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Monday, December 11, 2023

Kate Spade for Christmas

Before I started actually writing this, I had to check and see what I had previously written about (the late) Kate Spade.  This post...

...came up.  So, what made me think of it again?  It's a bit of a winding journey.

Today was the annual "drive a bit to go shopping" trip with Ms. Rivers.  We do this every year before Christmas, with the trips ranging from the Philadelphia area to the Poconos.  A few times we've gone to the Lehigh Valley Mall, which was where we ended up today.  There is no grand plan to this, and truth be told, most of our shopping (for Christmas gifts) is already done.  It's more the idea that we are heading out to go Christmas shopping, which is the real gift I suppose.  I say "gift" as it's just been too damn busy this past year.  Even the weekends are full of stuff, and on more than one occasion, I think I'm more tired on Sunday evening than Friday.  First World Problems, I know.

Anyway, while at the Lehigh Valley Mall, we stopped in the small temporary Barnes & Noble bookstore (the "real" one is being remodeled) and while wandering around, I came upon a section of stationary related gifts with the Kate Spade New York brand.  I'm sure it's high-quality stuff, but nothing I would buy, mind you.  In an odd sort of way though it made me stop and think.  A moment, if you will, of clarity.  See the above link for context.

Life can be hard for some.  I've struggled a bit this past year between my desire to make a difference at work and still maintain a healthy balance with the other parts of my life.  That's been a losing battle; as evidence I offer the fact that I haven't really been writing much.  And, by the way, I haven't been reading much either.  Basically, I've just been working (as in the paid variety + working on my stepson's recently purchased home).  Yet, as much as I can bemoan my minor struggles, Kate Spade reminded me of the importance of perspective.  

At the risk of repetition, the Kate Spade story tells us, in part (at least according to me...) that you can be very attractive, physically healthy, smart, hardworking, wildly successful, popular and have all the things...and yet be deeply troubled.  For me, this is genuinely difficult to process.  I can though, as I get older, process a part of this, in the sense that the seeming tangibles of our lives sometimes matter far less than the intangibles.  In the middle of a consumption-fueled holiday season, it seems like an important lesson.

While I do my best to give myself credit for climbing (figurative mountain) summits, sometimes the even steeper summit someone else manages to climb is out of a hole.

I think the latter is worth more admiration.


The shopping experience today was underwhelming.  Like most indoor shopping malls, Lehigh Valley seems like it's struggling a bit.  That plays out in empty store fronts (no Williams Sonoma for us today) and in bathrooms that look like they time traveled from a 1970's vintage of a Port Authority parking garage.  Realizing that much of our shopping has been done on-line, Ms. Rivers and I have sadly contributed in a small way to this decline.  We'll do better next year.

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