It could be different. Anything. Everything.
And also, wouldn’t it be more interesting to find out rather than just to wonder?
This is what happens when you spend an incredibly full day going back and forth across town, going to meetups on radically different topics and having conversations with all sorts of people you’ve never met before. You don’t have the time or attention span to focus on any one of the quotidian annoyances that normally eat your mental bandwidth. Instead you’re just learning and listening.
Then it strikes you, hey. Things could be different.
Talked to a guy today who found out in mid-meetup that he had been laid off from his day job. (Probably specifically because he dared to use his vacation time? That’s my guess). Not only did he seem quite relieved and perked up by this sudden news... within minutes he had a startup idea going with a couple of guys he just met. “WDS magic,” someone called out. Boom, different slipstream.
Here was my day.
Opening party. Not my jam. It’s a field day/gym class theme. Are you kidding us with this? I felt that I Don’t Want To Go and that That’s Fine and that I Would Be Cold Anyway and that We Really Need the Sleep. I even told people that we wouldn’t meet later because [I am a boring naysayer]. Then I found out that my roommate/lawfully wedded husband totally planned to go. We had dinner and headed up there. I was physically shaking with cold.
Then... It was warmer over on that end of town for some reason. THEN... we walked into the stadium and... there were a ton of cool toys scattered around. I realized that my absolute social dread/threshold anxiety/lack of interest/major emotional baggage from 80’s gym class had vaporized in the presence of all these hula hoops.
You know what’s fun? When you can teach something exciting to someone else who is really curious about it, and then watch their face transform with wonder and delight as they realize they are actually doing it! First, another lady taught me a new hula hoop trick. I made half a dozen super dorky looking failed attempts. Then... I DID IT! I was running around spinning a hula hoop around my foot and laughing like a loon when I looked up, and there was my husband, staring at me. I know he’ll never replace me with a younger woman because I’m quite childish enough to remind him what that’s like... After that, I spied another woman my age, her eyes as round as saucers. She said she had never been able to hula hoop before in her life, and “Now I can’t stop!” I knew precisely how she felt. I couldn’t spin a hula hoop until I was 35, and when I finally learned how, at a friend’s baby shower, I came straight home and demanded that we go directly to the toy store. That was really my entry into fitness, and what led me to the marathon. Anyway, I seized the opportunity and taught her how to spin two at once. On her first try, she did it about five times longer than I did. Contagious joy.
I finally found a fun way to move my body that interested and challenged me, something that felt silly and lively. Something I wish we had had in P.E. There are so many of us who need this!
Then I found another woman who taught me the steps to get into a headstand. (One of my bucket list “extremely specific physical goals”). I can balance my knees on my elbows and sort of get my legs in the air. It feels like, if I keep trying this every day, soon I’ll get it!
Then I got strapped inside this giant inflatable hamster ball and rolled around for a while. Yup, there’s video.
Then, suddenly, as I was standing there in this giant ball, a guy popped up with some notes about my meetup. I kept waiting for the critique, but he really just wanted to emphasize what he felt were the most important takeaways. So: whoa. How kind and generous of him to take the time to do this during a party!
The obvious lesson for me is that my default feeling is to never want to do anything. Yet, if I kick myself into gear and physically commit my body, I start really having fun. I make new friends, learn new things, and get some great photos. Then I have to ask myself, if I hadn’t shown up, what about the lady who never would have learned to spin two hula hoops at once? How could I let her down? Show up to things, is what I’m saying. Just show up and allow yourself the opportunity to escape early if you want. Find out what might happen, because you can never know if you don’t go.
Everything could be different by this time next year. A book deal? An improv group? Hugging dozens of people I haven’t met yet? Doing a handstand and walking on my hands across a field? All of the above and more?
What could be different for you?
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.