Cookie cutters are designed to make every cookie the same. We are not cookies, that is not how our lives are supposed to be. Are you hiding what is special and unique about yourself under the safety of conformity?
I recently went on a tour of new homes. Designed to feature the latest in construction, colors, and decorating, it is a popular attraction and I’ve enjoyed wandering through these beautiful homes for many years. This year, for the first time, I noticed that the homes, while built with different floor plans, were remarkable similar. It was like they were cut from the same cookie cutter, and then decorated with the same icing. Only the sprinkles were different.
I was not impressed. These were large, expensive homes, but seemingly designed around a pattern for what people want. Every house had dark brown wood beams, oblong tiles in either gray or dark brown, and a stand alone bar with dark cabinets and two floating wood shelves. Every kitchen featured stainless steel appliances, a large island with stools topped off by three glass pendant lights, and white or gray cabinets with silver hardware. Walls were painted a light gray- in all rooms in every single house.
At first I thought that it was the economy. Builders are playing it safe by designing houses that appeal to the current trends- and to the masses. But some of the houses were sold, and even those did not deviate from the pattern. Am I alone in thinking that if I were going to spend over a half a million dollars for a home that I would not want it to look like every other home on the block?
I see the same thing in clothing. We recently went on a dinner cruise. I wore white pants and a navy tank top with gold sandals. Every other woman on the boat wore a short casual dress with flat sandals and a statement necklace. Every man wore white or khaki cargo shorts with a long sleeve shirt. Was there a dress code I missed? Where was the Boho maxi, the funny guy in the Jerry Garcia shirt, the elderly woman in pastel polyester? Not that I’m craving pastels or polyester- but a little variety would add some flavor.
Cookie cutter is definitely “In.” I look at the beautiful family photos on Facebook and see the pattern. Choose three colors. Mom, Dad, and the kids each wear a variation of the three colors. One person will wear stripes. So if the colors are black, blue chambray and white, Mom wears black pants and a chambray shirt with an infinity scarf. Dad wears jeans with a black sweater. Little Maddie wears a light blue and black striped dress and charming Charlie wears black pants, a white button down and an a tiny blue plaid bowtie. It is all very coordinated, and adorable, I admit. But after a while, I’ve seen this pose and I’ve seen this family many times-different configurations of people wearing different colors, but similarly coordinated.
There is a time, in our youth, when we strive to fit in, to look and act like everyone else. It is easy to succumb to peer pressure or to try to keep up with the Joneses. But that phase should end as you develop your own tastes and come to understand who you are and what you love.
When you know who you are- don’t be afraid to express it. Paint your walls blue, or beige or yellow, even thought gray is the “in” color of the moment. If your family has three generations of tennis champs- hang those rackets on the wall proudly. Your home should showcase who you are and what is special to you, not look like every other home on the block. I love to see homes that are interesting, thoughtful, and meaningful to the person who lives there. I may not like your style, or want it in my own home, but I love to see your individuality.
I hope you wear clothes that look good on you and that you love. Drag out Grandma’s pearls if you love them, and wear them happily. Pass on fringe if it makes you feel like a 70’s leftover. You will always look better being true to yourself than those who blindly follow the latest trend. There is a beauty and confidence in knowing who you are and dressing accordingly. You might be the only one on the boat wearing white pants, but you can own it.
I keep a box filled with cookie cutters, and use them every year at Christmas. Cookie cutters are great for cookies, but when it comes to my life- I don’t want to be a copy of anyone else.
How about you? Are you comfortable going along with the crowd? Do you try to fit in or do you accept only those trends that you really love? Would you love to live in a big, gorgeous home, even if it were like everyone else’s?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!