Sometimes the immense human capacity to give and come together overwhelms me.
People, as complex and confusing as we are, with our limitless potential to try, fail, grow, and learn, are really quite wonderful creatures.
This last weekend I got a lovely reminder of this at our neighborhood block party. And as a super bonus, I also had the chance to cash in some of my karmic dividends in this whole learning to let things go deal. Big time. It was a double punch, win-win, two birds with one stone (maybe like an entire flock of birds actually), super player kind of shindig that made me smile all day today, really.
As some background, I moved into a new neighborhood that I absolutely adore in June. It’s one of those places that as a kid I always wanted to live in but never followed through with- until last summer- when I realized the only thing stopping me from living that dream was, um, me. So here I am, in this sweet oxymoron of a community. It’s hip but not hipSTER, charming but not Disney, urban but still family friendly (as in, quiet side streets and no homeless people sleeping in my front yard, that I know about anyway. . .). It’s amazing. I am so very aware and grateful for the opportunity to have this lifestyle, and to finally be in a place where I can enjoy and appreciate it.
Rolling your eyes yet? Think I’m just revealing the life I’ve curated for public consumption? No way. This good fortune happened for a couple of reasons. One is because I put some solid effort in to move things forward. Mostly though, honestly, it’s because, drum roll. . . . I LET GO. I allowed my comfort zone to expand, I allowed the universe to provide for me and when I saw an opening in the time-space continuum of my life to take a big turn for the better, I took it.
So fast forward a few months to October. After we moved I had noticed that many other streets around me had block parties and they looked pretty, well, awesome. If there’s one thing I want more of in my life, it’s definitely “awesome,” and since I love a good social gathering almost as much as I love my morning coffee, I started looking into how this might come to happen on our block.
Expecting a public confession of an over planning session to hence come forth? Negative. Sorry to disappoint. Different girl, different story.
In my previous life, the one where I was all concerned with everything being right and perfect and approved by the majority vote at all times, I could party plan like nobody’s business. For example, my daughter’s fourth birthday had handmade embossed invitations, a three tier, four foot castle monstrosity of a cake, five themed activity centers and a three course meal for the kids AND the parents. All homemade, from scratch, in a highly caffeinated, ulcer inducing state of sheer panicked energy. This was standard, normal, everyday kind of crazy for me. People, including yours truly, expected this from me.
To be clear, I like entertaining, I adore feeding people and I like to get my craft on, but that was out of control, defcom1 shit. And, in the end, I never had any fun at those parties anyway. I was so busy being Martha Freakin’ Stewart/Hostess with the Mostess the entire time I would hardly even get to eat a bite of the damn food until I was carefully packing up the leftovers in my perfectly matched glass food storage containers.
This is not, in any way, how I choose to live any more. I still love to entertain and I still make too much food every time (I think I have a problem with small quantities. . possibly. . .maybe). However, I often use paper plates (GASP!), make simpler dishes and the mass rations get tossed in the tupper-where’s-the-f*#king-lid collection at the end of the meal. Over time, I’m finding that the more flexible I am and the fewer the structures and expectations I place on the event, on myself, and on others, the better the end result.
In any case, for this deal, I did the no-plan, plan. The “let’s just see what happens” plan. I put it out there into the world and then waited to see what the universe would throw my way.
And throw it did. Wow. I might want to invest in some new buckets to catch all this goodness ‘cuz it’s falling like confetti up in here.
Here’s the hit list of the highlights, the best parts, the rundown for how the universe, and my neighbors, knocked it out of the damn park. Oh, and so, yeah, I put them in an actual list, an annotated list, of course. Lists are awesome and efficient and, um, I like things all orderly and crap #can’thidethatcrazy.