you don’t have to stay, but you do have to go

i occasionally scan Meetup groups i’ve joined but never participated in, RSVP to an upcoming event, and purchase an admission ticket in a moment of ebullient, wild-eyed, social gusto. 

by the time said event comes around, my giddiness is often long gone, replaced with an Eventbrite ticket saved to the undeletable Passbook and gnawing anxiety.  i usually sit, perched on the edge of my bed, telling myself, ‘julia, you don’t have to stay there, but you do have to show up.  just go.’ 

because frankly, a nice night to me is yoga, shower, dinner, then reading until my respectable bedtime of 22.30 rolls around.  this pattern is so ingrained it’s sometimes hard to believe deviating from the routine might turn out ok, let alone be enjoyable.

my preference to avoid social risks is basically rooted in fear of judgment, of uncertainty, the list goes on.  i’m pretty sure i’m not the only one who feels this.  but the point is, ignoring fear and doing it anyway builds tremendous power.  as a bonus, we retain that feeling regardless of what transpires at the event.  it doesn’t even matter who is there, who isn’t there, what opportunities arise or don’t arise from attendance. 

i experienced this recently for a snotty-pants event for grads of the ivies and ivy-like colleges.  it was held near my apartment at a cute hotel with a courtyard and swimming pool that always make me feel like i’m on vacation.

chatting in an outdoor courtyard complete with swimming pool a week before Halloween is the kind of loopy climate-bending an east coaster like me cannot resist.  plus, it was a stone’s throw from home.  and my love of calamity humor runs deep, so if someone fell in the pool i’d want a front-row seat. 

i went and, low and behold, it was fine.  fun, even.  no one fell in the pool, but there’s always next time.  i’ll be there.