That Moment When You Stop Caring About Being "Cool" – POPSUGAR

There’s a line in Almost Famous about the decline of rock ‘n’ roll, where Lester Bangs laments that it’s just becoming “an industry of cool.” I was 16 when the movie came out, and it was (and still is) one of my favorites, but my teenage self didn’t fully “get” the joke. What’s wrong with being cool? Wasn’t that all I aspired to be? Wasn’t that what kept me up at night as I analyzed every little thing I may have done that day at school that could have been perceived as uncool by my crush, my friends, the “cool” kids?

Trying to be cool is exhausting, and it’s not until you get to the other side of it that you realize just how much time and energy is wasted on this futile endeavor. Thankfully, I’ve gotten to that other side. One day, I just woke up, and realized I had stopped caring about being cool. It could have been when I turned 30, or it could have been when I no longer recognized any of the bands on the Coachella lineup.

Either way, in my early 30s I definitely noticed in a shift in my behavior and a general “I don’t give a f*ck if people think I’m cool or not” attitude. Some of the uncool things I started doing included:

  • Trying out fashion trends a good year after they peaked. (“Can I pull this off?” being the question I ask myself every day.)
  • Not having enough energy to go to the latest Instagrammable “museum.”
  • Discussing the best travel credit cards at book club.
  • Going to book club.
  • Not watching Game of Thrones and other superpopular TV shows and movies.
  • Instead watching snail-paced British mysteries that star 50-something small-town detectives or priests who solve murders.
  • Not wearing makeup in public because it’s the weekend and I’ll look half-dead if I want to.
  • Listening to ’90s country music because I like it, OK. (Also, you know you’re getting old when your music taste hasn’t changed since you were in high school.)

After all, I have too many other things to worry about than being cool. Such as:

  • Doing well at my job.
  • Visiting family while they’re still here and healthy.
  • Fostering my friendships.
  • Playing with my nieces and nephews before they turn into teenagers who are too “cool” for me.
  • Traveling as much as is physically and financially possible.
  • Investing in my marriage.
  • Reading my next book club book.
  • Doing what I can to help others in these weird, sh*tty times.

The beauty of this uncool mindset is that you’re free to not be so focused on yourself, which frees up some space to think about others. Obviously, I still have priorities that involve my own personal well-being, but being hyperaware and self-analytical about whether you’re looking, being, dressing, or acting cool is a full-time job that centers on you, you, you. It’s also stressful! When you do what you actually want to do and what makes you happy, instead of what you feel societal or peer pressure to do, without shame and without giving a f*ck, that’s when you’re really able to live a fulfilling life.


Write a Reply or Comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.