Girl Scouts, For Life.
I think somewhere in the deep recesses of the Girl Scout manual, there is a code about being prepared (or maybe, upon closer inspection, it’s actually front and center as their motto on their website). Either way, preparation IS the key to success — and it is something I seem to take very seriously.
My mother was always a planner. I think logistics may, in fact, be her favorite word. So I learned at a very early age that if I wanted a yes out of her, I better come to the ask fully prepared with answers for all the necessary logistics. Which, if you practice the entirety of your childhood, instills a sense of general well preparedness in life. Huge asset. On the flip side, it also provides for a seamless lesson in backup plans, but more on that later.
PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
In my adult life, I put this extra measure of preparation into training for the *Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Because the team practiced on the race course in Malibu and I lived in Hollywood at the time. And well, because as we’ve discussed before in LA, traffic, I would always pack not only what was needed for the workout, but for a day at the beach as well.
My friends and I would use the outdoor showers on the beach, hose ourselves down from the sweat and seamlessly move into a lovely day at the beach and an al fresco lunch. (Except for the time I forgot my sneakers and had to run the entire 4-mile run portion of the triathlon barefoot on the beach. Or the time I mistakenly brought two left sneakers and, having remembered the challenge of running barefoot, decided to give the 2 left sneaker thing a go. It actually worked. Back up plans!)
This idea of packing a bag for the day, and the feeling of being “ready for anything” made me feel I could truly be spontaneous. And take the day wherever the wind blew. Which, if you know me, you know is a big deal for me. I cannot commit. I’m a Libra who will endlessly vacillate a decision. If I was packed and ready to go, no decisions were necessary other than YES! This allowed for maximum adventuring in my mid-20s – early 30s.
Eventually, I got more comfortable with the idea of committing (read, I got married). But the idea of packing a bag and being prepared came in handy again when the little one came around.
With diapers, snacks and wipes aplenty, I was always ready to take the little guy somewhere. And thus maintain the idea of spontaneity. And in case you were wondering, no I didn’t keep him on a nap schedule. I didn’t want to commit to having to be home at a certain time. What with traffic and, as it turned out, my little guy never napped anyway! He ONLY napped in the car, so intense was his fear, even at the ripe old age of 2, of missing out. (Unclear where he got that from).
My friends joke, call my bag the old lady purse. Because it’s true, I pretty much have anything in there. You need a wipe? Got it. You need some chapstick? Some hand cream? An extra outfit for your little one? A snack? Some rose tonic spritzer to refresh your face? A hard candy? Without exaggeration, I have it all.
Where is this going, you ask?
Why do I care that you are so prepared? Well, frankly, because it makes me a fun partner in crime. At any given time I can say YES to your last minute idea for an adventure because I am prepared. Which is why, and this will surprise none of you readers here obviously, I firmly believe in having an ace in the hole outfit for a fancy occasion. Something that, regardless of the occasion at hand, makes you feel confident and like a million bucks. My particular outfit was purchased at Nordstrom’s two years ago specifically for a philanthropy event I was on the host committee for. And to this day, the outfit remains my go to. It’s a black jumpsuit that, combined with the right heels, a leather jacket, a fun necklace, maybe some bangles, is up for any occasion, fancy or otherwise.
Where is she going, you think – besides a trip to Target?
While that is indeed true that my life is much more sneakers and jeans than heels and dresses these days, lucky for me, I happen to have friends who are fancy and who tend to invite me places. Because I will say yes at the last minute. This willingness to say yes at the last minute scored me an invite to the HBO Emmy party a few months back.
When I got the call, I calculated how long it would take to get from my then current situation (playdate on the other side of town), to said friend’s house and boom. Ready to go. Because I knew I had my ace in the hole outfit, a leather jacket and some kick ass lipstick. And while it definitely was no match for the fancy dresses the nominees were donning, I did fit happily in the midst somewhere in the below the line work crowd. (and really, with tv and movie stars every which way, no one’s looking at me.)
In the end, the night was fun because it was unexpected. The fancy dinner and unlimited cocktails sure beat the general Monday night slow cooker barbecue chicken. And, the excitement of being a part of TV’s biggest night aside, (though side note, as a card-carrying member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, I do actually get to the vote for the awards) an open bar with top-shelf liquor is reason enough to have a good outfit on hand.