In childhood, declaring your favorites was a mercurial process, changing as quickly as you experience knew things and begin to think about the world in new ways. The common thread, though, is that it is always something fantastic or exciting. You have a favorite color, a favorite snack, a favorite patch of forest, a favorite park, etc. As you grow older, you still have favorites and you still appreciate all of those things, you but you start to develop more mundane favorites. Favorite soap, favorite plates, a favorite mug, favorite socks, favorite times, favorite beverage temperatures. It can seem a little depressing from the outside and it’s frequently held up as a sign of being a boring old adult.
And that’s where you’d be wrong. As someone who grew up with the internet, memes, and constant access to people’s lived experiences, I can say with some unquantifiable authority that developing these kinds of favorites is actually a sign of deep appreciation and careful investment in your own life. Most kids, you see, don’t need to worry about their hands drying out from the soap they’re using or how their hands will smell for the next hour. They want the bottle to be interesting to look at. Most kids have favorite socks, sure, but that’s because they have trains, dinosaurs, or superheroes on them, not because they give you that nice, cushy feeling in your heel and support your arches in a way you never knew socks could.
Most of the time, something being your favorite is about the way it makes you feel. As a kid, it is mostly surface sensation (soft blankets) and the broad but powerful emotions of childhood (batman is cool, so I’m cool because I have a batman toothbrush). As an adult, it is much more precise and exact. I like this soap because it doesn’t dry out my hands, I can use the whole bottle, it doesn’t use any wasteful plastics, and buying it includes a donation to a charity I support. I like exactly four ice cubes in my cup of lemonade when using this specific mug because it chills it to just the right temperature while also watering down the lemonade the exact amount I need. I like this spot on the couch because my neck and back are supported at all of the angles I like to recline in and I can see the TV properly, all without sacrificing access to remotes, controllers, and power outlets.
You don’t get boring as you get older, you just get way more specific. And, as we all know about incredibly specific interests, they’re super uninteresting to people who don’t share them and haven’t learned to either let people like things (it’s really not that hard, c’mon) or who haven’t learned to be generally supportive of other people’s interests. For the person with that specific interest, though, they’re endless fascinating.
There’s nothing wrong with developing these favorites, but telling the world about them is like trying to talk in broad strokes about this hyper-specific work conference you went to in your weirdly small section of expertise. You gotta learn to make the presentation interesting, concise, and informative if you want to hold people’s interest while talking about something they probably don’t care about.
Which is pretty much what this blog is: me talking about my specific interests and trying to find ways to present it all in a way with broad appeal. I’ll claim no more than mixed success, but at least I’m having a good time.