The realisation that I’ll never be cool, and why I’ve stopped caring

I’ve just spent the weekend with friends, as we have been to see Florence and The Machine, which was the first time I’ve ever seen the band live. It’s left me feeling high in the clouds, totally in awe, and given me a real passion for her music once more.

And whilst I was there, dancing, moving and observing Florence perform on stage for a few hours, I couldn’t help but feel captivated and enchanted by her. I wanted to be Florence (up there) performing my work to thousands of people, for a few short moments. She’s talented, bewitching, and utterly mesmerising. But most of all — she’s effortlessly cool.

Throughout my entire life I’ve always watched cool people from afar and admired them/wanted to be like them. The cool girls at school. Cool friends I knew in my twenties. In the public arena — musicians, actors, writers. But being cool myself never, ever came naturally. No matter how hard I tried (and I did, believe me).

At school I worked hard and listened to my teachers because I was sensible and driven and wanted to get on in life. Intelligence didn’t come naturally and so in order to succeed I knew I had to keep my head down (and out of trouble). But that meant that the kind of people I hung around with were fairly sensible, straight and conservative. And let’s face it, people like that don’t usually tend to do cool things, do they?

In my twenties, at the end of a busy day working in Human Resources Management, I liked to go out, get drunk and enjoy myself. House music was my preference and those nights with my mates were a lot of fun. But wild and hedonistic? They were not. The very cool people I knew would go on weekend benders. They would be addicted to drink or drugs. They would hang out in the best nightspots with the most interesting people. They would sit up, into the small hours of Sunday morning, complaining about how they hated their stifling jobs, the ‘regime’ and the oppression that management brought upon them. Me? Well I was first into work on Monday morning, couldn’t wait to grab the next promotion opportunity and salary increase that was headed my way. I was a hamster on the corporate wheel and bloody well going for it.

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I must have always had a deep-down longing to be cool though. As a young woman, when I watched the movie Grease, it was Rizzo who was the one that I wanted to be (you know, the one who looked forty-five, got knocked up, then it turned out she wasn’t after all). Because Rizzo was strong, sassy and very cool. Women admired her; she walked with swagger. However, in reality I was more like Sandra Dee…shy, awkward, said stupid things, and unpopular. A bit of a nerd.

I also remember (later on in life) when Sex and The City exploded onto our screens and how I too yearned to be like Carrie; living a City-girl life, dating sexy and complicated men, and writing her magazine column from her apartment. In reality though I was way more like Charlotte than I cared to admit…aka nice and sweet, desperate to settle down and live in an immaculate house, have lots of babies, and basically know that I’d feel complete when I found ‘The One’.

In my mid-late thirties, however, I was probably at the most uncool point in my entire life. Although I’m not sure I knew many new mothers who could remain cool when faced with zero sleep, dirty nappies, Peppa Pig as your only reference material, and fellow Mum-friends who only ever talked about leaky boobs and baby poo.

But two kids, a ten year marriage, writing a blog and turning forty all has a funny way of grounding you and making you realise exactly what’s important in life…i.e. not chasing something you aren’t, and being happy with your lot. I am incredibly happy right now and I know my own mind. So why would I now give a flying fuck about wanting to be perceived as cool?

Because what does it matter anyway?

I have also realised recently that NOT ONE of my traits lends themselves to being a cool person and nor will they ever be, so the pursuit of cool (for me) is very flawed. I’m not laid back, I am not spontaneous, I’m not a trendsetter, I am not quirky or eccentric, and wild is *not* a word that would ever be used to describe me. Me? Well, I never run out of milk, I have the same lunch nearly every day, I live in a new-build home, I shop on the high street in the same four stores, I use a Google Calendar to meticulously plan the next three months of my life, and I have a healthy savings account. I’m mainstream and I am conventional.

But do you know what? That’s SO okay. Because, despite not having been in cool gangs my entire life, or lead a cool existence, what I have done is worked very hard and had a great time along the way. And right now I have a two amazing kids, a wonderful husband, a fantastic group of mates and a modern career that I love…and so I’m happier than I ever have been.

So I’m redefining the meaning of the word ‘cool’ — in my own head — to that of someone who is happy in their own skin, confident, aware of their own mind and extremely content with their life.

I am therefore one very, very cool woman indeed.

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Written by Editor, Jess Soothill

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Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

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8 Comments

  1. November 19, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    Love this as I have also always yearned to be “cool” when, in fact, I am far from it (crazy cat lady, ex-Accountant, had the same hairstyle since I was 4….just a few reasons!). The only “cool” thing I’ve ever done is buy a place in Ibiza with my husband although I spend many a conversation laughing about how ironic it is given how totally uncool I am. But I love your redefining of the word…..at the end of the day, what does cool really mean anyway? I look at you and would totally say you’re cool as you always look amazing and stylish which, to me, is cool given I am still wearing stuff I’ve had since the 90s……and not in a cool/vintage way, I can assure you! Haha! So yeah, great blog. Keep being you as you’re defo cool from where I’m sitting!

  2. November 19, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Never have I ever been cool. Never! Like you, I’m just not laid back enough. I like organisation and accountability. No wonder we thrived in corporate environments 😉

    • Jess
      Author
      November 20, 2018 / 11:40 am

      We definitely have our own non-cool gang and I love it!

  3. November 19, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    Absolutely perfect Jess could have been written about me! I’m still learning to be completely at home in my own skin but certainly getting there! Thanks for the great post once again x

    • Jess
      Author
      November 20, 2018 / 11:41 am

      Thanks s much Gemma much appreciated, really pleased you liked it.

  4. November 20, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    Interesting post! I always wonder though – what defines ‘cool’? I think it’s cool that the young people I teach are into musicals and culture. I think it’s cool that we have so many books to read that teach us about places and people. I think it’s cool that we are more aware of the implications of drink and drugs, enabling us to make decisions that empower us. Does that make me uncool?

    • Jess
      Author
      November 21, 2018 / 4:34 pm

      No way, I think that knowing your own likes and dislikes is the best kind of cool 🙂

  5. November 24, 2018 / 11:41 pm

    Jess you write so well.
    …you and I, we go way back on this blogging scene. You have changed and blossomed into a beautiful, cool and confident woman over those years! I love you for that and I think you may have found yourself? Keep evolving darl cos you are brilliant at this stuff
    Ashley xxx

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