Last weekend, my son took me out. Or rather, we took each other out. First, to an art opening. Then, to an unplanned dinner. It was all quite last minute, and everywhere we went, we were struck by the steady stream of serendipitous encounters.
I had forgotten how important it is to be spontaneous. I had forgotten how delicious it is to get out — anywhere. I had forgotten how many options there are for totally FREE entertainment. I had forgotten how easy it is to get off the island, and how much my island is one of isolation, albeit unintentional.
Busy? Bored? Both at the Same Time?
Are you bored?
No. Not in your relationship. Not in your job.
In your life.
Bored with the routine. Bored with yourself. Bored with the people you know and see all the time (which doesn’t mean you don’t adore them). Bored with the fact that some you’d love to see in The Real World are just too far away to make that possible.
Even if you’re incredibly busy, you may be bored with the busyness that keeps you from thinking too much.
I can’t say that I’m never bored, but I will say that it’s rare. I always have something I want to read, learn, or write. And my laptop (and other devices) are my friends in that regard. But sometimes I’m bored with myself. I’m restless for some external source to rattle my rituals, spike my curiosity, and spark my imagination.
Nearly every time I’ve forced myself out of the house (or out of my comfort zone for that matter), frequently with notebook in hand to do a little writing or paperback under the arm so I can read, I’ve been happy to have done it. And I don’t have to go far.
The closest Starbucks. The local B & N. Even a metal chair in the sun at a café, in a nearby shopping mall.
There is always someone to watch, there is always someone to talk to, there is always something to write about. I’ve met fantastic people this way!
The Pleasures of Our Adult Children
Do I refer to a 22-year-old as an adult? Lately I do, depending on the context, and quite often in fact. And as I find I’m still providing a few “parenting services” to my son who is home this summer from college, I’m also enjoying his company for things like the occasional evening out.
At the gallery opening we attended together?
Color me marveling at art on the walls, a crowd full of characters, and the delight of meeting a painter whose work I’ve long admired. (Serendipity, remember?)
Color me content to see my kiddo wander off on his own, and chat with people he found interesting, making himself a few contacts in the process. (Pretty incredible people at that… serendipity for him!)
And later, over a couple of burgers at a sidewalk café, we sat back, looked up at the stars, enjoyed the view of passersby, and relaxed. (There was more serendipity at the eatery as well, but we’ll leave that story for another day.)
The World Is Only a Smile Away
I love a good smile. I love giving one, I love receiving one, I love the way the world begins to unfold as we welcome others to make eye contact, offer a nod, begin a conversation, or respond to ours. And I know this: My habit of staying home for hours and days (and weeks) on end, while typically in the pursuit of work, must yield to a greater degree of human interaction.
I’m working on it.
Naturally, that desire is in direct conflict with my overflowing set of tasks — a girl has to keep a roof over her head and a lip gloss in her pocket, after all — priorities will require reshuffling, and something will have to give. I don’t know what. I’m working on it.
(You got it. I’m working on that, too.)
A Little Fun Goes a Long Way
Girls Night Out? I would adore that kind of evening, but the reality is — my women friends are spread across the globe. Local playmates of the female sort are practically nonexistent, and that’s all the more reason to get out, meet new people, or enjoy the experience with an adult child. It’s incredibly easy. It needn’t cost a dime. And the worst thing that happens is that we soak up a new view and stretch our legs a little.
As for the potential benefits of getting off the island?
Enjoyed solo or in excellent company, life presents amazing moments and opportunities. They’re entertaining, they’re energizing, they’re connective, they’re perspective-enhancing, they’re creativity-inspiring, they’re laugh-inducing, they’re fun!
Even in the midst of difficult or stressful spells.
And what could be better than the mind engaged, new sights and sounds, strangers who become friends, and feeling fully alive?
When’s the last time you got off the island? When’s the last time you were spontaneous — just for yourself? When’s the last time you had fun — pure, uncomplicated, cheap and easy fun?
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