I remember shopping one afternoon, when I was just a few years out of college and was pursuing my M.A. at Georgetown University, at The Social Safeway in DC (fellow Washingtonians, you know which one I’m talking about — and this was BEFORE the renovation, if you can remember that far back). As I unloaded my basket onto the conveyer belt, I engaged in a little game of Snoop-and-Judge with the lady directly in front of me in line. You know–when you eyeball all of the items she’s purchased and make assumptions about her life based on them. She was a well-heeled woman in a well-fitting suit and smart pointed-toe heels. She had a designer bag in mint condition. She was juggling a set of keys to a BMW in one hand and a Blackberry in the other (this was around 2009, FYI.) And, I surmised, she was probably only a few years my senior–possibly even close to my own age.
But she was definitely a woman. A lady. A grown-up. And, as I compared the contents of her shopping basket to mine, I realized I was still a child.
Her basket: Full-fat Greek yogurt. Blueberries. Neatly wrapped parcels from the butcher. (Steak? Chicken breasts, skin-on?) Spears of asparagus. A block of fancy cheese–you know, the kind from the cheesemonger area, not the kind you get pre-packaged from the deli area. Some Carrs crackers. Perrier. A small jug of milk. Cage-free eggs. Baby kale. A melon. Rosemary. A $20 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
My basket: Special K Red Berries. Baked Cheetohs. Coke Zero. Pre-sliced Swiss cheese. Triscuits. Haribo gummy bears.* A few apples. Baby carrots. A tub of hummus. A bottle of Cook’s sparkling wine. Low-fat popcorn. Packaged tortellini.
*OK, I still stand by gummy bears as a worthwhile shopping basket find.
I was so struck by the fact that her basket was that of an adult — someone who was planning to make proper meals throughout the week, who would probably kick off her Manolos (again, this was 2008) in her pristine Georgetown home, pour herself a glass of wine in a Riedel white wine glass, and turn on Duke Ellington to unwind. She might curl up under a cashmere throw by the window with a good book and a goblet of malbec later, watching the storm roll in.
I wondered if I would ever make it there. It felt so unfathomable to me that some future version of myself would be adult enough to, say, buy a salmon steak and cook it for myself, or slice up a melon for breakfast. A melon, people! A melon!
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I’d just had a meeting at The Soho House in Chicago. (OK, it was only 1/8th work-related. The other 7/8ths involved gabbing with another new mom about being a new mom and it was LOVELY. Hi, L! Thanks for the laughter, commiseration, and latte.) I realized I had just enough time to pop into Whole Foods before getting home to feed mini. As I unloaded my cart, it struck me:
I had become that woman.
I looked around to see if there were any snoop-and-judgers behind me to bear witness to this moment of self-discovery. Was there anyone else out there spying on my conveyer belt and thinking to herself: “Wow, now THAT is the shopping basket of an adult?”
So let my basket be my witness: A beautiful piece of halibut. A bundle of small red bliss potatoes. Dill. A bone-in ribeye steak. A pint of cherry tomatoes. A little tub of ricotta. A nest of fresh black pepper pasta from the in-house pasteria (?). A couple of pears. Some calabrian chiles in oil. A box of sparkling water. A bottle of rose. Siggi’s yogurt, full fat. A pair of artichokes. Plugra butter.
So guys: I did it. I’m an adult now. A few other proof points that I’ve recently realized have officially marked my entry and permanent settlement in adult-hood:
+We have a membership at Costco, and we buy boring things like paper towels and garbage bags there, and don’t even pause to consider buying the ginormous bag of Skinny Pop that would have once been at the top of my list.
+We have “a roof guy.”
+We buy and store wine, saving it for its peak year.
+We enjoy reading, watching, and commenting on the news.
+We have Redfin alerts reminding me of the current value of my home and houses listed for sale in neighborhoods of interest to me.
+We have a legit medicine cabinet. And it’s stocked with every medicine and ointment you could imagine. And it’s organized as hell, thanks to two of these.
+We constantly talk about the weather.
+We eat melon for breakfast.
What story does your shopping basket tell about you, I wonder? Consider it next time you check out.
In the meantime, let me also share some fashion picks that feel…grown up. The kind of thing an adult might wear.
For a Working Lunch…
Bounkit mother of pearl earrings ($289) // Alexis balloon-sleeved dress ($435) // M. Gemi flats ($228) // Fendi Peekaboo Bag ($3,995 — sigh. Still at the very top of my lust list) // Smythson notebook ($80) //
For a Big Night Out…
For a Travel Day…
Striped blouse ($60) // J. Brand Maria high-waisted jeans ($190) // Tods’ loafers ($445 — get the look for less with these) // Cuyana monogrammed tote ($265) // Kindle ($119 — it sounds like I need one…check out the comments!)
Some More Grown Up Fashion Finds…