We are spending the winter in a wonderful community in Sarasota, Florida, with 120 homes and an active homeowners’ association. Last Thursday, there was a bluegrass band on the beach complete with a BBQ food truck. Just show up with your beach chairs and beverage, and make it an evening.
The music was starting at 6pm and I wanted to get there right on time and secure our spot (and our pork sliders!). As the time approached, I was surprised (and a little annoyed) to learn that my husband Peter would be on a work Zoom with South Korean clients starting at 6 and lasting for 1/2 hour to an hour.
I wanted to go to the beach event but I didn’t want to show up alone. Who would I sit with? Would any of the neighbors I know be there? (Yep, I’m the introvert in the couple, whereas these kinds of questions would never even occur to my very social husband.)
We were just talking about this a couple of weeks ago in a lively Zoom session inside my THRIVE membership, where we discussed socializing later in life. Especially when we’ve lost the easy conduits to friendships we used to rely on: A spouse, our kids, the neighbors, an in-person job. Many of us are divorcing, empty nesting, moving, and/or working from home. Where does that leave our friendships?
We shared personal strategies that have worked for each of us, from taking classes to volunteering, attending women’s retreats to joining local organizations or clubs (Meetups anyone?). The common thread, we concluded, was that we were putting ourselves out there, pursuing our interests and in so doing meeting like-minded women. Bonding around a shared passion is a great way to launch a new friendship.
And in this past week’s discussion inside THRIVE (part of our Boost Your Happiness challenge), we talked about courage. We confided that there were things we so wanted to do but were scared about taking the first step. What if we were judged or ridiculed or fell flat on our faces? I shared that, as Mark Twain famously said, courage is not the absence of fear but acting despite the fear. That’s a big distinction. It’s ok, heck it’s human, to be afraid. But being brave is accepting that we will have unpleasant feelings and pushing forward on our desires and dreams despite these difficult emotions. We all wrote down our new mantra: Feel the fear and do it anyway.
So what did I do about the beach event?
I put on my big-girl panties and went alone! (I do try my best to practice what I preach.) Peter was surprised when I waved at him and departed with beach chair and beverage in hand. I really think he was assuming I’d wait for him (good thing I didn’t as his call went long).
The first people I ran into on the beach were Lynn and Randon, who invited me to sit with them. We chatted and I socialized with neighbors I knew, and ones I met that eve. I even photobombed a group taking photos on the beach. It was a wonderful evening ending in a glorious sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Paradise!
YOUR TURN: What’s holding you back from taking the first step on your dream? How can you feel the fear and do it anyway? Or maybe you’ve done this already? Tell us your stories in the comments!