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Oh, Target. Every time I go to Target I famously think: “I’m just going in for one or two things.” Suuuuure, Katie. Whatever you say. I know I’m not alone in this bad habit, so maybe you can sympathize with me. This most recent trip to Target was solely meant for one bottle of shampoo, but it’s mid-August – So you know that that means… The everlasting aisles of back-to-school goodies completely captivated me. Am I currently in school? No. Do I have a kid in school? No. But it didn’t matter. I was officially a prisoner to Target’s massive assortment of pencils, crayons, backpacks, composition notebooks, and folders… And I was okay with it.
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, back-to-school shopping was seemingly as exciting as the last day of classes before spring break. There was just something about the fresh notebooks that promised fresh beginnings, or the locker decorations I couldn’t wait to show off to my friends. Maybe I was just a nerd and am just now coming to that realization. Regardless: I’ve been out of school now for over four years, so something about looking at school supplies is incredibly nostalgic. Wandering the Target aisles had me thinking: Just because we’re adults with year-round jobs, that shouldn’t negate us from shopping for our own versions of back-to-school necessities. After all, why should adults be deprived of that magical happiness that pens and sweaters bring when the weather cools off?
As a ‘90s kiddo, my regular back-to-school shopping routine included gel pens, Lisa Frank folders, a glittery three-ring binder, and fruit-scented markers that would inevitably dry out over the course of the year. But, alas, we are not in the ‘90’s anymore… Today my taste has matured far from those cute animal-shaped erasers that didn’t actually erase anything at all. So whether it be Hello Kitty pencils circa 1995 or a chic new minimalist wall calendar, mundane office life doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same small pleasures of school supply shopping. But what should you keep an eye out for? Here are some adult-friendly suggestions that will be beneficial to you AND your office environment:
YETI Rambler Tumbler: There’s nothing worse than preparing coffee at home and taking it to work ONLY to have it cold by the time you’re sitting at your desk. Coffee will stay warm in this puppy for hours on end with no trouble. Bonus feature? Use this on weekends off to keep beer and iced liquor cold when you’re out tailgating, hiking, or Sunday Funday-ing.
Organizer: Admit it. You’re bad at keeping an organized schedule. And that’s okay! After all, you’re an adult that deserves to thrive in his or her career, so just keep a planner that helps you do just that (or to jot down your tinder dates, too, whatever).
New Outfit: Is it really back-to-school shopping without a new outfit? But this time, I’m not talking about getting a Backstreet Boys tee-shirt or light-up sneakers with the Hulk on them… Treat yourself to a nice blazer or fancy new kicks to wear to the office. If you’re really feelin’ yourself, opt in to a new back-to-school bag for your career (ie: briefcase, tote, travel bag, etc). When you look good, you feel good.
Nice Alcohol: For once, step away from the budget-friendly Natty and indulge in some nice craft brews, a fancy bottle of red from Italy, or that sweet selection of bourbon you’ve had your eye on. You work hard all day every day. It’s okay to put something on your shelf to reward yourself at the end of the work week.
Assortment of All-Occasion Cards: Ever forget that it’s your boss’s birthday? Or maybe you need to congratulate an executive on the birth of their new kid? Pro tip: Keep a box of assorted greeting cards in your desk to make it easy for you to be the best brown-noser possible. You can thank me in advance for that raise you’ll inevitably be getting.
Headphones: Do you really want to keep listening to your office mate chew those Chipotle tortilla chips every afternoon? What about that annoying coworker who won’t stop telling you you “HAVE to watch the last episode of Dancing With The Stars”? If you have the luxury of listening to music or podcasts at work, maybe it’s time to invest in a new pair of sound-proof headphones to drown out the unnecessarily stressful noises of the workday.
“Lunch Money”: I don’t mean actual lunch money. Buy some gift cards to local places and keep them hidden in your desk. This way, you automatically have a place to escape to lunch during a rough day. If you prefer to pack your lunch, you can use these for those moments you need an afternoon beer because your coworker won’t shut up about the promotion they got over you. Another great thing about this? You won’t feel guilty using gift cards you’ve already paid for to treat yourself mid-day.
Portable Phone Charger: We know you text, play games, and surf social media all day to avoid actual work, so please don’t pretend you holier than thou. With all of that phone usage, do yourself a favor and get yourself a portable battery pack to bring to the office. This will ensure you have an endless charge to procrastinate AND still have battery life to coordinate a post-work happy hour.
Piggy Bank: Maybe you shouldn’t get an ACTUAL piggy bank (this can be up to your own discretion), but it’s a good idea to start baby-steps with saving now for a spring or summer vacation. You know when the new year rolls around and you start collecting vacation time, you’ll want to start planning for that trip to the beach, mountains, or vineyard – so why not do yourself a favor and save up now?
Suffice it to say, I left Target far beyond only purchasing shampoo… There’s just something about the presence of school supplies that sends me in to a whirlwind of nostalgia that I can’t resist. But being an adult does have its cool perks: After all, I can buy all the supplies I want with no teachers to say what I can and can’t have, or my parents to argue with me over the practicality of what I want (yes, I DO need that gold tape dispenser, MOM). And yet another bonus? As an adult we get to write in whatever color ink we want. That’s right. No more of that “black or blue only” nonsense. Time to whip out the neon pink, olive green, glittery teal, and metallic silver pens. So who’s ready to go back to school (well, eh, work)? I sure am..