Shopping Around

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We joke, “How are you doing so much shopping with no money?!”
“I thrift.” “Ohhh, like consignment stores?” “No, Laura. I thrift everywhere.”
That’s something I really like about connecting with Lena, she gets things sorted, and adjusts until everything is comfortable. She’s not afraid to say “no,” even when I am.
For a little over a month, we had been talking about volunteering at a thrift store together and so each Thursday, we go out, and make sure to go to at least one thrift shop nearby, as we explore the rest of the community.
Often leaving with a few trinkets in hand, I’ll ask “So what did you think about that one.”
Lena will pause, “I’m not sure…I didn’t like the atmosphere.”
The atmosphere, for a while, I thought would end it all. Nothing felt perfect, and second chances for the second hand were not an option. Lena once mentioned “If they aren’t great the only time I’ve been there, that means that most of the time they aren’t great.”
This memory has always made me smile, but it also speaks so truly to Lena’s gifts: she’s incredibly self-aware, even shopping shows that. Someone will hold up a sweater, ask if it’s right for her, and the honest answer will come out: yes, or no. Lena knows what she wants, and that’s exciting.
We continued to struggle to find a match until we started looking at what makes a good place to volunteer. For Lena, it’s about building friendships… and trying on clothes doesn’t hurt either! And I agree!
Fun, with people who care and are supportive is the best situation in anything. So throughout this process, finding the right store has become more guided towards meeting people, having fun and making friends. We’re discovering that the place has a lot less to do with an experience than the people inside.
So, we keep looking, finding other amazing things in between. And now, as we leave with trinkets, we’ll figure out the parts of the stores we like, and sometimes volunteer for a day, trying to find the right fit.
To find the right connection, you’ve got to shop around—and Lena is a good shopper.