisely when it comes to charitable donations, especially since so many things I believe in are under attack these days. When I woke up this morning I had to face the fact that, now that I have the money to go to Evening in the Stacks, I'm simply too exhausted to want to go.

And I'd have to fight my inner introvert to even make it in the door.

Two thoughts on this:

1. If I thought that the price of admission to being a Cool Kid was merely the disposable income to attend, I was wrong. The Cool Kids have to be willing to make the time, show up, be social, make connections, engage themselves in these events. This is an investment of value. It's not just the money.

2. I feel less concerned about whether or not I'm a Cool Kid than I used to be. Maybe I have found my own ways to make a difference. Or maybe I'm just too tired to care. But I'm definitely done with hand-wringing at the periphery.

Being a Cool Kid takes work. Caring about who is and who isn't a Cool Kid is an effort I'm not willing to pursue anymore. Those folks are clearly doing something I'm not entirely willing to do. I'm grateful that tonight they'll be dressing up and clinking glasses in support of the Library.

Shine on, local social philanthropists. We need you. You make our community better.

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